Institute for Immigration Research New American Voices Award

Postmark Deadline Extended: April 7, 2021

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

The Contest

The prize will be juried by Irina Reyn, Justin Torres, and 2019 New American Voices winner Melissa Rivero, who will choose three finalists and then award the prize to one. Finalists will be announced in summer 2021 and all three finalists and the judges will appear at the Fall for the Book festival in October 2021 for the fourth 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. 


  • Starting January 4, 2021, publishers can enter immigrant writers* who have published no more than three books.
  • Entries must be prose: literary fiction or creative nonfiction. Please no journalism, plays, anthologies, or poetry.
  • Eligible books must have been (or will be) published between October 1, 2020 and October 31, 2021.
  • Four bound copies of the book (galleys/ARCs are acceptable) must be postmarked March 31, 2021 and sent to Kara Oakleaf at 4400 University Drive, MS 3E4, Fairfax, VA 22030, along with a $20 entry fee. Checks can be made out to Fall for the Book, Inc.; entry fee may also be paid online here. Or click the button below.
  • While we prefer print copies of the books, if you do not have access to them during this time of social distancing, we will now accept books digitally. Please email them to kara [at] fallforthebookorg

*Writers should be immigrants to the U.S., living in the States. They can be first generation by either definition of the term (born elsewhere and immigrated to the U.S., or born in the states to parents who immigrated to the U.S.) Questions? Contact Kara Oakleaf – kara[@]

Meet the Judges

Irina Reyn is the author of three novels, What Happened to Anna K., The Imperial Wife and Mother Country. She’s also the editor of the anthology Living on the Edge of the World: New Jersey Writers Take on the Garden State. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, One Story, Tin House, Bennington Review, Town & Country Travel and many other publications and anthologies. She teaches fiction writing in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh.

Justin Torres has published short fiction in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, Tin House, The Washington Post, and other publications. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Justin’s novel We the Animals has been translated into fifteen languages and was recently adapted into a film. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for five Independent Spirit Awards. 

Melissa Rivero was born in Lima, Peru and raised in Brooklyn. Her writing has taken her to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the VONA/Voices Workshops, and the Norman Mailer Writers Colony. In 2015, Melissa was an Emerging Writers Fellow at the Center for Fiction. She is a graduate of NYU and Brooklyn Law School, and currently works as in-house legal counsel at a startup. She still lives in Brooklyn with her family. The Affairs of the Falcóns, which won the 2019 New American Voices Award, is her first novel.

Past Winners

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