Ruminate Magazine is thrilled to share with you the winners of the 2020 VanderMey Nonfiction Prize! The winning pieces were selected by our final judge, Brianna Van Dyke, and will appear in our spring 2020 issue which releases mid-March! You can subscribe now to receive Issue 54 or pre-order the issue here.
FIRST PLACE: "Destiny of Cumin" by Jasmine V. Bailey
Jasmine V. Bailey is the author of Alexandria (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2014), Disappeared (CMUP, 2017), and the chapbook Sleep and What Precedes It (Longleaf Press, 2009). She was the winner of Michigan Quarterly Review's Laurence Goldstein Prize, was a finalist for the 2018 Gulf Coast Translation Prize, and has held fellowships at Colgate University and the Vermont Studio Center. She is a contributing editor for Waxwing Literary Journal.
Judge Brianna Van Dyke writes:
"'Destiny of Cumin offers a wide-searching exploration of food and slavery and motherhood and becomes an essay about power and love and what it means to live among the contradictions of our own hearts. What a lovely and moving piece."
SECOND PLACE: "A True Prayer is One That You Do Not Understand" by Kelly J. Beard
Kelly J. Beard has been a lawyer, an activist, a teacher, and a musician. In 2017, her first full-length memoir, An Imperfect Rapture, was chosen by Janisse Ray for the Zone 3 Press Creative Nonfiction Book Award. Of her memoir, Andre Dubus III wrote, “Written with the spare, sensual, and deeply evocative prose of a master, this brave and ultimately transcendent memoir is an absolute gem . . . An Imperfect Rapture is a plaintive hymn of forgiveness, and it moved me to tears many times over.” Her work appears in literary journals, including Creative Nonfiction, Santa Ana River Review, Five Points, Bacopa Literary Review, and others. In 2019, Kelly was a finalist for a CLMP Firecracker Award, and received the Georgia Author of the Year Award for memoir from the Georgia Writers Association. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, the poet David Bottoms.
HONORABLE MENTION: "How To Ruin a Persian Wedding" by Atash Yaghmaian
Atash Yaghmaian was born in Tehran, Iran, and has lived in the United States since 1990. She is a licensed clinical social worker with two decades of experience working in New York City public schools, and both a founding member and director of Wellness at Harvest Collegiate, a progressive public high school in Manhattan. She is currently working on a full-length memoir entitled My Name Means Fire.
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