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 portraying life experience through poetry and prose. The creative writing award program is a partnership between the Lawrence Arts Center and The Raven Bookstore.
2024 Poetry Winner Darwin Michener-Rutledge is a poet and translator from Baldwin City, Kansas. She is a life-long poet, drawn by the capacity of poetry to generate new meaning through ambiguity. Her writing explores politics, identity, and landscape, inspired by her childhood growing up in the country and her work in art museums and social advocacy. Her writing has appeared in Poetry Quarterly, Sheepshead Review, and Beloved: A ButchFemme Zine, among others. In May, she will graduate from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in Art History and English. She currently works at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum in the Education department and serves as Poetry Editor for The Mount Holyoke Review.
2024 Fiction Winner Kimberlee Bethany Bonura earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Florida State University. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from UT – El Paso. She has served on the faculties of Florida Southern College, the US Military Academy – West Point, The State University of New York – New Paltz, and Walden University, and as a continuing education instructor for the University of Denver. She has been a yoga instructor and yoga therapist since 1996, with a focus on adapted and chair-based yoga. She is interested in the intersection of creativity and mindfulness, and the use of creative writing as self-care and stress management. She has lived in Lawrence, Kansas since September of 2022.
This year’s Langston Hughes Creative Writing Award winners will read their work and be honored at an event on Langston Hughes’ birthday, 7pm Thursday, February 1st, 2024 at the Lawrence Arts Center.
The event is free and open to the public. Learn more about the event.