John Colburn, “the western story”

Mariana Enriquez, “Angelita Unearthed” (translated by Megan McDowell)

Leah Newsom, “The Harriet Kent Museum and Archive”

Alyssa Quinn, “Cityscape”

Jonathan Wlodarski, “Passion Bearer”


Nichole LeFebvre, “Theory of Harmony”

L. I. Henley, “Insect Woman”

Adam Szetela, “Ordinary Boys”


Andrew Bode-Lang, “Tonight’s Moon, Yesterday’s Snow”

Michael Chang, “wow you are a lot of *throat*”
“guess who’s coming to dinner at 38 oxley road,”
“vitamin D diptych”

James D’Agostino, “The Goldfinch Caution Tapes”
“Out into the Worldness I Did Roam”

J. Bailey Hutchinson, “Eat”

Kasey Jueds, “Body of Water”

Clare Paniccia, “My Groom as the Chandelier at Caz’s Bar in Tulsa, Oklahoma”

Alison Pelegrin, “Sucker”

Carl Phillips, “Forever”
“The Gods Close Ranks”

Barbara Saunier, “Dominion”

Adam Tavel, “Neighbor”

Lynne Thompson, “The Day My Brothers Met Malcolm X,”

Jackie Braje, “Carol Arranges the Bodies”

John Gallaher, “Un- (Architecture 86)”
“Running (Architecture 80)”

Connor Yeck, “Lake Effect”
“I Want to Touch the Faces of Thos Projected Steermen”

2020 Literary Awards

Danielle P. Williams (poetry), “A Walk on June 19th”

Anna Genevieve Winham (creative nonfiction), “my mother // itch”

Alida Dean (fiction), “The Off Season”

Illinois Emerging Writers/Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize

(sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book)

Elizabeth Hagenlocher, “Object Permanence” (1st Place)

Brett Pinkerton, “Elegy for Quentin Compson” (2nd Place)

Michael A. Keeton, “on Green Dolphin Street (Coltrane Paris 3.21.1960) (3rd Place)

Where We’re At

K. James D’Agostino, “Illinois Trails: A Meditation in Midwestern Beer”

Azlan Smith, “In the Middle”


Yoko O. Kikuchi (website:; Instagram: @yoko-okay


Editor: Jodee Stanley

Creative Nonfiction Editor: Ted Sanders

Poetry Editor: Corey Van Landingham

Template Design: Natalie F. Smith

Illustrations: Alixandra Shuger

Assistant Editors: K. James D’Agostino, Aumaine Gruich, Erich Slimak

Editorial Assistants: Amanda Bales, Liz Harms, Drew Jennings, S. G. Maldonado-Vélez,, Jason Nafziger, Emmilea O’Toole, Elizabeth Pearl, Cole Piedimonte, Kent Quaney, Alixandra Shuger, Azlan Smith, Chris Vanjonack, Isaac Willis

Editor-at-Large: Philip Graham

Advisory Board: Amy Sayre Baptista, Traci Brimhall, James Brunton, Lindsey Drager, Matthew Minicucci, Marcus Wicker

Support at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Department of English

Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities

Individual Sponsors


Delysa Burnier

Richard Connor
Alma Gottlieb & Philip Graham
Sarah Knox, M.D.

John Hall, M.D.

Rev. Charles Matz.

Ninth Letter is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council.