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.

2018 Emerging Writers Competition Winners
2018 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:

2019 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition – Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award

The Competition is currently in the judging phase. The entry deadline was June 30, 2019. Winners will be announced by the end of the year.

2019 Judges

Final Judge: Kevin Stein, Illinois Poet Laureate, 2003–2017

2018 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition – Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award Winners

The winners of the 14th annual Illinois Emerging Writers Competition were announced by Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White on December 4, 2018. Read the complete press release.

1st – Donna O’Shaughnessy of Saunemin for her poem In the Kitchen They Danced
2nd – Emma Morris of Evanston for her poem MS 57947
3rd – Laura Bandy of Jacksonville for her poem Knockout

Past Illinois Emerging Writers Competition Winners

The State Library gratefully acknowledges Kevin Stein, Illinois Poet Laureate 2003–2017, for his support of this competition..