January 19, 2015


City of Asylum today announced that Lori Jakiela, a poet and memoirist, has won the 2015 City of Asylum/Pittsburgh Prize. Previous prize winners include Terrance Hayes (2011) and Román Antopolsky (2013).

Jakiela was chosen from a pool of writer-applicants, residents of Western Pennsylvania aged 30 and over, who have published at least one full-length book of poetry, fiction, or non-fiction. The 2015 City of Asylum/Pittsburgh prize consists of a month-long, all-expenses-paid writing residency in Brussels, Belgium. Applications were judged by Chuck Kinder, the celebrated author of Snakehunters and Honeymooners: A Cautionary Tale.
The Prize is part of City of Asylum’s Bridges initiative, which will create a number of international writer residencies for Western Pennsylvania writers. This residency is a collaboration with the Belgian literary organization, Het beschrijf, and is hosted at the Passa Porta literary center in Brussels.
In selecting Jakiela, Chuck Kinder stated, “While I found many pleasures in quite a few of the entries, I kept returning with delight and excitement to the writing sample in Lori Jakiela’s application.”
“I’m pleased and proud to announce Lori Jakiela has won our 2015 prize,” said Henry Reese, Co-founder and President of City of Asylum. “We received many impressive and eminently well-qualified applications, which included poetry, prose, and drama. Jakiela’s dedication to her craft means that she will be able to use her residency in Belgium to her artistic advantage, but I also feel that she reflects well on the literary community of our city and represents the values of City of Asylum in a special way.”


About Lori Jakiela
Lori Jakiela is the author of the memoirs The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious (C&R Press) and Miss New York Has Everything (Hatchette), as well as the poetry collection Spot the Terrorist (Turning Point). Her limited-edition poetry chapbooks include The Regulars (Liquid Paper Press/winner of The Nerve Cowboy Chapbook competition); The Mill Hunk’s Daughter Meets the Queen of Sky (Finishing Line); and Red Eye (Pudding House).
Her third memoir—Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe—is forthcoming from Atticus Books in 2015.
Her writing has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Quarterly, The Rumpus, Brevity, Superstition Review, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Fourth River and more. Her work has been widely anthologized in textbooks, most recently in Short Takes (Elizabeth Penfeld, editor); The Truth of the Matter (Dinty Moore, editor); Keep it Real (Lee Gutkind, editor); and Between Song and Story: Essays for the 21st Century (Sheryl St. Germain and Margaret Whitford, editors).
She has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize many times, is the recipient of a Golden Quill award for column writing from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, performed at Lollapalooza and won the first-ever Literary Death Match/Pittsburgh.
A former flight attendant and journalist, Jakiela now teaches writing. She received the Alumni Association’s Outstanding Faculty Award from The University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg, where she is an associate professor of English in the undergraduate Creative and Professional Writing Program. She also teaches in the graduate writing program at Chatham University and co-directs the summer writing festival at Chautauqua Institution.
She lives outside of Pittsburgh with her husband—author Dave Newman—and their family.
She occasionally blogs about writing and other stuff she likes at Stuff I Like, Stuff I Write.
Her author blog is http://lorijakiela.net.



About City of Asylum
Founded in 2004, City of Asylum is a model for arts-based community development, bringing writers, readers and neighbors together through global literature and cultural exchange. Located on Sampsonia Way in Pittsburgh’s Northside, City of Asylum’s campus of redeveloped houses serve both as homes for exiled writers and as public artworks. It has presented more than 250 authors and musicians from 42 countries in free readings and concerts. Sampsonia Way, the publishing arm of City of Asylum, specializes in banned books in translation and anthologies of contemporary writing from countries where free speech is under threat; SampsoniaWay.org, its online journal of free speech, literature, and justice serves as a virtual home for persecuted writers and serves a growing global audience online.






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