Jessica Abughattas Named Winner of 2020 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize

Jessica Abughattas
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Jessica Abughattas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Jessica Abughattas has been named the winner of the annual Etel Adnan Poetry Prize for her collection Strip. She will receive $1,000, and the University of Arkansas Press will publish her collection in the fall of 2020.

Abughattas is a poet of Palestinian heritage, born and raised in California. An alumna of Pepperdine University, Abughattas has been awarded a Kundiman fellowship and an M.F.A. in poetry from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her work has been published in Lit Hub, Redivider, Waxwing, and elsewhere. She lives in Los Angeles.

Series editors Hayan Charara and Fady Joudah said of this year's selection, "Strip is a captivating debut about desire and dispossession, and that tireless poetic metaphor, the body. Audacious and clear-eyed, plainspoken and brassy, these are songs that break free from confinement."

The Etel Adnan Poetry Prize is supported by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Arkansas. It is named for Lebanese poet, essayist and visual artist Etel Adnan, who the journal MELUS — The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States — called "arguably the most celebrated and accomplished Arab American author writing today."

Charara is the author of three poetry books, and he is the editor of Inclined to Speak, an anthology of contemporary Arab American poetry published by the University of Arkansas Press. His honors include a National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellowship and an Arab American Book Award.

Joudah is the author of four collections of poetry and five volumes of poetry translation from Arabic. His honors include The Yale Series for Younger Poets, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a PEN award and the Griffin Poetry Prize.

Every year the University of Arkansas Press, together with the Radius of Arab American Writers, accepts submissions for the Etel Adnan Poetry Series and awards the $1,000 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize to a first or second book of poetry, in English, by a writer of Arab heritage. Since its founding in 1996, the Radius of Arab American Writers has celebrated and fostered the writings and writers who make up the vibrant and diverse Arab American community.

The 2019 winner was Zaina Alsous for her collection A Theory of Birds, which is coming out this September. The 2018 winner was Peter Twal for his collection Our Earliest Tattoos. Jess Rizkallah won the inaugural prize in 2017 for her collection the magic my body becomes.

About the University of Arkansas Press: The University of Arkansas Press was founded in 1980 as the book publishing division of the University of Arkansas. A member of the Association of American University Presses, it has as its central and continuing mission the publication of books that serve both the broader academic community and Arkansas and the region.

About the King Fahd Center: The King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies is an academic and research unit in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas, dedicated to the study of the modern Middle East and the geo-cultural area in which Islamic civilization prospered and continues to shape world history.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines.

Contacts

Melissa King, director of sales and marketing
University of Arkansas Press
479-575-7715, mak001@uark.edu

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