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2020 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 Betsy – South Beach.

Award: Winner receives $500, publication by Jai-Alai Books in 2021, 10 copies of the chapbook, a residency in early April at The Writer’s Room at The Betsy Hotel in Miami, and a featured reading at the O, Miami Poetry Festival.

Deadline: Manuscripts must be submitted no later than Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 11:59 pm EST. Winner announced by email on or before December 31, 2020.

Entry Fee: FREE. Though, donations may be made to Cave Canem here.

Final Judge: Mahogany L. Browne (Judge reserves the right not to select a winner or honorable mentions.)

First Readers: April Freely and Taylor Johnson. 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 All unpublished, original collections of poems written in English by black writers are eligible.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 2021.

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.
  • Include your cover letter in the Submittable text box—DO NOT include within the .doc or .pdf document of your manuscript. 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 Mahogany L. Browne

Mahogany L. Browne is a writer, organizer, and educator. She is the Executive Director of Bowery Poetry Club, Artistic Director of Urban Word NYC, and Poetry Coordinator at St. Francis College. She has received fellowships from Agnes Gund, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research, and Rauschenberg. Mahogany is the author of Woke: A Young Poets Call to JusticeWoke BabyBlack Girl MagicKissing Caskets, and Dear Twitter. She is the founder of the Woke Baby Book Fair, a nationwide diversity literature campaign, and as an Arts for Justice grantee, is completing her first collection of essays on mass incarceration, investigating its impact on women and children. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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, 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.


2019 Winner

Selected by Danez Smith, Marissa Davis is the winner of the 2019 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize for her manuscript My Name & Other Languages I Am Learning How to Speak, published by Jai-Alai Books in spring 2020. Smith notes that Davis’ manuscript “exist brightly in the canon of Black femme poets.”

Marissa Davis is a poet and translator from Paducah, Kentucky, currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. Her original poems have appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, Rattle, The Iowa Review, Sundog Lit, Raconteur and Peach Mag, among other journals; her translations are forthcoming in Ezra and Mid-American Review. She received a BA from Vanderbilt University and is currently pursuing an MFA in poetry at New York University as a Rona Jaffe fellow, where she also serves as an assistant translations editor for Washington Square ReviewMy Name & Other Languages I Am Learning How to Speak is her first chapbook.

Honorable Mentions:

The Animal of Memory by rebecca brown
Heirs by Ajanae Dawkins
Rhapsody by Christell Victoria Roach
Now Like Knew by Eric Shorter
Nobody Knows My Soul by Jorrell Watkins

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