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2021 Krause Essay Prize Nominees Announced

Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, winner of 2020 Krause Essay Prize

Judging just wrapped up for the 2021 Krause Essay Prize, made possible through the generous support of the Kyle J. and Sharon Krause Family Foundation. 

Founded in 2006 with the encouragement of the late essayists David Foster Wallace and Guy Davenport, the Krause Essay Prize is awarded each year to the work that best exemplifies the art of essaying. Open to projects in any genre, medium, or form, the Krause Essay Prize stretches the definition of “essaying” in order to celebrate work that is defined by what it does—the activity that it engages in—rather than what it is. 

Nominations for the Prize are made each year by an ever-changing committee of twelve to fifteen writers, filmmakers, radio producers, visual artists, critics, editors, and readers. The nominations are then explored, challenged, and ultimately judged by NWP students in the semester-long graduate course The Essay Prize. The Nonfiction Writing Program will announce the winner of the 2021 Krause Essay Prize this fall.


The 2021 Krause Essay Prize Nominees 


Above Us the Milky Way (Deep Vellum) by Fowzia Karimi

“Certain Unflattering Truths” (The Baffler) by Jennifer Schaffer 

“Crying, Laughing, Crying, at the George Floyd Protests in Minneapolis” (New Yorker) by Danez Smith  

Glitter Up the Dark: How Pop Music Broke the Binary (UT Press) by Sasha Geffen 

How To With John Wilson: “Small Talk” (HBO) 

Leave to Remain (Dalkey Archive) by Thalia Field and Abigail Lang

“The Lives Upended by a $20 Cheeseburger” (Washington Post) by Jessica Contrera 

“My Mustache, Myself” (New York Times Magazine) by Wesley Morris 

Riding With the Ghost: A Memoir (Penguin) by Justin Taylor         

Stranger Faces (Transit Books) by Namwali Serpell

Trans Care (University of Minnesota Press) by Hil Malatino 

Whatever Man (Dirty Hit) by the Blackstar Kids


The winner of the 2021 Krause Essay Prize, selected in May by a group of NWP students, will be announced this fall. Recipients receive a $10,000 cash prize and a handmade walnut letter box inscribed with their name and the title of their winning essay. For more information about the Prize, visit