UMass Press and the MFA for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst award two prizes in poetry, two in fiction and one in creative non-fiction annually. All winners receive a publication contract with the University of Massachusetts Press and an honorarium of $1,000. See below for more.
The Juniper Literary Prizes showcase distinctive and fresh voices and share their work with a wide array of readers. Every year, faculty-judges from the distinguished University of Massachusetts MFA program select two winners in poetry, two in fiction, and one in creative nonfiction, and the awardees each receive an honorarium of $1,000 and a publication contract with the University of Massachusetts Press.
For poetry, the judges award one prize for a first book of poems, and they select a second winner for an author who has been published previously. For fiction, the judges choose a novel and a collection of short stories. One prize is awarded for a work of creative nonfiction, including (but not limited to) essays, biography, literary journalism, or memoir.
The Juniper Prize takes its name from Fort Juniper, the house that the poet Robert Francis (1901-1987) built by hand in the woods of western Massachusetts. To honor Francis’s poetry and creative life in the Valley, the Press and the MFA program launched the Juniper Prize for Poetry in 1975. They added the Juniper Prize for Fiction in 2004 and the Juniper Prize for Creative Nonfiction in 2018.
Previous winners include: the poets Lucille Clifton, Lynda Hull, Richard Jackson, and Arthur Vogelsang, and the fiction writers Rod Val Moore, Andrew Malan Milward, Dwight Yates, and Lynn Lurie.