Introducing our 2023 IWR Alumni Award winners!

Introducing our 2023 IWR Alumni Award winners!

This year is the sixth year the Iceland Writers Retreat has offered Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Awards. This prestigious award is funded in its entirety by generous IWR alumni and friends. It gives its recipients full or partial funding to attend the next Retreat, which will take place April 26-30th, 2023 in Reykjavik. The winners are chosen based on both merit and financial need, and submissions were reviewed by IWR alumni volunteers. We received hundreds of applications from around the world and the quality of submissions was extremely high.

These four lucky applicants will be joining three 2020 winners who haven’t been able to attend until now — Chuck Smith from Philippines, Okeke Okechi from Nigeria, and Abak Hussein from Bangladesh.

There is still room to join us, our faculty, and our seven Alumni Award winners in Reykjavik next Spring — sign up now!

Tochukwu Okafor (taken by Beeowulf Sheehan)

Full Funding

Tochukwu Okafor is an MFA Fiction candidate at Emerson College and holds a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a 2021 – 2023 Book Project Fellow at Lighthouse Writers’ Workshop, a 2022 Ucross Foundation Fellow, a 2022 Kurt Brown Prize for Fiction winner, a 2021 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow, a 2021 – 2022 GrubStreet Emerging Writer Fellow, a 2021 Gish Jen Fiction Fellow, an alumnus of the 2021 Tin House Workshop, and a 2018 Rhodes Scholar finalist. His work has appeared in the 2019 Best Small Fictions, the 2018 Best of the Net, and elsewhere, and he reads for Ploughshares and copy-edits for Redivider. He has received scholarships, fellowships, grants, and residencies from the John Anson Kittredge Fund, Aspen Words, Vermont Studio Center, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Ragdale Foundation, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts (MASS MoCA), Eckerd College, Worcester Arts Council, and elsewhere. He is at work on a story collection and a novel. He lives in Worcester, MA.

Lisa Guenther

Partial Funding

Lisa Guenther is a novelist and farm editor based in rural northwestern Saskatchewan, Canada. In 2015, she published her first novel, Friendly Fire, with NeWest Press, and NeWest plans to release her second novel in 2024. Lisa’s fiction deals with themes such as violence, abuse, trauma and survival. She’s also interested in exploring people’s connection to the land in a modern context, both in her fiction and journalism. Lisa is also the first female editor of Canadian Cattlemen magazine, which has been in circulation since 1938. 

Shannon Webb-Campbell
Shannon Webb-Campbell

Full Funding

Shannon Webb-Campbell is a member of Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation. Her books include: Still No Word (Breakwater 2015), I Am A Body of Land (Book*hug 2019), and Lunar Tides (Book*hug 2022). Shannon is a doctoral candidate at the University of New Brunswick in the Department of English, and the editor of Visual Arts News Magazine. She lives and works in Kjipuktuk/ Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

April Dobbins

Partial Funding

April Dobbins is an American writer and filmmaker based in Reykjavík, where she is studying Icelandic. She received her master’s degree in Arts in Education from Harvard University in 2022. Formerly based in Miami, Florida, April has written about arts and culture for various outlets, including Miami New Times and Sugarcane Magazine. Her film work has been supported by Sundance Institute, ITVS, Fork Films, International Documentary Association, and Firelight Media, to name a few. Her work is deeply rooted in the Black experiences of the American South, which she detailed in Home is Where the Heart of the Story Is, her first TEDx talk. For six years, she served as Director of Prestigious Awards and Fellowships at the University of Miami, where she also taught film courses in the School of Communication. She is currently at work on her first book, which is inspired by the history of Liberia. 

Our other finalists (in alphabetical order) were:

Amadieabasi Udofa
A.R. Salandy
Christopher Linforth
Christy Chilimgras
Crystal Welcome
Matthew Seaton
Meehika Barua
Petronella Wagner
Rongili Biswas
Sabah Sanhouri

Thank you to all our generous donors and volunteer readers — the 2023 Alumni Award couldn’t have happened without your support!

Third Place in the IWR Writing Competition

Third Place in the IWR Writing Competition

We have partnered with the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel to offer one person a free spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat in April-May 2020.  The winner receives admission to all events for the Iceland Writers Retreat, as well as four nights accommodation at the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel and we received over 400 submissions from the around the world.

This year the challenge was to submit a 350-word story, essay or poem inspired by this photo, which we’ve captioned: “Iceland: ethereal, exhilarating, sublime.” Entries were judged anonymously by two previous IWR volunteers & writers, and a representative of the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel, our contest sponsors. Continue reading

Second Place in the IWR Writing Competition

Second Place in the IWR Writing Competition

We have partnered with the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel to offer one person a free spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat in April-May 2020.  The winner receives admission to all events for the Iceland Writers Retreat, as well as four nights accommodation at the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel and we received over 400 submissions from the around the world.

This year the challenge was to submit a 350-word story, essay or poem inspired by this photo, which we’ve captioned: “Iceland: ethereal, exhilarating, sublime.” Entries were judged anonymously by two previous IWR volunteers & writers, and a representative of the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel, our contest sponsors. Continue reading

Winner of the IWR Writing Competition

Winner of the IWR Writing Competition

We have partnered with the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel to offer one person a free spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat in April-May 2020.  The winner receives admission to all events for the Iceland Writers Retreat, as well as four nights accommodation at the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel and we received over 400 submissions from the around the world.

This year the challenge was to submit a 350-word story, essay or poem inspired by this photo, which we’ve captioned: “Iceland: ethereal, exhilarating, sublime.” Entries were judged anonymously by two previous IWR volunteers & writers, and a representative of the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel, our contest sponsors

The winner of the competition is Caroline Rannard from Australia, with her story “Postmarked Reykjavík”. Continue reading

Win a spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat 2020!

Win a spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat 2020!
We have partnered with the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel to offer one person a free spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat in April-May 2020.  The winner will receive admission to all events for the Iceland Writers Retreat, as well as four nights accommodation at the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel.*
The deadline to submit an entry is 23:59 (GMT) Monday, December 16, 2019. There is no fee to enter. The deadline to enter this competition has now passed. We will announce the winner via our newsletter and social media on January 13, 2020.

Continue reading

Win a spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat 2019!

Win a spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat 2019!
We’ve once again partnered with Iceland Travel to offer one person a free spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat in April 2019.  The winner will receive the Complete Package, including a free hotel stay, tours, most meals, and all workshops for the duration of the event, from 3 to 7 April, 2019.*
The deadline to submit an entry is 23:59 (GMT) Monday, December 17, 2018. There is no fee to enter.
The deadline to submit an entry has now passed. We will announce the winner on January 14, 2019.

Continue reading

Win a spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat 2019!

Win a spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat 2019!
We’ve once again partnered with Iceland Travel to offer one person a free spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat in April 2019.  The winner will receive the Complete Package, including a free hotel stay, tours, most meals, and all workshops for the duration of the event, from 3 to 7 April, 2019.*
The deadline to submit an entry is 23:59 (GMT) Monday, December 17, 2018. There is no fee to enter. Click here to enter.

Continue reading

Our writing competition winner is announced!

Our writing competition winner is announced!

For the fourth year in a row, we have partnered with Iceland Travel to run a competition to win a spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat. This year’s theme was “Waterfalls” and we received 350 submissions from the around the world.

The winner of the competition is Jackie Taylor from the UK, with her story “The Words Don’t Sit Easily”. Continue reading

Win a spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat!

Win a spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat!
We’ve once again partnered with Iceland Travel to offer one person a free spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat in April 2018.  The winner will receive the full retreat package, including a free hotel stay, tours, most meals, and all workshops for the duration of the event, from 11 to 15 April, 2018.*
The deadline to submit an entry is 23:59 (GMT) Sunday, November 12, 2017. There is no fee to enter. Click here to enter.

Continue reading

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