Meredith Nnoka Wins the 2022 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize

Alt Text: Black and white profile headshot of Merideth Nnoka. She is wearing dark-frame glasses and metallic hoop earrings. She has dark curly hair and is smiling. She is looking to the right off camera. 
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We are honored to announce that Herman Beavers has selected Meredith Nnoka as the winner of the 2022 Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady Cave Canem Chapbook Prize. Nnoka will receive $1,000, publication by O, Miami Books, ten copies of the chapbook, a residency at The Writer’s Room at The Betsy Hotel in Miami, and a featured reading at the O, Miami Poetry Festival in April. 

Beavers and Nnoka will feature in a virtual reading on April 24, 2023,  from  7:00 p.m – 8:00 p.m. (ET).

RSVP here.

Since 2015, Cave Canem has collaborated with O, Miami to spotlight exceptional chapbook-length manuscripts by Black poets. Previous judges were: Lillian-Yvonne Bertram; Mahogany L. Browne; Ross Gay; Major Jackson; Robin Coste Lewis; Dawn Lundy Martin; and Danez Smith.

Meredith Nnoka is a Chicago-based writer, educator, and prison abolitionist. She has a BA from Smith College and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, both in Africana studies. Twice nominated for Best of the Net, her poems have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Four Way Review, Diode Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She teaches poetry at a prison outside of Chicago and serves as program lead for Illinois’s annual Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards. Meredith’s first chapbook, A Hunger Called Music: A Verse History of Black Music, is available from C&R Press.

About the Judge

Herman Beavers is the Julie Beren Platt and Marc E. Platt President’s Distinguished Professor of English and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program and offers an arts-based community service course that brings students together with Philadelphia residents. Beavers’ poems have appeared in The Langston Hughes Colloquy, MELUS, Versadelphia, Cleaver Magazine, The American Arts Quarterly, and Supplement. His fiction has appeared in the Best Philadelphia Stories. His poems have been anthologized in Obsession: Sestinas for the Twenty-First Century, Remembering Gwen, Who Will Speak for America, and Show Us Your Papers. Beavers is the author of Obsidian Blues (a chapbook), Geography and the Political Imaginary in the Novels of Toni Morrison, and The Vernell Poems. He is collaborating with saxophonists Odean Pope and Immanuel Wilkins to develop a series of jazz compositions based on his sonnet cycle, “Progressions,” in a project titled “Re-Sounding Progressions.” He lives in New Jersey with his wife, Lisa.

This program is supported, in part, by Amazon Literary Partnership Poetry Fund in partnership with the Academy of American Poets; Consolidated Edison Company of New York; National Endowment for the Arts; and New York State Council on the Arts. Co-presented by O, Miami, and the Betsy Hotel.

Cave Canem is grateful to our community of institutional supporters. Thank you for your belief in the mission to cultivate the artistic and professional growth of Black poets!