The 2017 Gulf Coast Prize

Announcing the Winners of the 2017 Gulf Coast Prizes


Chosen by Cate Marvin

poet sam saxsam sax is the author of Madness (Penguin, 2017) winner of The National Poetry Series Selected and ‘Bury It’ (Wesleyan University Press, 2018). He’s received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lambda Literary, & the MacDowell Colony. He’s the two-time Bay Area Grand Slam Champion, author of four chapbooks & winner of the 2016 Iowa Review Award & American Literary Award. His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, BuzzFeed, Poetry Magazine, Tin House + other journals. He’s the poetry editor at BOAAT Press.

 Honorable Mentions:
poet Jessica Hincapie

Jessica Hincapie lives, writes, and teaches in Austin, Texas. She received a BA in English Rheotric & Creative Writing from St. Edward's University and now attends The University of Texas where she is earning her MFA in poetry. She currently serves as Online Content & Web Editor for Bat City Review. She was a recent finalist in Indiana Review's 2017 Poetry Prize and has work appearing in their forthcoming issue (Winter, 2017).

poet Andres CerpaAndrés Cerpa is the author of Elegy with a Bicycle in a Ransacked City, forthcoming from Alice James Books (January 2019). A recipient of a fellowship from the McDowell Colony, Canto Mundo, and a scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, The Bellevue Literary Review, Devil's Lake, Perigee, Radar Poetry, The Shallow Ends, TriQuarterly, Frontier Poetry, Horsethief, West Branch, and RHINO, which selected his poem, "At the Tree Line" for their 2017 Editors' Prize. 


Chosen by Chinelo Okparanta

fiction writer Rudy RuizRudy Ruiz is a native of the Texas-Mexico border. His writing is inspired by the people, places, culture and history of the region, often tackling the challenging and complex issues of cultural identity, immigration, racism, acculturation and the pressures and hardships these exact on individuals, families and society. Rudy’s fiction debut, Seven for the Revolution, was awarded four International Latino Book Awards in 2014, including First Place in Popular Fiction and The Mariposa Prize for Best First Book – Fiction. His short stories have also appeared in The Notre Dame Review, The Ninth Letter, and BorderSenses. As an advocate for multicultural communities, Rudy’s political columns have appeared frequently on as well as in The Houston Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Cleveland Plain-Dealer. He lives in San Antonio, Texas with his wife and two children.

Honorable Mentions:

fiction writer Claire LuchetteClaire Luchette is a writer from Chicago. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, Glimmer TrainIndiana Review, and O, the Oprah Magazine.


fiction writer callie collinsCallie Collins is a writer and editor from Texas. Her work has appeared in The Collagist, The Toast, The Rumpus, PANK, and other venues. She cofounded A Strange Object, a small press based in Austin. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she is an MFA candidate at the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program and a writer-in-residence at Inside Out Detroit Literary Arts Project.


Chosen by Diane Roberts
nonfiction writer Spencer WiseSpencer Wise is a Visiting Lecturer at Florida State University. His debut novel “The Emperor of Shoes” is forthcoming from HarperCollins /Hanover Square Press (Spring 2018) and simultaneously from Oldcastle Books in the United Kingdom. His work has appeared in journals such as Narrative Magazine, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Florida Review, and New Ohio Review.

Honorable Mentions:

nonfiction writer Nadia Owusu

Nadia Owusu is a Brooklyn-based writer and urban planner. She grew up in Rome, Addis Ababa, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, Kumasi, and London. She is a graduate of the Mountainview MFA and is working on a memoir about the fault lines of identity. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, LUMINA, Catapult, The Cossack Review, Columbia Journal, The Huffington Post, Assignment, and The Rumpus.

nonfiction writer Jennifer Bullis

Jennifer Bullis is author of the poetry chapbook Impossible Lessons (MoonPath Press, 2013). Her essays appear in and the anthology Mothering Through the Darkness: Women Open Up About the Postpartum Experience (She Writes Press, 2015). Her poems are published in Tinderbox, Water~Stone Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Illuminations, Tahoma, and the Nasty Women Poets Anthology. She was inaugural winner of The Pitch contest at Poetry Northwest, and her poetry manuscripts have been finalists for the Snowbound Chapbook Award and the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Competition, as well as semifinalists for the Orizon Books Prize for Poetry. Originally from Reno, Nevada, she earned a Ph.D. in English at the University of California Davis, and was a mentee in the AWP Writer to Writer Program (2015). She lives in Bellingham, Washington, where she taught college writing and literature for 14 years.