Winners of First Dan’s Papers $6,000 Literary Prize for Nonfiction Awarded


Dan’s Papers is pleased to announce that James Keith Phillips is the winner of the first Dan’s Papers $6,000 Literary Prize for Nonfiction. The award ceremony took place at The John Drew Theater at Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York this weekend in front of a packed house. James Keith Phillips’ winning essay was called “Magic Shirts.” The two runners up were Jean Ely for “Waiting For The Ferry” and Susan Cohen for “Littoral Drifter.”

Cohen and Ely each received a $500 prize. Phillips, who is a member of the Shinnecock Nation, received $5000. More than 400 entries of short nonfiction (600 to 1500 words) were entered in this contest, which required entrants to reference the East End of Long Island in a meaningful way. Dan Rattiner, the founder and editor in chief of Dan’s Papers, opened the event by noting that for the last 25 years, Dan’s Papers has showcased artists on the cover of the publication, and now wants to give a similar honor to showcase the writers. 

The awards ceremony featured a speech by best-selling author Robert Caro, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes and the National Book Award for his biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson. Caro was also the Honorary Chair of the 2012 Dan’s Papers Prize for Nonfiction.

“As far as we know this is the first literary prize ever offered on the eastern end of Long Island for short literary nonfiction,” he said. 

Len Riggio, Chairman of Barnes & Noble, presented the trophy to the winner of the event and spoke at length before doing so. He spoke about the power of regular, everyday people as writers; being impressed with the quality of the entries to the contest; and how he looks forward to this award’s continuing into the future.

After the presentation, the winning entry was read aloud by Emmy Award winning broadcast journalist Pia Lindstrom

The judges for the first year competition were as follows: Martin Shepard of The Permanent Press, author Chris Knopf, radio personality Bonnie Grice, book reviewer Joan Baum, editor Elise D’Haene, and Jim Marquardt, the Chairman of Marquardt and Roche Advertising, along with Len Riggio of Barnes & Noble.

Dan’s Papers will publish the three winning entries in Dan’s Papers and online.

All submissions that were entered in the contest will be posted in the fall on the website to comprise the 2012 Dan’s Papers Literary Journal. 

For more information about Dan’s Papers $6,000 Literary Prize for Nonfiction please contact: [email protected]