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Announcing the Winners of The 2021 Orison Prizes!

Orison Books is pleased to announce the winners of The 2021 Orison Prizes in Poetry & Fiction!

The winner of The 2021 Orison Poetry Prize, selected by Jericho Brown, is Stephanie Adams-Santos for her manuscript Dream of Xibalba.

"Dream of Xibalba is a long and hypnotic meditation on rediscovery. Each page spirals out from the page before in a manner of breathless recognition: 'You open yourself / your mouth your eyes your forehead / with a sharp stone carried from childhood.' This is not a poetry of fearlessness but of the journey one takes in spite of fear. 'This is what you must listen for.'" Jericho Brown, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Tradition

The winner of The 2021 Orison Fiction Prize, selected by Debra Spark, is Kevin Honold for his manuscript The Lady of Good Voyage.

"I love this novel about the friendship between two childhood friends, negotiating their twenties. Both are seekers and visionaries in their own way. Kenny, who undertakes a spiritual pilgrimage, has visions (in the conventional sense). But Joe, the protagonist and Kenny's road companion, may be the actual seer. True, he is the secular, practical character, but his brilliant and original perceptions of the novel's multiple blighted landscapes and defeated characters drive the narrative. With poetic intensity and no-nonsense humor, Kevin Honold renders the down-and-out, as they limp toward a complicated transcendence." Debra Spark, author of Coconuts for the Saint and Unknown Caller

Adams-Santos and Honold will each receive a $1,500 cash award as well as publication by Orison Books.


We'd also like to recognize the following outstanding finalist manuscripts. Orison Poetry Prize Finalists:

Giving the Hours, Mel Elberger

Sister Tongue, Farnaz Fatemi

Quadrille, Diane Glancy

All Hail our Lord and Savior, Grizzly Bear, Jason Gray

Swoon Hypothesis, Emily Stoddard

Feast of Light, Emily Tuszynska

Orison Fiction Prize Finalists:

Stealing Home, Sharon Hashimoto

Your Actual Life May Vary, Linda Lenhoff At the Center, Lara Tupper

The Missing Sister & Other Stories, Julie Marie Wade A Green Raft on a Muddy Swell, Jill Widner


Stephanie Adams-Santos is a Guatemalan-American writer whose work spans poetry, prose, screenwriting, and other swampy, hybrid forms—with a penchant for the queer and uncanny. She is the author of Swarm Queen's Crown (Lambda Literary Award finalist), Total Memory, and The Sundering (New York Chapbook Fellowship, Poetry Society of America). Adams-Santos’s poems and prose have appeared in a variety of publications, including Orion Magazine, The Boston Review, Guernica, and the anthology Speculative Fiction for Dreamers (Ohio State University Press). In the realm of television, Adams-Santos has written multiple episodes over several seasons of Two Sentence Horror Stories (CW/Netflix). Her work has been supported by fellowships and grants from Oregon Literary Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, Film Independent, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, and the Oregon Arts Commission. In addition to her literary work, Adams-Santos is a professional Tarot reader and occasional instructor of poetry and divination.

Kevin Honold is the author of a novel, Molly (winner of The 2020 Autumn House Book Prize), an essay collection, The Rock Cycle (winner of The 2019 River Teeth Book Prize), and a poetry collection, Men as Trees Walking (winner of The 2009 OSU Press/The Journal Book Award). Honold is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, and is currently a History and Special Education teacher in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Submissions for The 2022 Orison Prizes in Poetry & Fiction will be accepted from December 1, 2021 - April 1, 2022. The judges will be Rajiv Mohabir (poetry) and Tania James (fiction).


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