The Tamaqua Award for a Collection of Essays

Tamaqua Coal Mine in Washington Twp.

We would like to congratulate Cameron Walker of Santa Barbara, California, who is our inaugural winner of the Tamaqua Award, for her collection of essays, Points of Light. 

For a complete list of semi-finalists, finalists and winner of the Tamaqua Award, please see our announcement.

Hidden River Arts offers The Tamaqua Award, a prize of $1,000 and publication by Hidden River Press, an imprint of Hidden River Publishing, for an original collection of essays. Previous publication of individual essays is acceptable, as long as you include the list of the published essays, the journals and magazines where they appeared, and certify that the publication rights have reverted to you, as author.

The submission deadline for the next award cycle is October 31, 2022.

As with all our awards, the name of the award links us to the history of the area which is now in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, along the banks of the Schuylkill River and its many tributaries.  This is complex and many-layered history which begins with the indigenous tribes of the region, the Six Nations, the Delaware, the Shawnee and the Shamokin people.

The Tamaqua Award is named after the Tamaqua River (now called the Little Schuylkill River) and the Tamaqua Borough of Pennsylvania, which lies within the southern coal region of the Appalachian Mountains in the Schuylkill River drainage basin, just off the western end of the Pocono Mountains. A region known during the height of the industrial age for its anthracite mining history and its renown as a railway hub, the decline of those industries connects Tamaqua’s economic history to that of other small industrial towns and cities throughout the U.S., where we see the hard-scrabble lives of once thriving, now hollowed-out communities.

Before the economic collapse, the mining industry in the Tamaqua region was a catalyst for mass migration to the area.  Immigrants from Eastern Europe moved into the region: Poles, Hungarians, Lithuanians, Slovaks, Russians and Ukrainians.  Even today, this area is home to the highest number of Lithuanians in the United States.  (If you think of the film “Deer Hunter,” which portrayed such a town, set in the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania, you’ll have a general idea of the kinds of communities we are talking about.)

The Tamaqua Award for a collection of essays is looking for a collection that mines deep in its search for the truth of the human experience, essays that go beyond safe boundaries to discover deep realities.  The history and realities of Tamaqua are, in many ways, archetypal histories; they are woven histories of many peoples and many lives. Stories of nature v. industry.  Of boom, bust and devastation.  Stories of the unending sweep of human history.  These are stories that can be found in any part of the world, of course.  This is the kind of richness we are looking for in submissions to the Tamaqua Award — stories that mine the world for the deep, primordial truths.

The deadline for all manuscript submissions is October 31, 2022.

Entry fee: $20 US. This competition is open to international submissions for all writers in English. We accept simultaneous submissions, and ask only that you notify us immediately if your book has been accepted for publication elsewhere. We also accept multiple submissions. Each submission must be made separately.

All submissions must include name, address, telephone number, email, website (if you have one), a brief biography, full synopsis, outline and full manuscript (in that order). Submissions that do not include all the required materials will not be read. Online submissions through Submittable are required. Please note that, when submitting online, all materials must be combined into ONE document before uploading.

All awards are decided by Hidden River staff, and decisions are final. The semi-finalists, finalists and winner will be announced on this blog, so please be sure to bookmark us to keep up-to-date on our progress.

Submit your work here.