Artes de México en Utah is running their seventh annual Sor Juana Prize for Poems & Short Stories in Spanish with a deadline of May 20, 2019. There is no fee to enter. Their mission is to promote the appreciation of Mexican art in Utah with a vision of a community united by cultural connections. The organization was formed in 2010 after seeing how an exhibit of Mexican art united our communities (Latino and nonLatino) during a politically divisive time. (Utah is 13% Latino, but 33-45% in some urban cities; nearly 80% of our 400,000+ Latinos are of Mexican origin.)
Rock Canyon Poets co-founder, Trish Hopkinson interviewed Fanny Blauer, Board Chair to learn more about the Sor Juana Prize. See the interview and contest guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about Sor Juana Prize for Poems and Short Stories. How/why was the contest originally started?
BLAUER: The prize is named after Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, O.S.H. (1651-95), a 17th Century Mexican nun who was one of the most brilliant intellectuals, poets and playwrights of her time and beyond. Sor Juana’s work is consistently taught in schools and universities throughout the Spanish speaking world. You can read more about her and her work here on Poets.org and here on PoetryFoundation.org.
Artes de México en Utah established the prize on 2012 based on the suggestion of Salt Lake City resident Jesús García, whose native Chicago has a Sor Juana Festival each year to celebrate the life and works of this poet. The Utah Humanities Council agreed to make it part of its annual Book Festival. “Every October, people all over Utah celebrate literature at the Utah Humanities Council’s Book Festival,” “Since so many people in Utah speak Spanish or are learning Spanish, we thought that including a prize for original literature written in Spanish in the Utah Book Festival would be a great way to encourage writers of Utah’s second most widely-spoken language.”
In 2018, we partnered with the Community Writing Center to set annual poetry workshops. We also launched our Call for Artist contest in which participants are encouraged to produce a piece of art inspired in poetry. This year, the contest theme is: Our roots, our inspiration. Which is to acknowledge the indigenous languages in the world.
“Sor Juana was nicknamed ‘The 10th Muse’ during her time because of her ingenuity in poetry, philosophy, music and the sciences. She was also known for defending the rights of women and minorities, for whom she continues to be a role model today.”
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
BLAUER: Entries by adults and teens in high school who live within the state of Utah will be accepted.
The prizes are an original poem or short story from authors in the following categories:
- Category I: Author who speaks Spanish as a primary language
- Category II: Author who speaks Spanish as a second language
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
BLAUER: Last year we received about 100 submissions of which 20 were only prose. We would like to see more of this. Some of the prose we received was very engaging and powerful.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals/web sites that publish poems/short stories?
BLAUER: In Spanish, many pages including:
HOPKINSON: Where can writers/poets send contest entries?
BLAUER: For details of the contest in Spanish and English, check our website:
The contest is also published in Facebook, twitter, and Instagram. Find us as Artes de Mexico en Utah.
The contest is open now until May 20th 2019. The announcement of winners will take place in October 2019.
Fanny Blauer is from Mexico City. She is an accountant and works at the Natural History Museum of Utah. Fanny attended many events of Artes de Mexico en Utah and, in the fall of 2014, fomented a partnership between us and the Natural History Museum on an exhibit about chocolate. Prior to joining the board of Artes, she also created a partnership with Artes and Amigos y Libros, a club of the Salt Lake City Public Library that promotes reading in Spanish. She joined the board in winter of 2014. Fanny also serves on the Governance Committee.