Announcing the 2018 Langston Hughes Creative Writing Award Winners!

Join us in congratulating the 2018 winners of the Langston Hughes Award for creative writing: poet Rachel Atakpa and fiction writer Kim Condon!

Co-sponsored by the Raven Book Store and the Lawrence Arts Center, the Langston Hughes Creative Writing Awards honor the work of Hughes, who spent his childhood in Lawrence, Kansas. Each year, the award is given to two writers to encourage and support Douglas County residents who continue in Hughes’ tradition of depicting lived experience in poetry and prose.

An event honoring, and featuring readings by, this year’s award winners will be held on Langston Hughes’ 116th birthday, 7pm Thursday, February 1st, 2018 at the Lawrence Arts Center. A reception will follow. The event is free and open to the public.

This year’s winner for poetry is Rachel Atakpa. She is an undergraduate student and researcher at the University of Kansas studying English—with a focus in creative writing—and Spanish. Her academic work centers on explorations of the body politic, eroticism, and understanding the visceral effects and manifestations of experiences that are usually understood to be abstract or non-visceral. Her most recent research project is entitled “Reading Liberation in Queer Black Women’s Life Writing” and examines the ways in which constructions of selfhood and experience in queer Black women’s writing influence the creation of liberatory praxes and politics.

This year’s fiction winner is Kim Condon, who grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, and, with the exception of a brief stint in San Francisco, has happily called it her home as an adult as well. Kim received her undergraduate degree in creative writing from the University of Kansas and her J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law. While at KU, she published a short story in The Scissortale Review and was honored to have a 10-minute play accepted as a contender at the 2011 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. She is currently corporate counsel for The Midland Group and the happy mother of a creative and caring teenage daughter.