Winners of the 2020 Roadrunner Prizes

Joel Fishbane won the 2020 Roadrunner Fiction Prize with his short story Audition Tips for True Professionals.

Guest Fiction Judge Michael Jaime-Becerra wrote: “I chose ‘Audition Tips for True Professionals” as the winner because it wonderfully captures its speaker’s voice, which is complex and funny and a little defensive, too. Without spoiling it for future readers (I hope!), I appreciated how the writer uses precise details to suggest the blinding force of the speaker’s ego, how the true motivation for the audition begins to reveal itself, how the humor in the story begins to resonate differently, more meaningfully, as the speaker continues to share their insights on the audition process and its outcome. This is a brilliant, moving piece.”

Devaki Davay won the 2020 Roadrunner Nonfiction Prize with his essay Now All the Birds are Dead.

Guest Nonfiction Judge Amanda Fields wrote: “There is a wonderful quality of movement to this essay; just when I get a foothold, it pulls me elsewhere and mystifies me. Through the fragility and drama of the Earth, the narrator conveys grief, loss, and death. These themes unfold through poignant, immersive details. The writer’s voice is powerful, and the turn at the end is stark and beautiful.”

Michael Akuchie won the 2020 Roadrunner Poetry Prize with his poem Hemorrhage.

Guest Poetry Judge Sara Borjas wrote: This poem took the immense risk to acknowledge the limits of sympathy towards a self that is not responsible for its own erasure. The poem knows what the speaker cannot ever know fully, and that’s what beautiful poems grant us–a tiny liberation that we might never be afforded in our lived lives. In this way, it’s both emotionally constrained, and as spiritually broad as humanity can get before breaking.”