The Loraine Williams Poetry Prize

Hanif Abdurraqib author photo
Hanif Abdurraqib. Photo by Megan Leigh Barnard.

Hanif Abdurraqib served as the final judge for the 2023 Loraine Williams Poetry Prize. Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, PitchforkThe New Yorker, and the New York TimesHis first full-length poetry collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much (Button Poetry, 2016), was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award, and was nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. With Big Lucks, he released a limited edition chapbook, Vintage Sadness, in 2017. His first collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us (Two Dollar Radio, 2017), was named a book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah MagazinePitchforkand the Chicago Tribune, among others. Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest  (University of Texas Press, 2019) became a New York Times bestseller, was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, and was longlisted for the National Book Award. His second poetry collection, A Fortune for Your Disaster (Tin House Books, 2019), won the 2020 Lenore Marshall Prize. In 2021, he released  A Little Devil in America with Random House, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay and won the 2022 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction and the Gordon Burn Prize. 


The Loraine Williams Poetry Prize is an award for a single poem, to be published in The Georgia Review. The winner will receive an honorarium of $1,500 and an expenses-paid trip to Athens, Georgia, to give a public reading with the judge.

Annual time frame: Submissions to be considered for the Loraine Williams Poetry Prize must be sent either online from March 1 through May 15 or by regular mail postmarked within the same span of time. The winning poem and author will be announced by August 15, and the poem will appear in the Winter issue of the same year. All submitted poems will be considered for publication in The Georgia Review; any selected will be paid our regular poetry honorarium of $4 per line.

Entry requirements: No simultaneously submitted work. An entry may include one, two, or three poems, but no more than a total of ten standard pages in 12-point or larger type. Work previously published in any form will not be considered. 

Submissions must be sent either through Submittable between March 1 and May 15 or by regular mail postmarked within the same span of time. Only one entry per writer. Submissions cost $30, which includes a one-year subscription to The Georgia Review.

*Subscribers can submit to one contest for free for each year of a subscription. Current subscribers (those with an active, paid subscription) should contact us and provide their name and mailing address in order to receive a link to submit for free. Please allow 24 hours for your request to be processed.

Postal submissions: Include (1) a cover letter that provides the submitter’s phone number and email address and confirms that the poem or poems will not be under consideration elsewhere during the judging period, (2) a self-addressed and stamped envelope for announcement of contest winner and notice of whether your work has been selected for publication, and (3) if you are not a current subscriber, a check for $30 to begin your subscription. Checks should be made payable to The Georgia Review, and envelopes should be addressed to The Loraine Williams Poetry Prize, The Georgia Review, Room 706A Main Library, the University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-9009.

Online submissions: Instructions for submitting online can be found on Submittable. No prize entries will be accepted until March 1, and submissions will close May 15.

Please note that students, faculty, staff, and administrators currently affiliated with the University of Georgia are ineligible for the LWPP. Intimate friends, relatives, colleagues, and former or current students of a judge are also ineligible to enter. Previous winners of our contest should wait three years before entering again.


The Georgia Review 
thanks the late Loraine Williams for her sponsorship of this prize. Ms. Williams was a longtime Atlanta-based patron of the arts.