Congratulations to the 2023 First Pages Prize Winners!
The First Pages Prize mission is to discover, recognize and encourage emerging voices through the annual creative nonfiction and fiction FIRST PAGES PRIZE awards. The de Groot Foundation was a co-founder of First Pages and continues to support their work.
The 2023 Fiction Winners are Scott Hunter in first place, Tanya Rey in second place, and Pallavi Dixit in third place.
1ST PLACE FICTION: “MAYBE, PROBABLY” BY SCOTT HUNTER
Coming of age in the summer of 1985, Benjamin flees New York for Japan, trying to salvage his academic career and escape AIDS. He doesn’t imagine falling in love, finding friendship, and reckoning with his idea that love and death are intertwined.
Scott Hunter’s (he/him) short fiction has appeared in Hong Kong Review, Kyoto Journal, Blood Orange Review, and elsewhere, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Maybe, Probably is his first novel. A 2018 Lambda Literary Emerging Writers fellow, he studies and teaches at the Writers Studio in New York.
2ND PLACE FICTION: “CITIES OF REFUGE” BY TANYA REY
Cities of Refuge centers on a young Cuban-American man wanted for murder in 1995 Miami, and the mother and sister who must wade through the family’s troubled past to find him.
Tanya Rey (she/her) is a queer Cuban-American writer based in Oakland, CA. Her writing has appeared in Guernica, Granta, The Sun, The Georgia Review, Roads & Kingdoms, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Catapult, among others.
3RD PLACE FICTION: “EDISON” BY PALLAVI DIXIT
Edison is the story of Prem, a gas-station attendant who must earn $1 million before his true love’s father will allow them to marry. It’s a Bollywood-style love story brimming with song, dance, action, comedy, a love-triangle, an angry parent, an evil villain, and cameos by real stars – a typical masala film in the guise of literary fiction.
Pallavi Sharma Dixit’s (she/her) work has been supported by the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship Program, Intermedia Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Loft Literary Center, and the Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Program. She is a winner of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s Pages in Progress contest and holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, two children and dog, Tiffin.
The 2023 Creative Nonfiction Winners are Jubi Arriola-Headley in first place, Ahmed Kabil in second place, and Hanne Shapiro Steen in third place.
1ST PLACE CREATIVE NONFICTION: “PISSANT” BY JUBI ARRIOLA-HEADLEY
In 1980’s Boston, a Black teenager faces racism, the AIDS epidemic, his immigrant father’s hypermasculinity – and his own queer desires. Exploring barrooms, bathrooms, bookstores, and beyond, he discovers a world of kink and embarks on a turbulent sexual journey to find his authentic self.
Jubi Arriola-Headley (he/him) is the author of two poetry collections: ORIGINAL KINK and Bound (forthcoming in January 2024 from Persea Books). Black, queer, and a first-generation United Statesian, Jubi’s writing explores themes of masculinity, vulnerability, rage, tenderness & joy.
2ND PLACE CREATIVE NONFICTION: “AMREEKA” BY AHMED KABIL
Deep in the heart of post-9/11 Texas, sixteen-year-old Ahmed learns about the America imagined by the 1960s counterculture — and sets off to find it. Blending memoir and history, Amreeka is a tragicomic coming-of-age story of an Arab American’s long, strange trip to discover where he’s really from.
Ahmed Kabil (he/him) is an Egyptian American writer based in Barcelona. He is currently studying for an MSt in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge.
3RD PLACE CREATIVE NONFICTION: “QUILT” BY HANNE SHAPIRO STEEN
Quilt is a memoir that uses journal entries as scaffolding to tell the story of an uncommon life. The daughter of anti-establishment parents who moved their kids to Africa when she was a child, the narrator cuts up, rearranges, and sews back together memories and musings from old journals in an attempt to make sense of the chaos of growing up without a cultural or geographical through-line. From Rwanda to London to Nairobi to Los Angeles, through the nineties and aughts, from addiction to recovery, from loving to losing and loving again, blending fantasy with reality, the author patches the disparate pieces of her life into a narrative all her own.
Hanne Shapiro Steen (she/her) is an American psychotherapist and writer. She was a 2014 PEN Emerging Voices Fellow and a 2022 Pushcart Prize nominee, and her stories have been published in Fugue and PANK, among others. She lives in Los Angeles.
To learn more, please visit the First Pages Prize website.