Photo of Sarah Balakrishnan
SAN FRANCISCO (September 26, 2022)—The editors of Narrative have awarded Sarah Balakrishnan the 2022 Narrative Prize, bestowed annually for the best work by an emerging writer published in the previous year in Narrative. Balakrishnan earns the prize for her stories “Trump versus Superman” and “Rouses Point.”

In honoring Balakrishnan with the Narrative Prize—which includes funds of $4,000—Narrative cofounder and editor Tom Jenks remarked, “Among the emerging writers whom I’ve been fortunate to encounter in the past forty years, Sarah Balakrishnan is one of the most remarkable. What does one hope to discover in a new writer? Intelligence, heart, wit, compassion, generosity, resourcefulness, flexibility, vision, and song. Balakrishnan displays these gifts amply, in stories about young women on the threshold of finding or losing themselves in the rush of the first grasp of adulthood. It’s a joy and an honor to award her this year’s Narrative Prize.”

Balakrishnan holds a PhD in African history from Harvard University and has been a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge. She is an assistant professor of history at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Her academic work focuses on the imperial encounter in southern Ghana from the fifteenth through the twentieth centuries. Her literary writing is about human relationships, racial tensions, and power. Balakrishnan also won First Place in the 2021 Narrative 30 Below Contest.

The Narrative Prize recognizes writers whose talent and accomplishments place them at the forefront of a new generation of storytellers. Previous winners include Morgan Talty, Tryphena Yeboah, Gbenga Adesina, Brenden Willey, Paisley Rekdal, Javier Zamora, Sara Houghteling, Ocean Vuong, Austin Smith, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Nathan Poole, Natalie Diaz, Kevin A. González, Anthony Marra, Maud Newton, Alexi Zentner, Michael Dickman, Alma García, Saidiya Hartman, Mermer Blakeslee, Ned Parker, Pia Z. Ehrhardt, and Min Jin Lee. See all the winning works here.

Founded in 2003, Narrative, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is dedicated to advancing the literary arts in the digital age by supporting the finest writing talent and encouraging readership across generations, in schools, and around the globe. As the premier digital publisher of first-rank fiction, poetry, essays, and art, each year Narrative publishes hundreds of well-known and emerging writers. The Narrative for Schools program supports teachers and students around the world, who are too often hampered by limited resources, by providing free reading, lesson plans, video tutorials, and the annual Narrative High School Writing Contest to inspire the next generation of readers and writers. Narrative for Schools programming reaches 100,000 students and teachers in schools worldwide—in twenty-eight countries and forty-one states in the US. Narrative was founded on the conviction that there should be no socioeconomic barriers to accessing great literature. Our ever-expanding modern library of thousands of stories, poems, and essays is free to all.

FOR MORE INFORMATION about Narrative, contact editors Tom Jenks and Carol Edgarian.