Illinois Center for the Book

IIllinois Emerging Writers Competition Illinois Center for the Book


Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award

Named for the late Pulitzer Prize winner and Illinois Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks, the Illinois Emerging Writers Competition provides a unique opportunity and outlet for recognizing new literary talent in the state. The competition is open to Illinois residents age 18 and over, and has an annual entry deadline of June 30.

2017 Emerging Writers Competition Winners
2017 Emerging Writers Competition Winners

Cash prizes are awarded for first ($500), second ($300) and third place ($100), and winning poems are submitted for possible publication in Illinois literary magazines, including:

2018 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition – Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award

Information about the 2018 competition will be available in March 2018. The entry deadline will be June 30, 2018.

2017 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition – Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award Winners

The winners of the 13th annual Illinois Emerging Writers Competition were announced by Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White on November 29, 2017. Read the complete press release.

1st – Anita Olivia Koester of Chicago for her poem Avowal
2nd – Faisal Moyhuddin of Chicago for his poem Ella Fitzgerald, Entering Chicago by Train, Remembers Her Mother’s Voice
3rd – Bryce Berkowitz of Carbondale for his poem Explain Yourself

2017 Judges

Final Judge: Illinois Poet Laureate, Kevin Stein

Past Illinois Emerging Writers Competition Winners

The State Library gratefully acknowledges Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein for his continued support in making this competition possible.