Winners of the 2022 AWP Award Series

The Donald Hall Prize for Poetry

Sahar Muradi

Winner: Sahar Muradi
Octobers, University of Pittsburgh Press

Naomi Shihab Nye, Judge: “Octobers is a richly gripping poem-journey through lives and languages, migrations/transitions, with profound openness to curious complexity. The Poet employs subtly understated images, reeling us in to woven mysteries of time and story. Births, childhoods, cities, histories, quiet discoveries, studding the wide panoply of chaos and possibility— I loved the quietude of these brilliant scenes, their haunted reverberations. It’s as if the poet is speaking up from a difficult often silent space for those who are forced to flee, recalibrate, make new homes, somewhere, anywhere, right here: “this one morning with its distinct wink”—brilliant. I felt I had never read anything quite like this voice before—it’s rare and so important.”

Sahar Muradi is author of the chapbook [ G A T E S ] (Black Lawrence Press), the hybrid memoir Ask Hafiz (winner of the 2021 Patrons’ Prize for Emerging Artists from Thornwillow Press), and the chaplet A Garden Beyond My Hand (Belladonna*). She is co-author of A Ritual in X Movements (Montez Press), and co-editor of One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature (University of Arkansas Press). Sahar is a co-founder of the Afghan American Artists & Writers Association, and she directs the arts education programs at City Lore. She dearly believes in the bottom of the rice pot.

The Sue William Silverman Prize for Creative Nonfiction

Jessica Hendry Nelson

Winner: Jessica Hendry Nelson
Joy Rides Through the Tunnel of Grief: A Memoir, University of Georgia Press

Brian Turner, Judge: Jessica Hendry Nelson’s Joy Rides Through the Tunnel of Grief: A Memoir is a memoir of “contradictory truths”—where a father is dead and alive all at once, where the past is as present as the word now in a world “so full of love and longing and wonder and grief and fear.” It is an elegy. It is a love song. It is a cry to women to renew their bonds with one another. It is a sister’s lament and it is a dirge for a marriage gone under. It is also a book-length braided meditation on the act of creation itself—from the creation of life to the creation of story. By the book’s end, it is a recognition that time is a construct, that everything is always happening all at once, that we carry as much of our lives within us as we can handle, for as long as we can. And “[c]all it god, call it love, call it archetypes, call it play, call it poetry, call it wonder, call it grace. There are no exclusions. It is & and & and & and & and.” Call it Thunderstruck.

Jessica Hendry Nelson is the author of the memoir If Only You People Could Follow Directions (Counterpoint Press, 2014) which was selected as a best debut book by the Indies Introduce New Voices program, the Indies Next List by the American Booksellers' Association, a finalist for the Vermont Book Award, and named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Review. She is also co-author of the textbook and anthology Advanced Creative Nonfiction: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2021). Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Tin House, The Threepenny Review, North American Review, The Carolina Quarterly, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Columbia Journal, PANK, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University and teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. More at

AWP Prize for the Novel

Parul Kapur Hinzen

Winner: Parul Kapur Hinzen
Inside the Mirror, University of Nebraska Press

Brandon Hobson, Judge: Inside the Mirror is an extraordinary and moving story about two twin sisters, Jaya and Kamesh, as they struggle to pursue their passion and independence as women artists from a conservative society. Crafted with elegance and precision, and heartrending in its exploration of family drama, this novel is a beautiful and ambitious work of fiction.”

Parul Kapur Hinzen was born in Assam, India, and grew up in Connecticut. Her fiction centers on the aftermath of colonialism and immigration, and appears or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, Pleiades, Midway Journal, Wascana Review, Frank, and the anthology {Ex}tinguished & {Ex}tinct. She has written for The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Wall Street Journal Europe, Esquire, Newsday, Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, and Slate. She holds an MFA from Columbia University, and she lives in Atlanta with her husband and son.

The Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction

Eric P. Tuazon

Winner: E.P. Tuazon
Professional Lola, Red Hen Press

ZZ Packer, Judge: Professional Lola is a story collection that works by way of small, tiny miracles: a family hires a professional "lola"—to remember the grandmother they've lost; a couple bonds over their homesickness for just the right Filipino food—and will resort to the most drastic means to get it. In one story a divorce lawyer wears an "elaborately embroidered white barong" to greet his firm's clients instead of a suit and tie, this white barong that hugs our hero's boss "like a coat of mist" comes to stand in for the confidence, charisma, and imperviousness to grief our narrator lacks—and must claw back through his own past to find.

Every story is madly scented with food we can't help but salivate over: "skewered lapu-lapu and blue crab" over "an open fire while rice steamed in banana leaves...the smell of mint, cilantro, kalamansi, ginger;" we crave the saba banana slices of turon that crackle and wheeze until "transformed golden brown;" the buko, ube, and red bean pandesal worth dreaming of stealing; or the bilo-bilo description that causes one twin to realize his brother has fallen in love.

These tales of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans—gay, bi, straight, trans, lovelorn, longing, curious, grief-stricken, and hopeful—are a breath of fresh air. Each story is like a snapshot, a curio, a window-pane glimpse into lives caught mid-moment and on the verge. Populated by ex-beauty queens and performances artists, dancers and nurses, lawyers, stick-up artists, and Bigfoot obsessives, each story is an engine unto itself. E.P. Tuazon is a bright star who is only getting started.

E.P. Tuazon is a Filipino American writer from Los Angeles. They have work in several publications, and just released their newest novella called The Cussing Cat Clock (Hash Journal 2022). They were a finalist for the 2021 Prairie Schooner Raz-Shumaker Book Prize in Fiction and the 2021 Five South Short Fiction Prize, and a winner of the 2022 Berkeley Fiction Review Sudden Fiction Contest. They are currently a member of Advintage Press and The Blank Page Writing Club at the Open Book, Canyon Country. In their spare time, they like to wander the seafood section of Filipino markets to gossip with the crabs.


List of Winners

See a list of previous AWP Award Series winners.