2017 International Literary Awards

Presented by Salem College Center for Women Writers

The winner in each genre will receive $1,000. An honorable mention in each genre (judge’s discretion) will receive $150.

Rita Dove Poetry Award
for 1 poem (please send 3 poems/submission)
Mahogany L. Browne
Mahogany L. Browne; Photo by Aaron Coury

Mahogany L. Browne is a Cave Canem, Poets House & Serenbe Focus alum, is the author of several books including Redbone (nominated for NAACP Outstanding Literary Works), Dear Twitter: Love Letters Hashed Out On-line, recommended by Small Press Distribution & About.com Best Poetry Books of 2010. Mahogany bridges the gap between lyrical poets and literary emcee. Browne has toured Germany, Amsterdam, England, Canada and recently Australia as 1/3 of the cultural arts exchange project Global Poetics. Her journalism work has been published in magazines Uptown, KING, XXL, The Source, Canada's The Word and UK's MOBO. Her poetry has been published in literary journals Pluck, Manhattanville Review, Muzzle, Union Station Mag, Literary Bohemian, Bestiary, Joint & The Feminist Wire. She is the co-editor of forthcoming anthology The Break Beat Poets: Black Girl Magic and  and chapbook collection Kissing Caskets (Yes Yes Books). She is an Urban Word NYC Artistic Director (as seen on HBO’s Brave New Voices), founder of Women Writers of Color Reading Room, Director of BLM@Pratt Programming and facilitates performance poetry and writing workshops throughout the country. Browne is also the publisher of Penmanship Books, the Nuyorican Poets Café Poetry Program Director and Friday Night Slam curator and recent graduate from Pratt Institute MFA Writing & Activism program.

Reynolds Price Short Fiction Award
for a short story up to 5000 words
Meera Nair
Meera Nair

Meera Nair’s debut collection, Video (NY: Pantheon 2003) received the Sixth Annual Asian-American Literary Award for Fiction and was named one of the Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post. She is also the author of the children's books Maya Saves the Day and Maya in a Mess (Duckbill: India). A recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship as well as fellowships from the New York Times, the MacDowell Artists’ Colony and Queens Council for the Arts, her work has appeared on NPR, in the Washington Post, The Guardian and the New York Times.

Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction Award
for a work of creative nonfiction, including lyric essay, memoir, & literary journalism, up to 5000 words
Wendy C. Ortiz
Wendy C. Ortiz; Photo by Monica Orozco

Wendy C. Ortiz is the author of Excavation: A Memoir (Future Tense Books, 2014), Hollywood Notebook (Writ Large Press, 2015) and the forthcoming Bruja (CCM, 2016). Her work has been profiled or featured in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, and the National Book Critics Circle Small Press Spotlight blog. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Hazlitt, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Nervous Breakdown, and a year-long series appeared at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Wendy lives in Los Angeles.


  • Competitions are open to anyone writing in English, except current Salem Academy & College employees and students.
  • All submissions must be previously unpublished.
  • Author’s name and address must appear on a cover page only. If your name appears on your submission, it will be immediately disqualified. This is incredibly important in our CNF category: please carefully proofread your piece to ensure that your name does not appear in your submission.
  • Submit: a cover page with your name, address, telephone, email, genre, word count (for prose), and the title(s) of the work(s), and $15 contest fee.
  • You may enter the contest as often as you’d like, in as many categories as you’d like. Each submission requires the $15 contest fee, and should be submitted as a separate entry. In other words, do not send two or more entries in one envelope or as one document.
  • Submissions close March 1, 2017 via snail mail and March 15, 2017 via Submittable.
  • Winners announced: May 31, 2017.


For snail mail submissions, submit: a cover page, 3 (three) copies of your typed entry (poems, cnf, or fiction), check or money order made out to Salem College w/memo line: 2017 ILA. Send a SASE (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope), and a SASP (Self-Addressed Stamped Postcard), if you’d like notification of winners and confirmation of submission received.

Send to:
Center for Women Writers
c/o ILA 2017
601 S. Church St
Salem College
Winston Salem, NC 27101



For further information, email: cww@salem.edu


Check out 2016 International Literary Awards Announcement for all the details about this last year's International Literary Awards.