Announcing the 2019 New American Voices Award Judges

Fall for the Book and the Institute for Immigration Research have created an award to recognize recently published works that illuminate the complexity of human experience as told by immigrants, whose work is historically underrepresented in writing and publishing.

The Contest

The prize will be juried by Reyna Grande, Alia Malek, and E.C. Osondu, who will choose three finalists and then award the prize to one. Finalists will be announced in summer 2019 and all three finalists and the judges will appear at the 2019 Fall for the Book festival, October 10-12 for the second annual presentation and to read from and discuss their work. The winning writer will receive $5,000 and the two finalists each will receive $1,000. 

Submission Deadline is April 1, 2019.

Find Out More

Meet the Judges

Photo Credit: Imran Chaudhry

Reyna Grande is the author of the bestselling memoir, The Distance Between Us, (Atria, 2012) where she writes about her life before and after coming from Mexico to the United States as an undocumented immigrant. The much-anticipated sequel, A Dream Called Home(Atria), will be released this fall. Her other works include the novels, Across a Hundred Mountains, (Atria, 2006) and Dancing with Butterflies (Washington Square Press, 2009) which were published to critical acclaim. Her books have been adopted as the common read selection by schools, colleges and cities across the country.

Reyna has received an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, and the International Latino Book Award. In 2012, she was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards, and in 2015 she was honored with a Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature. The young reader’s version of The Distance Between Us received a 2017 Honor Book Award for the Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, a 2016 Eureka! Honor Awards from the California Reading Association, and an International Literacy Association Children’s Book Award 2017. Currently, she teaches creative writing, travels across the country and abroad to give presentations about her books, and is at work on her next book.

Alia Malek is a journalist and former civil rights lawyer. She is the author of The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria (Nation Books 2017)and  A Country Called Amreeka: US History Re-Told Through Arab American Lives (Simon & Schuster 2009). She is the editor of Patriot Acts: Narratives of Post 9/11 Injustices(McSweeney’s 2011) and EUROPA أوروپا  : An Illustrated Introduction to Europe for Migrants and Refugees (2016). Her reportage has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign PolicyNewYorker.comthe Nationthe Christian Science MonitorJadaliyyaMcSweeney’sGuernica and other publications.

Born in Baltimore to Syrian immigrant parents, she began her legal career as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. After working in the legal field in the U.S., Lebanon, and the West Bank, Malek, who has degrees from Johns Hopkins and Georgetown universities, earned her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. In April 2011, she moved to Damascus, Syria and wrote anonymously for several outlets from inside the country as it began to disintegrate. Her reporting from Syria earned her the Marie Colvin Award in November 2013. She returned to the U.S. in May 2013 for the launch of Al Jazeera America, where she was Senior Writer until October 2015. After her departure, she was a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at the Nation Institute and in residence at the MacDowell Colony. In November 2016, she was honored with the 12th annual Hiett Prize in the Humanities. The New York Foundation for the Arts named her a fellow in Nonfiction Literature in the summer of 2017.

E.C. Osondu is the author of the collection of stories Voice of America and the novel This House is Not For Sale.  He is a winner of the Caine Prize and a Pushcart Prize among other prizes. His fiction has appeared in the Atlantic, AGNI, n+1, Guernica, Kenyon Review, McSweeney’s, Zyzzyva, Threepenny Review, New Statesman and many other places and has been translated into over half a dozen languages. A contributing editor at AGNI, he has been a Visiting Professor at UT Austin and is currently an Associate Professor of English at Providence College in Rhode Island.