The following students were recognized as the 2020 Giovanni-Steger Poetry Prize winners. Junior creative writing major Elia Chaves won first prize, $1,100, for her poem, “Death: A Vacation.” The second-place prize of $500 was presented to Kathleen Walker, a sophomore creative writing major, for “And & And & And.” First-year biology major Anna Tan was the recipient of the third-place prize, $300, for “I Don’t Need Friends, Just You.” 

Earning honorable mention recognition were: Brandon Alimanestiano, a junior multimedia journalism major, for “Atlantis”; Tessa Batterton, a junior animal and poultry science major, for “Birdwatching”; creative writing senior Nick Hughes for “Aren’t Old Men a Lot Like Old Dogs?”; mathematics senior Nat Nasr for “Piety”; Molly Sayles, a classical studies and civil engineering major, for “Low Tide in Pearisburg”; first-year English major Stephanie Sheets for “Little Bird of the Sea”; and sophomore public relations major Mia Toser for “Just Sixteen.”

The prize was renamed this year to honor University Distinguished Professor of English Nikki Giovanni, who established the competition in 2005 and continues to administer it. 

Department of English faculty members Aileen Murphy and Joe Scallorns serve as co-directors. This year the announcement was made in a video by Giovanni, who read the three winning poems.