Jessica Abughattas Wins 2020 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize

Yesterday, the University of Arkansas announced Jessica Abughattas had won the 2020 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize for her collection, Strip:

Photo from news release.

Abughattas receives a $1,000 prize, and the University of Arkansas Press will publish her collection in the fall of 2020.

She was the fourth annual winner of the Etel Adnan Prize, which goes to a first or second book of poetry, in English, by a writer of Arab heritage.

Series editors Hayan Charara and Fady Joudah said of this year’s selection, “Strip is a captivating debut about desire and dispossession, and that tireless poetic metaphor, the body. Audacious and clear-eyed, plainspoken and brassy, these are songs that break free from confinement.”

The prize’s 2019 winner was Zaina Alsous’s A Theory of Birds, which is set for a September 2019 release. The 2018 winner was Peter Twal’s Our Earliest Tattoos, while Jess Rizkallah won the inaugural prize in 2017 for her the magic my body becomes.

In a conversation with Randa Jarrar and Charara about the prize in 2017, Joudah said, “It was years ago at one of the RAWI (Radius of Arab-American Writers) conferences in Michigan when the idea first crossed my mind. Hayan and I talked about it. It was obviously sitting there, fermenting in his mind as well. It felt natural to think of it in the middle of so many fantastic writers who belonged in one sense or another to Arabic and English.”

Selected poems by Abughattas online:

Semantics, Tinderbox, 2018.

All My Life Has Been A Costume Party, Muzzle Magazine, 2018.

My Grandmother the Leo Tells Me About Her Nine Lives, BOAAT, 2018.

Self-Portrait as Bilingual Internet Meme, Meow Meow Pow Pow Lit, 2018.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at an Arab Girl, Thrush Poetry Journal, 2017.

My Grandmother Tells Me About My Parents’ Wedding, Stirring Lit, 2017.

My Great Grandmother Almaza, Roanoke Review, 2017.