The editors are pleased to announce that Nonfiction Judge Patrick Phillips has chosen Misha Rai’s essay “To Learn About Smoke One Must First Light a Fire” as this year’s Nonfiction Prize Winner in the Dogwood Literary Prize. Ms. Rai will received $1,000 and her essay will be published in Dogwood’s 2018 edition. Finalists for the prize were Calvin Hennick’s “Heroes,” and Mariflo Stephens’ “Birthmark,” both of which will also appear in Dogwood 2018, due out in late May.
Judge Patrick Phillips called Rai’s essay “a complex, evocative, and often funny personal essay that summons up the past in vivid detail and interrogates the family myths that can come to rule our lives. I love how deftly this piece moves between family drama and the larger political forces of Indian independence, colonialism, and feminism, and chronicles one woman’s struggle to both honor her family’s past and somehow break free from it.”
Misha Rai will be the 2018-2020 Kenyon Review Fellow in Prose, starting this July. Her novel-in-progress, Blood We Did Not Spill, has been awarded a 2018 MacDowell Colony Fellowship, The Dana Award in the novel category, and the Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies, making her the first-ever PhD in Fiction to be awarded the latter prize. She has also been a 2016-2017 Edward H. and Mary C. Kingsbury Fellow at Florida State University and the recipient of the 2015 George M. Harper Award. Her prose has appeared in a number of journals. She was born in Sonipat and brought up in India.
Judge Patrick Phillips’ first book of nonfiction, Blood at the Root was published in 2016, and named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times and the Boston Globe. He has written three poetry collections, including Elegy for a Broken Machine, a finalist for the National Book Award. He lives in Brooklyn and teaches at Drew University.
Preorder Dogwood 2018 at this link, and check back soon for winners’ announcements in Poetry and Fiction.