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Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize

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Launched in 2015, the annual Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize is dedicated to the discovery of exceptional chapbook-length manuscripts by Black poets, and is presented in collaboration with the O, Miami Poetry Festival andThe Center for the Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center.

2018 Prize

Award: Winner receives $500, publication by Jai-Alai Books in 2019, 10 copies of the chapbook, a residency in April 2019 at The Writer’s Room at The Betsy Hotel in Miami and a feature reading at the O, Miami Poetry Festival.

Deadline: Manuscripts must be submitted no later than Sunday, September 30, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST. Winner announced by email on or before December 31, 2018.

Entry Fee: $12. Entry fees are non-refundable.

Final Judge:  Dawn Lundy Martin. Judge reserves the right not to select a winner or honorable mentions.

First Readers: Camonghne Felix and Alan King. Cave Canem uses a blind judging system to arrive at the contest winner and honorable mention(s).

Eligibility:  This is not a first-book award. All unpublished, original collections of poems written in English by Black writers are eligible. Simultaneous submission to other chapbook awards should be noted: immediate notice upon winning such an award is required. Winner agrees to be present in the continental United States at her or his own expense shortly after the book is published in order to participate in O, Miami 2018.

Exclusions: Current or former students, colleagues, employees, family members and close friends of the judge; current or former employees and members of the board of Cave Canem Foundation, Jai-Alai Books or O, Miami; and authors who have published a book or have a book under contract with Jai-Alai Books are ineligible.

If any of the selected authors fall under the above exclusions, they will be disqualified and a replacement chosen from among the finalists. As the poetry community is small and the contest is judged blind, acquaintance with the judge and participation in a workshop taught by the judge are not disqualifying criteria.


  • Submit manuscripts online via Submittable. Hard copy submissions will not be considered.
  • One manuscript per poet allowed.
  • Upload manuscript as a .doc or .pdf document. Include a title page with the title only and a table of contents. Author’s name should not appear on any pages within the uploaded document.
  • Cover letter should include author’s brief bio (200 words, maximum) and list of acknowledgments of previously published poems.
  • Manuscript must be paginated, with a font size of 11 or 12, and 25-30 pages in length, inclusive of title page and table of contents. A poem may be multiple pages, but no more than one poem per page is permitted.
  • Manuscripts not adhering to submission guidelines will not be considered.
  • Post-submission revisions or corrections are not permitted.

About O, Miami

O, Miami builds literary culture in Miami, FL. In collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, O, Miami produces a visiting writer series, a publishing imprint, a poets-in-the-community workshop program, and the O, Miami Poetry Festival, which has the annual goal of every single person in Miami-Dade County encountering a poem during the month of April. For more, visit

About Jai-Alai Books

Jai-Alai Books, which operates under the non-profit organization O, Miami, is a small press dedicated to the advancement of Miami’s literary identity. Launched in 2014 and winner of the 2014 Knight Arts Challenge from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the press publishes titles in a variety of genres. For more information visit

About the Betsy Hotel

Situated at the edge of the Atlantic, The Betsy – South Beach offers wide-ranging programs that embrace the richness of global arts and culture, and it is host hotel for a myriad of regional arts-centric festivals and programs. Since its opening in 2012, The Betsy Writer’s Room has hosted over 300 authors, artists, and thought leaders, including notable poets W.S. Merwin, Nikky Finney, and Robert Haas. Each room at the hotel has a small library of poetry and other books, and a poetry bookmark is placed on each guest’s pillow every night. Poetry programs are inspired by the work of mid-century poet Hyam Plutzik, three time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and father of Betsy owner Jonathan Plutzik. For more information on The Betsy Writers Room: For more information on The Betsy-South Beach:

2017 Winner

LaylaJardinBotanico_PhotoCredSelected by judge Major Jackson, Layla Benitez-James is the 2017 winner of the Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize for her manuscript God Suspected My Heart Was a Geode But He Had to Make Sure, which will be published by Jai-Alai Books in spring 2018. Layla receives $500, publication by Jai-Alai Books, a week-long residency at The Writers Room at The Betsy Hotel and 10 complimentary copies of the chapbook.

Layla Benitez-James is an artist and translator living in Alicante, Spain. Her work has appeared in the Acentos ReviewAnomalyGuernicaWaxwing and elsewhere. Audio essays about translation by Layla can be found at Asymptote Journal Podcast. Layla currently works with the Unamuno Author Series in Madrid as its Director of Literary Outreach.

Honorable Mentions: Casey Rocheteau for Gorgoneion and Lynne Thompson for A Construction of Bindings.

Funders: O, Miami; Jai-Alai Books; The Betsy Southbeach; and The Center for the Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center.

O_Miami_Jai_Alai_Books_Betsy_Logo_Block_08_26_2015  CUNY Graduate Center