Announcing the 2017 Emerging Writer Award Winners

Clockwise from top: Munib Khan, Elizabeth Engleman, Melinda Susan Goodman

We are pleased to announce the winners of the Cecelia Joyce Johnson Award, the Marianne Russo Award, and the Scotti Merrill Memorial Award.

The overall quality of the hundreds of submissions we received before this year’s deadline is testament to the fact that we live in a vibrant time, and in a world that is animated, informed, and documented by powerful literary impulses. Unique and divergent works are being produced by an astonishing number of writers. It is a good time to be a reader.

Without further ado:

The winners are…


MUNIB KHAN is a Pakistani fiction writer. His fiction has appeared in Prairie Schooner and has been shortlisted for the 2016 Commonwealth prize. He has worked for Banipal and Wasafiri magazines in the United Kingdom. He holds an MFA from Purdue University and is pursuing a doctorate degree at Florida State University.


ELIZABETH ENGELMAN holds an MFA in Fiction from the University of Tampa, where she was recognized with the outstanding graduate award. She holds a master of arts in Poetry from Lancaster University and was a recipient of the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to Ireland. She writes a blog for the Family Center on Deafness and lives in Dunedin, Florida, with her family.

—selected by Billy Collins—

MELINDA SUSAN GOODMAN is a poet and writer who’s been teaching at Hunter College in New York City since 1987. She was editor of Conditions, the first international lesbian literary journal and is a recipient of the Astraea Foundation’s award for emerging lesbian poets. She holds an MFA in Poetry Writing from Columbia University and a master of arts in Literature from New York University.

The Key West Literary Seminar Emerging Writer Awards recognize and support writers who possess exceptional talent and demonstrate potential for lasting literary careers. Each winner will join us in Key West for the 2017 Seminar and Writers’ Workshop Program, and receive a prize package including a $500 honorarium, the opportunity to appear on stage during the Seminar, and full support for travel and accommodation.

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