Announcing The Adroit Journal’s 2020 Djanikian Scholars!

In honor of the contributions renowned poet Gregory Djanikian (b. 1949) has made to the field and study of literature, The Adroit Journal is proud to announce the third class of Gregory Djanikian Scholars in Poetry—six exciting, emerging poets we should all be watching. All emerging poets who have not published full-length collections were eligible for submission—regardless of age, geographic location, and educational status.

Selected from a competitive pool of international applicants, Djanikian Scholars will receive cash prizes and publication. A complete list of this year’s winners, finalists, and semifinalists is available online:

The 2020 class of Gregory Djanikian Scholars in Poetry includes Bryan Byrdlong (of Ann Arbor, MI), Steven Duong (of San Diego, CA), Sara Elkamel (of Brooklyn, NY), Matthew Gellman (of Brooklyn, NY), Ae Hee Lee (of Milwaukee, WI), and Gabriella R. Tallmadge (of Murrieta, CA). More information about each scholar is available below.

We couldn’t be more excited about each unique, vibrant voice we’re fortunate enough to recognize this year. Each of these writers brings an undeniable fire to the page, and we can’t wait to see what they’ll write next.

Finalists for the 2020 Djanikian Scholars class include Imani Davis (of Philadelphia, PA), Chelsea B. DesAutels (of Minneapolis, MN), Jacob Lindberg (of Victoria, MN), Zach Linge (of Tallahassee, FL), Emily Luan (of Brooklyn, NY), and Sahar Romani (of Jackson Heights, NY). Finalists will each receive Djanikian’s latest collection, as well as publication.

Semifinalists include Jessica Abughattas (of Altadena, CA), Kiran Bath (of New York, NY), Daniel Barnum (of Columbus, OH), Stephanie Chang (of British Columbia, Canada), Amanda Gunn (of Cambridge, MA), C.X. Hua (of Brooklyn, NY), Hannah Perrin King (of Cool, CA), and Max McDonough (of New York, NY).

About the 2020 Djanikian Scholars

Bryan Byrdlong is a Haitian/African-American writer from Chicago, Illinois. In high school, Bryan was fortunate enough to be a part of Chicago’s Louder than a Bomb poetry slam competition. He recently graduated from Vanderbilt University, where he received an undergraduate English/Creative Writing degree and was the co-recipient of the Merrill Moore Award for Poetry. Most recently, his poem ‘,JENTRƏFƏˈKĀSH(Ə)N’ was published in the Nashville Review. He is currently an MFA candidate studying poetry at the Helen Zell Writer’s Program and a 2019 recipient of the Meader Family Award for Poetry from the University of Michigan’s Hopwood Program.

Steven Duong is an American writer. A Thomas J. Watson Fellow, he is currently conducting a yearlong writing project titled “Freshwater Fish and the Poetry of Containment,” which has, so far, taken him to Malawi, China, and Thailand. His poems appear in PleiadesPassages North, Salt Hill Journal, The Shallow Ends, The Margins, and other places. He grew up in San Diego, California. Visit him online at, or on Twitter @boneless_koi.

Sara Elkamel is a poet and journalist, living between her hometown, Cairo and New York City. She holds an MA in arts journalism from Columbia University and is currently pursuing an MFA in poetry at New York University. Her writing has appeared and is forthcoming in The Common, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Rumpus, American ChordataWinter Tangerine, Halal If You Here Me (Haymarket Books, 2019), and elsewhere.

Matthew Gellman holds an MFA from Columbia University. His poems are featured in Poetry NorthwestNarrativeThe Common, Lambda Literary’s Poetry Spotlight, Ninth LetterThe Missouri ReviewThe Nashville Review and elsewhere. In 2018, Matthew was the recipient of a Brooklyn Poets fellowship and was included in Narrative‘s “30 below 30” list. He was also a finalist for Narrative‘s Tenth Annual Poetry Prize as well as The Missouri Review‘s Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize. A recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and residencies and scholarships from the Vermont Studio Center and the New York State Summer Writers Institute, Matthew lives in New York, where he teaches at Hunter College and the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Ae Hee Lee was born in South Korea, raised in Peru, and now resides in the U.S. She received her MFA from the University of Notre Dame and is currently a PhD candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming at POETRYNarrativePleiadesDenver Quarterly, and the Journal among others.

Gabriella R. Tallmadge is a Latinx writer and educator from San Diego, California. Her poetry has received awards from the Hedgebrook Writer in Residence Program, the Community of Writers Workshop, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Gabriella’s poems have previously appeared in The Georgia ReviewCrazyhorseGuernicaMid-American Review, and Best New Poets. You can find links to more of her work at

About The Adroit Journal

At its foundation, The Adroit Journal has its eyes focused ahead, seeking to showcase what its global staff of writers sees as the future of poetry, prose, and art. The journal hosts the annual Adroit Prizes for Poetry and Prose, the Gregory Djanikian Scholars Program, and the online Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program.

Featured in Best American Poetry, Pushcart Prizes: Best of the Small Presses, Poetry Daily, Best of the Net, and Best New Poets, and by the New York Times, the Paris Review, Teen Vogue, PBS NewsHour, and NPR, the journal has featured the voices of Terrance Hayes, Arthur Sze, Joanna Klink, D. A. Powell, Edith Pearlman, Jericho Brown, Kim Addonizio, Raymond Antrobus, Victoria Chang, Eve L. Ewing, Lydia Millet, NoViolet Bulawayo, Ocean Vuong, Ned Vizzini, Fatimah Asghar, Danez Smith, and beyond.

For more, visit,, or Please direct any questions or requests to

Peter LaBerge

Peter LaBerge founded The Adroit Journal in 2010, as a high school sophomore. His work appears in Crazyhorse, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review Online, Pleiades, and Tin House, among others. He is the recipient of a 2020 Pushcart Prize.

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