CHQJanusPrize Sticker BW webThe Chautauqua Janus Prize will be awarded for the fourth time this summer, celebrating an emerging writer’s single work of short fiction or nonfiction for daring formal and aesthetic innovations that upset and reorder readers’ imaginations. In addition to receiving a $5,000 award, the winner gives a lecture on the grounds during the summer season and appears in a forthcoming issue of the literary journal Chautauqua. Eligibility and submission information can be found below under "Guidelines."

Named for Janus, the Roman god who looks to both the past and the future, the prize will honor writing with a command of craft that renovates our understandings of both. The prize is funded by a generous donation from Barbara and Twig Branch.

rion scott author photo final hi res 232Rion Amilcar Scott is the author of the story collection, The World Doesn't Require You (Norton/Liveright, 2019). His debut story collection, Insurrections (University Press of Kentucky, 2016), was awarded the 2017 PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the 2017 Hillsdale Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. His work has been in publications such as The New Yorker, The Kenyon Review, Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2020 and Crab Orchard Review among others.



Joseph Earl Thomas wins third annual Chautauqua Janus Prize


Chautauqua Institution is delighted to announce “Reality Marble” by Joseph Earl Thomas as the 2020 winner of the Chautauqua Janus Prize.

As the author selected from 16 finalists by judge Hilary Plum, Thomas receives $5,000 and will present a public lecture and reading at a celebratory event at a date to be determined as part of Chautauqua Institution’s online assembly season this summer. His writing will also appear in a future issue of the literary journal Chautauqua.

Hailing from Philadelphia, Thomas is a doctoral student in English at the University of Pennsylvania whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Offing, Gulf Coast and The Kenyon Review. Being an emerging writer, Thomas said, means “applying and submitting to hundreds of places where you feel the work might fit or be in conversation with other art you love and admire,” and he was surprised and honored for his work to be selected for the Janus Prize, “which thinks so deliberately about aesthetics and the social world simultaneously.”

Press Kit:
Full press release | The Chautauqua Janus Prize logo (pdf)

Congratulations also go out to the 15 other finalists selected by our readers: Natalia Andrievskikh, Katharine Coldiron, Jonathan Escoffery, Vishwas R. Gaitonde, Cameron Gorman, Lauren Green, Enyeribe Ibigwam, Brianna Johnson, Tyler Meese, Diane Mehta, Lily Meyer, Manini Nayar, Christopher Santantasio, Joseph Thomas, Mi West and Nick Zelle

The 2020 Chautauqua Janus Prize guest judge is Hilary Plum. Plum is the author of the novel Strawberry Fields, winner of the Fence Modern Prize in Prose (2018); the work of nonfiction Watchfires (2016), winner of the 2018 GLCA New Writers Award; and the novel They Dragged Them Through the Streets (2013). She is an associate college lecturer at Cleveland State University and in the NEOMFA program, and is associate director of the CSU Poetry Center. Plum will also be a Chautauqua Writers’ Center writer-in-residence during Week Six of the 2020 summer season, leading a prose workshop on “Bodies in language, bodies of language.”