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2024 BLR Prize Winners

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2024 BLR Literary Prizes.
Our deepest thanks to our judges, Edgar Gomez, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, and Melissa Lozada-Oliva, and to the many writers whose work we had the privilege of reviewing.

We can’t wait to share these incredible writings with you in our Spring 2024 issue. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do so here, and you won’t miss an issue!

Goldenberg Prize for Fiction
Judged by Marie Myung-Ok Lee

Winner: “Stray Gods” by Shastri Akella
Honorable Mention:
“Childe” by William Klein

Shastri Akella‘s debut novel, The Sea Elephants (Flatiron Books USA, Penguin India) was named a most anticipated novel by Good Morning America, Book Riot, Debutiful, Virtuoso, Poets & Writers, Electric Lit, and LGBTQ reads. He’s a former fiction fellow of the Fine Arts Works Center and earned an MFA and PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His fiction is found in Guernica, The Masters Review, CRAFT, and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing at Michigan State University. www.shastriakella.com


William Klein‘s writing has been published in Carve Magazine and MQR Online. He was raised in Ketchikan, Alaska, and worked there as a commercial fisherman for 8 years. In 2016 he received his MFA in Fiction from the Helen Zell Writers Program at the University of Michigan.


Felice Buckvar Prize for Nonfiction
Judged by Edgar Gomez

Winner: “Anticipatory Grief” by Misty Kiwak Jacobs
Honorable Mention:
“Officium” by Siobhan McKenna

Misty Kiwak Jacobs is an Arizona native, a poet and a Pushcart Prize nominated essayist. Her work has appeared in the Sarah Lawrence Review, Red Rock Review, the Arizona Literary Magazine, Minerva Rising, the Yale Divinity School Letters Journal, Earth and Altar, and the Yale Environmentalist, among others. In 2022, she was awarded the Yale University Frederick Buechner Prize in Writing for theological or religious writing. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Misty earned an MDiv and STM from Yale Divinity School. She has studied writing with Norman Dubie, Joy Harjo and Christian Wiman. The mother of two grown children, Misty serves as an Episcopal Priest in Western Massachusetts. www.awordplease.org


Siobhan McKenna is a writer, registered nurse, and managing editor for the independent press, Yellow Arrow. She holds an MSN from Johns Hopkins and is an MFA candidate in nonfiction writing at Bennington College. Her writing can be found in Canthius, Intima, and Next Level Nursing among other publications. She lives in Manhattan. www.siobhanpatricia.com


John & Eileen Allman Prize for Poetry
Judged by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

Winner: “Dementia Unit for John Glenn” by Amy Rothschild
Honorable Mention:
“It Has Nothing to Do With Argentina” by Carolene Kurien

Amy Rothschild’s poems have appeared in HOOT and Maudlin House. Her essays have appeared in The Atlantic and Dissent. A former preschool teacher, she holds a B.A. in English from Yale University and an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. www.amywrothschild.com


Carolene Kurien is a Malayali-American poet from South Florida. She received her MFA from the University of Miami, where she was a James Michener fellow. Her poems can be found in Salt Hill, Verse Daily, Redivider, Hobart After Dark, SWWIM, Two Serious Ladies, and the South Florida Poetry Journal. www.carolenekurien.com

Subscribe now, so that you’ll be sure to receive our prizewinners issue in Spring 2024!