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2021 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, Jai-Alai Books, and The Betsy – South Beach.

Award: Winner receives $1000, publication by Jai-Alai Books in spring 2022, 10 copies of the chapbook, a residency at The Writer’s Room at The Betsy Hotel in Miami, and a featured virtual reading at the O, Miami Poetry Festival.

Deadline: Manuscripts must be submitted no later than Wednesday, September 15, 2021, at 11:59 pm ET. Winner announced by email on or before December 31, 2021. 

Entry Fee: There is no entry fee, though donations may be made to Cave Canem here.

Final Judge: Lillian-Yvonne Bertram. (Judge reserves the right not to select a winner or honorable mentions.) 

First Readers: TBA

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 All unpublished, original collections of poems written in English by Black writers are eligible.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

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 will be 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.
  • Include a cover letter in the Submittable text box with a brief author’s bio (200 words, maximum) and a list of acknowledgments of previously published poems. DO NOT include this information within the .doc or .pdf document of the manuscript.
  • 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 Lillian-Yvonne Bertram
Lillian-Yvonne Bertram is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, where they teach in and direct the UMass Boston MFA in Creative Writing Program. They also direct the Chautauqua Institution Writers’ Festival. They are the author of the poetry collections Travesty Generator (Noemi Press, 2019), winner of the 2018 Noemi Press Poetry Prize and the 2020 Poetry Society of America Anna Rabinowitz Prize, and a finalist for the National Poetry Series. Other works include Personal Science (Tupelo Press, 2017); a slice from the cake made of air (Red Hen Press 2016); and But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise (Red Hen Press, 2012), chosen by Claudia Rankine as the winner of the 2010 Benjamin Saltman Award. Bertram’s honors include a 2017 Harvard University Woodberry Poetry Room Creative Grant, a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, finalist nomination for the 2013 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Cave Canem, and others. Bertram holds a Ph.D. in Literature & Creative Writing from the creative writing program at the University of Utah, among degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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 information, visit

About Jai-Alai Books
Jai-Alai Books 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
The Betsy – South Beach is an award-winning global arts hotel and home of The Betsy Writer’s Room that has hosted over 800 artists, thought leaders, poets, and creators in residence. The Betsy is also the home of O, Miami Poetry Festival, Miami Classical Music Festival, and host Hotel to many of South Florida’s leading regional charitable, arts, and culture organizations. Poetry programs are inspired by the work of mid-century poet Hyam Plutzik, a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and father of Betsy owner Jonathan Plutzik. The Betsy Hotel, located on iconic Ocean Drive, beachfront, is also home of The Betsy Poetry Rail, a public installation that champions the work of 12 writers that shaped Miami Culture.


2020 Winner

Selected by judge Mahogany L. Browne, Wale Iyinla is the winner of the 2020 Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize for his manuscript To Caste a Dream. Wale will receive $500, publication by Jai-Alai Books in spring 2021, 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.

Wale Ayinla is a Nigerian poet, essayist, and editor. His works recently appeared or are forthcoming on Guernica, South Dakota Review, TriQuarterly, Rhino Poetry, UpTheStaircase Quarterly, The LitQuarterly, Cimarron Review, Ruminate Magazine, McNeese Review, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. He is a staff reader for Adroit Journal. He has a Pushcart prize nomination, and several Best of the Net and Best New Poets Award nominations. In 2020, he was a finalist for numerous prizes which include the Jack Grapes Poetry Prize, and his manuscript, Sea Blues on Water Meridian was a finalist for the inaugural Center for African American Poetry and Poetics (CAAPP) Book Prize.

Honorable Mentions:

Stage Dive by Christopher Rose
Remedies for Disappearing by Alexa Patrick
Autobiography of Boi Venus by kiki nicole

Funders: O, Miami; Jai-Alai Books; The Betsy – South Beach