MDC’s Miami Book Fair Announces 2020 Paz Prize for Poetry Contest

Miami, April 23, 2020 Calling all Poets! The acclaimed Miami Book Fair (MBF) at Miami Dade College (MDC), in collaboration with The National Poetry Series, has announced the return of The Paz Prize for Poetry. The submission period for this year’s contest is June 1 – July 31, 2020.

Named in honor of the late Nobel Prize-winning poet, Octavio Paz, the award recognizes a previously unpublished poetry book written in Spanish by a poet residing in the U.S. The Prize will recognize book-length manuscripts of poetry written in Spanish. The winning work will be translated into English and a bilingual edition will be published by the prestigious independent publisher Akashic Books, and its author will receive a $2,000 cash prize. Celebrated poet José Kozer will serve as judge.

“We are all living with stress and some uncertainty about the future, as we continue to navigate our lives during the Covid-19 crisis. Now, maybe more than ever, we can find solace in arts. Usually a solitary act, writing poetry can be a way to deeply explore feelings and gain better understanding of our shared reality,” said Mariela Gal, Spanish Programs Manager for the Miami Book Fair. “With the Paz Prize, Miami Book Fair offers a way for poets who don’t have as many avenues open to them as English-language writers in the U.S. to connect with readers in both English and Spanish.”

More than 200 poets from across the U.S. have entered the literary contest since its inception in 2012. In addition to the cash prize, winners are invited to read at Miami Book Fair and present their books at other events throughout the country. Past winners include Dinapiera Di Donato for her collection Colaterales, Carlos Pintado for his collection Nueve Monedas/Nine coins, Legna Rodríguez Iglesias for Miami Century Fox, and Johanny Vázquez Paz for I Offer My Heart as a Target/Ofrezco mi corazón como una diana.

“It is an honor to have received the Paz Prize for Poetry and become the first Puerto Rican to obtain this distinction,” said Vázquez Paz, winner of the 2018 edition. “With I Offer My Heart as a Target, I hope to give a voice to the Puerto Rican diaspora and offer consolation to the victims and survivors of the violence we live in today.”

The National Poetry Series was established in 1978 by Daniel Halpern and James Michener to ensure the publication of five collections of poetry annually through participating publishers. More than 175 books have been awarded since the Series’ inception. Members of the advisory board for the prize include Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Cristina Garcia, Mitchell Kaplan, Campbell McGrath, Pablo Medina, Gary Soto, Ilan Stavans, and Luisa Valenzuela.

For complete contest guidelines visit: For more information contact Beth Dial, at

Manuscripts will only be received by online submission through this link:

The entry period for the 2020 Open Competition begins on June 1, 2020 and runs through July 31, 2020.

Miami Book Fair

Miami Book Fair, widely considered the largest and finest literary event in the U.S., is part of the Cultural Affairs Department of Miami Dade College. In addition to the annual eight-day festival that takes place on the Wolfson Campus of the College in Downtown Miami, Miami Book Fair presents literary programs throughout Miami all year long. Miami Book Fair is made possible through the generous support of the State of Florida and the National Endowment for the Arts; the City of Miami; Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; Miami-Dade County Public Schools; the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau; the Miami Downtown Development; and the Friends of the Fair; as well as many corporate partners.

Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College (MDC) has a long and rich history of involvement in the cultural arts, providing South Florida with a vast array of artistic and literary offerings, including the Miami Book Fair, the Miami International Film Festival, MDC Live Arts performing arts series, the Cuban Cinema Series, the Miami Leadership Roundtable speakers’ series, numerous renowned campus art galleries and theaters, and the nationally recognized School of Entertainment and Design Technology. With an enrollment of more than 165,000 students, MDC is the largest institution of higher education in the country and is a national model for many of its programs. The college’s eight campuses and outreach centers offer more than 300 distinct degree pathways including baccalaureate, associate in arts and science degrees and numerous career training certificates leading to in-demand jobs. MDC has admitted more than 2,000,000 students since it opened its doors in 1960.

Miami Book Fair contact: Lisa Palley, 305-642-3132

Deyanira Navarrete, 305-495-7168,