The Kurt Brown Prizes award $500 to emerging writers in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction to attend a writers’ conference, center, retreat, festival, or residency. The prizes are applied to fees for winners to attend one of the member programs in AWP’s Directory of Conferences & Centers. The contest is now open for submissions. Click here to learn more

Read these noteworthy words from our 2020 judges about writers’ conferences that have meant so much to them.

Angie Kim, Fiction

I’ll always be grateful to The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD, for giving me my start in creative writing. I had no experience in writing (other than legal and business writing) until about nine years ago when I was in my 40s. Through workshops led by amazing teachers like Bill O’Sullivan and Barbara Eastman, I not only learned the basics of storytelling, but also met my writing group, the most fun, smart, and supportive group of writers I know.


Shikha Malaviya, Poetry

I had just moved back from India to California in 2014 after six wonderful years and was missing the literary community I had left behind. I had never attended an AWP conference before, and I was excited to see what it had to offer. It just so happened that AWP 2015 was held in my hometown, Minneapolis, and it was like coming home again, but to a new and vibrant group of writers, students and publishers. In AWP, I found community and inspiration. I discovered new voices, reconnected with old ones, and found ways to participate as a publisher and poet. It was an empowering experience, one which gets better with each conference I attend and each mentee I work within the Writer to Writer program.


Suzanne Farrell Smith, Creative Nonfiction

I left elementary school teaching to attend a grad school program on the history of ideas and core modern issues. While writing was essential to my M.A., I thought I’d shift into something like education policy. But a professor urged me to consider writing itself as a calling. He suggested the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. In June 2007, an airport shuttle delivered me to Kenyon, where a banner read, “Welcome, Writers!” That greeting—and the weeklong CNF workshop that followed—caused a resounding ping of recognition. I already was a writer, and I wanted to become a stronger one.




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