Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize
Presented by Cave Canem
Co-Sponsored by O, Miami Poetry Festival, Jai-Alai Books and The Writer’s Room at The Betsy Hotel

Jai-Alai Books is proud to partner with Cave Canem Foundation, North America’s premier home for Black poetry, to publish the annual Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize. Developed in collaboration with O, Miami Poetry Festival and The Writer’s Room at The Betsy-South Beach, the prize seeks to publish one outstanding chapbook manuscript per year by a black poet, regardless of the poet’s publication history or career status. The winning poet receives $500, publication by Jai-Alai Books, 10 copies of the chapbook, a one-week residency at The Writer’s Room at The Betsy-South Beach Hotel, and a feature reading at the O, Miami Poetry Festival.

Submissions are now open, visit Cave Canem for guidelines and instructions.
The 2019 prize judge is Danez Smith.
The deadline is Monday, September 30, 2019.

Past winners

Rio Cortez, I have learned to define a field as a space between mountains (2015 - Judge: Ross Gay)
Nick Makoha, Resurrection Man (2016 - Judge: Robin Coste Lewis)
Layla Benitez-James, God Suspected My Heart Was a Geode, But He Had to Make Sure (2017 - Judge: Major Jackson)
Mia S. Willis, monster house. (2018 - Judge: Dawn Lundy Martin)

Founded in 1996 by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady to remedy the under-representation and isolation of African American poets in the literary landscape, Cave Canem is a home for the many voices of African American poetry and is committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets. Called "the major watering hole and air pocket for black poetry" by 2011 National Book Award winner Nikky Finney, Cave Canem has grown from an initial gathering of 26 poets to become an influential movement with a renowned faculty and a high-achieving national fellowship of 400. Its programs include an annual week-long retreat, first- and second-book prizes with prestigious presses, Legacy Conversations with pre-eminent black poets and scholars, cross-cultural Poets on Craft talks, a lecture series, writing workshops, publications and national readings. For more information, visit

O, Miami builds literary culture in Miami, FL. In collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, O, Miami produces a visiting writer series, a publishing imprint, a poets-in-the-community workshop program and the O, Miami Poetry Festival, which has the annual goal of ensuring that every person living in Miami-Dade County encounters a poem during the month of April.

Jai-Alai Books, which operates under the non-profit organization O, Miami, is a small press dedicated to the advancement of Miami’s literary identity. Launched in 2014 and a winner of the Knight Arts Challenge (2014 & 2017) from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the press publishes titles in a variety of genres.

Situated at the edge of the Atlantic, The Betsy–South Beach is the host hotel for wide-ranging programs that embrace the richness of global arts and culture. Since opening in 2012, The Betsy Writer’s Room has hosted more than 300 authors, artists and thought leaders, including notable poets W.S. Merwin, Nikky Finney and Robert Haas. The Betsy’s Poetry programs are inspired by the work of mid-century poet Hyam Plutzik, three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and father of Betsy owner Jonathan Plutzik.  For more information, visit and