Announcing the 2020 Winners of the Lawrence Prize and the Page Davidson Clayton Prize

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The 2020 Lawrence Prize

Aya Osuga A. for “Kappa” from the Spring 2020 issue of MQR

“Aya Osuga A.’s Kappa is an incantatory story, at once as expansive as its midwife narrator’s unstable mind, and as claustrophobic as the Edo-period village where she is encased as an outsider, a curse, and a bringer of life. From the muted horror of the first page, to the terrible relief of the last, this was a story that dragged me down into its depths, like its very own kappa in the river.” –Lillian Li, 2020 Judge

The Lawrence Foundation Prize has been awarded since 1978 to the author of a short story published in the journal each year.


The 2020 Page Davidson Clayton Prize

Demetrius Buckley for “Letters from Daddy (29)” from the Fall 2020 issue of MQR

“The stakes of freedom and justice are rendered plain as an apricot tree in this intimate poem. It is, by turns, blunt as the single line statement that opens section 4 – ‘I may be dead to you.’ – and elsewhere suffused with symbolism as in ‘an envelope so many worlds.’ Each section offers a new entry point to see anew the deep desire to connect across possibly unbridgeable distance. One moment that especially captures Buckley’s creativity with language is the chiasmus in the final stanza: ‘…that the universe is a passing CO / or the passing itself is the universe.’ As ‘passing’ and ‘universe’ cross each other, the poem holds two scales simultaneously. Refusing to bridge this distance, the poem asks readers to hold both: the briefest moment of lived experience, here and gone, and an expanse so vast it is nearly impossible to contemplate fully.” –Katie Willingham, Poetry Editor

The Page Davidson Clayton Prize was established in 2009 by a generous gift from Meg and Mac Clayton in support of poetry and the development of new poets. It is awarded annually to a poet appearing in MQR who has not yet published a book.


You can learn more about MQR’s prizes here.