We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 EastOver Prize for Nonfiction. After much deliberation, the editors of EastOver Press selected two winners from among many outstanding manuscripts for the inaugural prize: Susannah Q. Pratt, for her manuscript Consumed: Ruminations on a Year of No Buying, and Matthew Vollmer, for his manuscript This World Is Not Your Home. Both winners will receive $2,500 and have their manuscripts published by EastOver Press.
Of Pratt’s winning manuscript, our editors said, “Consumed: Ruminations on a Year of No Buying impressed us with its depth of analysis, sincere reflection on the everyday, and engaging writing style. We were particularly struck by its careful deconstruction of our contemporary relationship to what can be bought and owned. We came away from reading this manuscript with a different point of view on the things we fill our lives with.”
Pratt is a Chicago-based writer whose work has appeared in Literary Mama, Motherwell, The Mindful Word, Chicago Parent, Under the Gum Tree, Essay Daily, and The Week, among others. She has also served as a regular contributor to The Waking, the blog at Ruminate Magazine. Pratt, her husband, three children, and two dogs make their home—still full of too much stuff— in Evanston, IL. This will be her first book.
Of Vollmer’s winning manuscript, our editors said, “We were taken with This World Is Not Your Home from the very first essay, “Supermoon,” a beautiful balancing act of sorrow and compassion, evoking the competing duties of attention to a spouse and a child. In each of the other essays, Vollmer engages in pitch-perfect ruminations on the events of the past and on our imperfect and demanding memories. “NeVerForgeT” stands alongside work by others about the tragic events at Virginia Tech but rises above them by considering the awkward exploitation of public tragedy for various ends in contemporary society.
Vollmer is the author of two short-story collections—Future Missionaries of America and Gateway to Paradise—as well as two collections of essays—inscriptions for headstones and Permanent Exhibit. He was the editor of A Book of Uncommon Prayer, which collects invocations from over 60 acclaimed and emerging authors, and served as co-editor of Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, “Found” Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifacts. His work has appeared in venues such as Paris Review, Glimmer Train, Ploughshares, Tin House, Oxford American, The Sun, The Pushcart Prize anthology, and Best American Essays. He teaches in the English Department at Virginia Tech.
We are grateful to all of the writers who submitted manuscripts to the inaugural contest.
The EastOver Prize for Nonfiction is awarded annually to outstanding, unpublished works of nonfiction. For more information about the EastOver Prizes, visit eastoverpress.com/prizes.