Brooklyn-based independent publisher Restless Books has announced the creation of a new literary prize for immigrant writing. The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing will award $10,000 and publication to the winner, who must be a first-generation American who has not previously published a book in English. Finalists will be announced on April 15, 2016 and the award will be presented at a ceremony in the summer of 2016.
The publisher of Restless Books, Ilan Stavans, is himself from Mexico.
"The ethos of America is defined by its immigrants," Stavans said in a statement released Aug. 24. "Their stories have always been an essential component of the nation's cultural consciousness, from Isaac Bashevis Singer to Jhumpa Lahiri, from Jacob Riis to Maxine Hong Kingston."
Stavans said that the judges are seeking "extraordinary unpublished submissions from emerging writers of sharp, culture-straddling writing that addresses American identity in a global age."
Submissions for the prize, to be awarded to a work of fiction, will be accepted between September and December of 2015. The judges are Stavans, Ethiopian-American novelist Maaza Mengiste, and bookseller and publisher Javier Molea. The following year, the prize will be given for a work of nonfiction.