Lyzette Wanzer Intercultural Essay Prize Category*
First Prize: $100
Second Prize: $50
Third Prize: $25
Up to 2,500 words. I’m looking for polished essays in both traditional and lyric forms on the subjects of culture, heritage, ethnicity, and race, and the interplay that happens amongst these. I am partial to freighted, muscular writing that counters the conventional, displays a clean, even voice in the meat of the piece, and reflects the author’s flair and appetite for expression. Of prime importance to me? Work that discomfits, contemplates, balances scene and summary, and delivers the unexpected in the process. Practice good craft. Remember that over-reliance on adverbs means your noun and verb choices are not potent enough. Read the essays that appear in esteemed literary journals, such as Black Warrior Review, Pleiades, Natural Bridge, The Los Angeles Review, Tin House, A Public Space, Prairie Schooner, Guernica, n+1, Guernica, and so many others. Of course, any volume of Best American Essays is a solid primer.
Both proper grammar and correct punctuation do matter. And remember what Anton Chekhov said: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
Lyzette Wanzer (San Francisco, CA) is a writer, web editor, and creative writing workshop instructor. Her work reflects the peri-racial, social, and economic experiences of African Americans and others in current times. A flash fiction connoisseur and essay aficionado, her work has appeared in over thirty literary journals, magazines, books, and newspapers. Her book Trauma, Tresses, & Truth: Untangling Our Hair Through Personal Narratives, is due out from Chicago Review Press in Fall 2022. The Independent Publishers Group has selected the title as one of its Top-Shelf Picks for the Fall 2022 season. Lyzette is a contributor to Lyric Essay As Resistance: Truth From the Margins (Wayne State University Press 2023), Civil Liberties United: Diverse Voices from the San Francisco Bay Area (Pease Press 2019), and the multi-award-winning The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays (Wyatt-MacKenzie 2012). Her articles have appeared in Essay Daily, The Naked Truth, and the San Francisco University High School Journal. Her research interests include professional development for creative writers, Black feminism, critical race theory, and the lyrical essay form.
Lyzette is the recipient of California Arts Council’s Cultural Pathways and Impact Projects grants, as well as grants from Center for Cultural Innovation, San Francisco Arts Commission, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Black Artist Foundry. Lyzette also serves as a judge for the Women’s National Book Association’s Effie Lee Morris Literary Contest‘s Fiction category.
- First Prize: David Stewart of Palo Alto, CA
- Second Prize: Maxine Rose Schur of San Rafael, CA
- Third Prize: Robin Michel of San Francisco, CA
*This category was founded by Tara L. Masih in 2006.