Submissions are open for the 2020 Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing. Now in its fifth year, the prize will award $10,000 and publication to a debut work of fiction by a first-generation immigrant. The 2020 judges, all immigrants themselves, are novelist Dinaw Mengestu, translator Achy Obejas, and Restless Books publisher Ilan Stavans. We seek extraordinary, culture-straddling writing from emerging writers that addresses identity in a global age. Submissions are open through March 2020.

See our prize page for the full guidelines and eligibility requirements, and read on to learn more about the judges and the past winners.

  • For an outstanding debut work of fiction by a first-generation immigrant
  • Winner receives $10,000 and publication by Restless Books
  • Deadline: March 31
  • No fee
  • Submit a book-length (45k+ words) work of fiction, cover letter, and CV
Learn more and submit here

Meet the 2020 judges

Dinaw Mengestu is the author of three novels, all of which were named New York Times Notable Books: All Our Names (Knopf, 2014), How To Read the Air (Riverhead, 2010), and The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (Riverhead, 2007). A native of Ethiopia who came with his family to the United States at the age of two, Mengestu is also a freelance journalist who has reported about life in Darfur, northern Uganda, and eastern Congo. His articles and fiction have appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, Jane, and Rolling Stone. He is a 2012 MacArthur Fellow and recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship for Fiction, National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Award, Guardian First Book Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among other honors. He was also included in The New Yorker’s “20 under 40” list in 2010.
Achy Obejas is the author of The Tower of the Antilles, which was nominated for a PEN/Faulkner award. Her other books include Ruins and Days of Awe. As a translator, she’s worked with Wendy Guerra, Rita Indiana, Junot Díaz and Megan Maxwell, among others. A native of Havana, she currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
Ilan Stavans is the Publisher of Restless Books and the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Humanities, Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. His books include On Borrowed WordsSpanglishDictionary DaysThe Disappearance, and A Critic’s Journey. He has edited The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, the three-volume set Isaac Bashevis Singer: Collected StoriesThe Poetry of Pablo Neruda, among dozens of other volumes. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, Chile’s Presidential Medal, the International Latino Book Award, and the Jewish Book Award. Stavans’s work, translated into twenty languages, has been adapted to the stage and screen. A cofounder of the Great Books Summer Program at Amherst, Stanford, Chicago, Oxford, and Dublin, he is the host of the NPR podcast “In Contrast.”