Especially in these times of xenophobia, Restless Books is proud to host our annual Prize for New Immigrant Writing, which champions extraordinary, boundary-crossing stories from debut first-generation writers who address identity in a global age. Our judges were blown away by the astounding diversity and talent exhibited in the submissions received for this year's prize in fiction. After much consideration, we are excited to announce the six finalists for our prize.Read More
Dear writers, readers, agents, editors, and literary citizens: The deadline for the 2018 Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing has been extended by one month, until March 31, 2018. Please spread the word to any first-generation, first-time writers in your circles! For this year's Prize, Restless is offering $10,000 and publication to a debut book-length work of fiction by a first-generation immigrant of any country. We're looking for groundbreaking, extraordinary fiction that grapples with the realities of immigration, migration, and the complexities of our ever-changing world. The first winner of the fiction prize was Deepak Unnikrishnan for his novel Temporary People, which won the Hindu Prize, was nominated for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and was named a best book of 2017 by San Francisco Chronicle and Kirkus. We can't wait to publish the next great immigrant fiction debut!
Meet the 2018 Immigrant Writing Prize Judges
Téa Obreht's debut novel, The Tiger’s Wife, won the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction, and was a 2011 National Book Award Finalist and a New York Timesbestseller. Her work has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Non-Required Reading, and has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Vogue, Esquire and Zoetrope: All-Story. She was a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree, and was named by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best American fiction writers under forty. She lives in New York and teaches at Hunter College.
Ilan Stavans is the Publisher of Restless Books and the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Humanities, Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. His books include On Borrowed Words, Spanglish, Dictionary Days, The Disappearance, and A Critic’s Journey. He has edited The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, the three-volume set Isaac Bashevis Singer: Collected Stories, The Poetry of Pablo Neruda, among dozens of other volumes. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, Chile’s Presidential Medal, the International Latino Book Award, and the Jewish Book Award. Stavans’s work, translated into twenty languages, has been adapted to the stage and screen. A cofounder of the Great Books Summer Program at Amherst, Stanford, Chicago, Oxford, and Dublin, he is the host of the NPR podcast "In Contrast."
We've opened submissions for the 2018 Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing at a critical time for immigrants: just as news breaks that DACA will end unless Congress acts to prolong it. The Prize is, primarily, a celebration of the many ways in which immigrants enrich our culture. Some of the most vivid literature of recent years can be attributed to immigrant authors, whose deft voices expertly bridge cultural gaps and tear down linguistic barriers. This year's Prize is also a testament to the countless Americans whose lives are deeply enmeshed in the fabric of our society and who are being subjected to the threat of deportation.
Now in its third year, the Prize for New Immigrant Writing is expanding to include first-generation immigrants from around the world. All who meet the eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply. Restless will publish an outstanding debut work of fiction and award its author $10,000, as we did with our inaugural winner, Deepak Unnikrishnan's Temporary People.
As Restless publisher Ilan Stavans writes in his introduction to the prize, “immigrants have shown us what resilience and dedication we’re capable of, and have expanded our sense of what it means to be global citizens. In these times of intense xenophobia, it is more important than ever that these boundary-crossing stories reach the broadest possible audience”. This year we could not be more proud to affirm our commitment to immigrant literature. We can’t wait to read and share what the new voices of the world have to say!
More about Past Winners of the Immigrant Writing Prize
The 2017 Immigrant Writing Prize for Nonfiction has been awarded to Grace Talusan for her memoir, The Body Papers, a brave, artful memoir about trauma, illness, and immigration as told through personal and official documentation. The judges praised her writing, stating that “ She tackles with literary subtlety and a deep reservoir of compassion the paradoxes imposed by being the 'perfect immigrant'—but also an 'illegal' one." The book is scheduled to be published in the Fall of 2018. Read More.
The 2016 Immigrant Writing Prize for Fiction went to Deepak Unnikrishnan for his novel Temporary People, a book of linked stories about the migrant workers of the United Arab Emirates that the judges call "a brave, stylistically inventive book that presents a frightening, surreal world that’s all too true to life." The book has garnered over 75 reviews, including from The New Yorker, The Economist, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, and many more.