2019 announcements coming soon!

Atlas of the Body Wins 2018 Chautauqua Janus Prize

CHQ JanusPrize winnerChautauqua Institution is delighted to announce Atlas of the Body (Black Lawrence Press) by Nicole Cuffy as the 2018 winner of The Chautauqua Janus Prize. 

As the author selected from 16 finalists by Kazim Ali, Cuffy receives $2,500 and all travel and expenses for a summer residency at Chautauqua from July 22 to 28, 2018. A public lecture and reading will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 25, in the Athenaeum Hotel Parlor on the Institution's grounds, with music and light refreshments. Her writing will also appear in a future issue of Chautauqua literary journal.

“In Atlas of the Body, I asked myself what would happen if I treated prose as more pointillistic than linear—if I used narrative to offer brief islands of illumination,” Cuffy said. “I am honored to be the first recipient of the Chautauqua Janus Prize, which celebrates the deconstruction of form and literary convention.”

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


Congratulations also go out to the 15 other finalists selected by our readers: Mary-Kim Arnold, Deborah Augustin, Ayeh Bandeh-Ahmadi, Sam Cohen, S. Brook Corfman, Claire Cronin, Nicole Cuffy, Kolby Harvey, Brianna Johnson, Jason Lipeles, Alicia Mountain, Ruby Hansen Murray, Brenda Peynado, Sejal Shah, Shawn Wen, and Courtney Zoffness

The Chautauqua Janus Prize was awarded for the first time in 2018, celebrating an emerging writer’s single work of short fiction or nonfiction for daring formal and aesthetic innovations that upset and reorder literary conventions, historical narratives, and readers’ imaginations. In addition to receiving a $2,500 award, the winner gives a lecture on the grounds during the summer season and appears in a forthcoming issue of the literary journal Chautauqua. The prize is funded by a generous donation from Barbara and Twig Branch.

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 2018 winner was selected by guest judge Kazim Ali, author of books in many genres, including most recently Inquisition, a book of poems, and Silver Road: Essays, Maps & Calligraphies, a hybrid memoir. An associate professor of creative writing and comparative literature at Oberlin College, Ali was also a writer-in-residence at Chautauqua Writers' Center


Submissions for the 2018 prize are closed. We will open submissions for the 2019 prize this October, alongside a guest judge accouncement. Details to come!
Eligible entries:

  • May be up to 15,000 words in length. The Chautauqua Janus Prize encourages writing that challenges conventional presentation and publication of fiction/nonfiction.
  • Must be either unpublished, forthcoming in the prize year, or published no earlier than April of the prior year.
  • Must be authored by emerging writers of fiction/nonfiction. Emerging writers are defined as writers who have yet to publish their first book (exceeding 40,000 words) in any prose genre. (Poets: This prize was created to support emerging writers. Keep this in mind before applying if you have published one or more poetry collections, even if our word count parameters technically qualify you.) There is no age or citizenship status restriction for authors. 
  • May be nominated by authors themselves or on their behalf by presses/magazines or creative writing programs. Self-nominating authors may submit no more than two entries per submission period. Programs and presses/magazines must have the consent of authors to nominate their work and may nominate no more than three entries per submission period. Nomination by a program or press/magazine does not preclude an author from submitting additional self-nominated entries.


  • Complete the Submittable form, including fee payment*. Please use PDF format. Contact Director of Literary Arts Atom Atkinson (they/them) at aatkinson@chq.org if PDF format is not ideal for your submission.
  • Meet formatting specifications where possible. If your submission’s prior publication or experimental form simply aren’t conducive to Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, and double-spacing, know that we will still consider all legible PDF submissions.

*The fee is waived for submissions nominated by programs or magazines. We invite authors to encourage their programs and/or magazines to reach out to Mx. Atom Atkinson at aatkinson@chq.org to learn more.