Julian Randall, a second-year student in the master of fine arts creative writing program at the University of Mississippi, has been selected as the winner of the 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Prize from the Brooklyn, New York-based Cave Canem Foundation. The nonprofit organization was founded by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady in 1996 to remedy the underrepresentation and isolation of African American poets in the literary landscape.
“The Cave Canem Prize is literally my dream prize and my favorite book prize, the only prize for which I own every single book that has ever won it,” Randall said. “For this to happen, to have my name alongside books I have wept over, aspired towards, that have launched careers that have made so much of my poetics possible, it’s beyond surreal.”
Randall will receive a cash award and will have his poetry collection Refuse published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2018. He is a graduate of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, where he majored in English, Black studies, and education.