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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 and The Center for the Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center.

2017 Prize

Award: Winner receives $500, publication by Jai-Alai Books in 2018, 10 copies of the chapbook, a residency from April 2-6, 2018 at The Writer’s Room at The Betsy Hotel in Miami and a featured reading on April 4, 2018 at the O, Miami Poetry Festival.

DeadlineManuscripts must be submitted no later than Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 11:59 pm EST. Winner announced by email on or before December 31, 2017.

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

Final JudgeMajor Jackson. (Judge reserves the right not to select a winner or honorable mentions.)

First Readers: Cameron Awkward-Rich, Tameka Cage Conley, P. Scott Cunningham

Cave Canem uses a blind judging system to arrive at the contest winner and honorable mention(s).

EligibilityThis 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 All unpublished, original collections of poems written in English by black writers are eligible.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

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:

2016 Winner

Selected by judge Robin Coste Lewis, Nick Makoha is the 2016 winner of the Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize for his manuscript Resurrection Man, which was published by Jai-Alai Books in spring 2017. Nick received $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. He gave a feature reading at the 2017 O, Miami Poetry Festival on April 5, 2017.

nick-makohaA Cave Canem fellow, Nick Makoha is the author of Kingdom of Gravity, winner of the 2015 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, forthcoming from Peepal Tree Press. His work has appeared in The Poetry Review, Rialto, Triquarterly Review, the Boston Review and elsewhere. His one-man show My Father & Other Superheroes debuted to sold-out audiences at the 2013 London Literature Festival and is currently on tour. Find him at

Honorable Mentions: Barry D. Amis for Mere Being and Keith S. Wilson for Opposing Stars

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