Exploring the art of prose


CRAFT Creative Nonfiction Award 2021

2021 CRAFT Creative Nonfiction Award

Guest Judge: Ira Sukrungruang

Thank you to all writers who sent essays to our 2021 Creative Nonfiction Award.

We are delighted to publish the winning pieces and editors’ choice selections in June 2022. Congratulations to all the winners, editors’ choice selections, finalists, longlisters, and honorable mentions!


JT Baldassarre: “Roach Farm”
Amy Evans: “The Stoics”
Gina DeMillo Wagner: “Following Floodlights Instead of the Moon” 

 Editors’ Choice Selections 

Gilbert Arzola: “Eight Months”
Myna Chang: “We Were the Wild Hunt” 


Liz Asch: “Recto Verso”
Annie Bien: “Floating in His Arms”
Lydia Gwyn: “Lace in Your Hands”
Max Hunt: “Our Therapists Will Tell Us to Call It an Inpatient Facility
Theresa Lin: “What Is Beautiful”
Mardith Louisell: “A Fabric of Memory”
Neve Kamilah Mazique-Bianco: “The Fawn”
S. R. Ponaka: “One Molar Too Many”
Matthew Raymond: “The Writer”
Beth Richards: “Tails Disappear First”

The Rest of the Longlist 

Adedayo Agarau: “Short Essays on Music”
Audrey Chin: “No Tears”
Jaime Grechika: “The Hard Way”
Rebecca Handler: “You Can’t Make That Up”
Annie Liontas: “Dancing in the Dark”
N. R. Robinson: “Visiting Mama”
Elizabeth Skopec: “The Island”
Clancy Tripp: “A Life of Prizes”
Jonathan Wei: “Jiaozi (Jowd-zuh)”
David Zane: “Auschwitz on Acid”

Honorable Mentions 

Dan Asenlund: “Seven Night(mare)s on the Trans-Siberian”
Chenoa Ashton-Lewis : “Chehoeuh”
Lisa K. Buchanan: “A Tutor’s ABCs”
Nikki Manzano Cabugao: “Like Water-Flavored Rice”
Kelly Grey Carlisle: “A Natural History of the Dragon”
Jenet Dibble: “White Coffee”
fogel fogel: “My Father’s Son”
Diane Glancy: “Driving in Kansas and Texas”
Julie Hébert: “Picking Cherry Tomatoes in the Apocalypse”
Connie Henry: “Confession”
Bronson Lemer: “Gumshoe”
Emma McCoy: “Shovels and Rainfall”
Shareen K. Murayama: “Maximum Allowance”
Julie Wittes Schlack: “An Invisible Wake”
Leo Vickers: “Scrappy” 

We will return in winter with the 2022 CRAFT Creative Nonfiction Award!

Ira Sukrungruang was born in Chicago to Thai immigrants. He earned his BA in English from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and his MFA from The Ohio State University. He is the author of four nonfiction books This Jade World (2021), Buddha’s Dog & Other Meditations (2018), Southside Buddhist (2014) and Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy (2010), the short story collection The Melting Season (2016), and the poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night (2013). With friend Donna Jarrell, he co-edited two anthologies that examines the fat experience through a literary lens—What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology (2003) and Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology (2005). He is a former member of the Board of Trustees for the Association of Writers and Writing Program (AWP), and is currently on the Advisory Board of Machete, an imprint of The Ohio State University Press dedicated to publishing innovative nonfiction by authors who have been historically marginalized.

Sukrungruang is the recipient of the 2015 American Book Award for Southside Buddhist, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, an Arts and Letters Fellowship, and the Anita Claire Scharf Award in Poetry. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including The Rumpus, American Poetry ReviewThe Sun, and Creative Nonfiction. He is the president of Sweet: A Literary Confection, a literary nonprofit organization, and is the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College.

Graywolf Press is a nonprofit literary publisher of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and work in translation.

Their Mission:

Graywolf Press is a leading independent publisher committed to the discovery and energetic publication of twenty-first century American and international literature. We champion outstanding writers at all stages of their careers to ensure that adventurous readers can find underrepresented and diverse voices in a crowded marketplace.

We believe works of literature nourish the reader’s spirit and enrich the broader culture, and that they must be supported by attentive editing, compelling design, and creative promotion.