WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT: NASRA and Jessica Johns share the 2019 bpNichol Chapbook Award!

Joint win for the $4,000 bpNichol Chapbook Award: NASRA and Jessica Johns



Celebrating more than 30 years of recognizing excellence in Canadian poetry chapbooks

TORONTO – November 16, 2019 – The Meet the Presses Collective announced today that two chapbooksA God Dance in Human Cloth by NASRA (Glass Buffalo Press) and How Not to Spill by Jessica Johns (Rahila’s Ghost Press)—have jointly won the 2019 bpNichol Chapbook Award. At $4000 total, donated by an anonymous donor, this is the richest annual literary award for a poetry chapbook. Thanks to generous annual donations from Michael Dean and Karl Jirgens, the publishers of the winning works, Glass Buffalo Press and Rahila’s Ghost Press, both receive prizes as well.

The prize was awarded at the 2019 Indie Literary Market, held at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre in Toronto. The prize awards were announced by Gary Barwin and Terese Pierre with members of the Meet the Presses Collective as a part of the Indie Literary Market festivities. While neither Glass Buffalo nor Rahila’s Ghost representatives, nor the authors, were available to accept the award in Toronto today, the presses shared their excitement over the announcement electronically in communication with the Meet the Presses Collective.

On splitting this year’s prize between two chapbooks and two publishers, Glass Buffalo’s Matthew Stepanic remarked:

“I couldn’t imagine a better press & poet for NASRA & I to share this award with!”

Rahila’s Ghost representative, Curtis LeBlanc, also added:

“We are THRILLED that Jessica Johns’ work is being recognized in this way.”

Rahila’s Ghost has sold out of the physical chapbook of Jessica Johns’ How Not to Spill, but have informed Meet the Presses that an electronic copy will be available on their website following today’s prize announcement. Copies of NASRA’s A God Dance in Human Cloth are available for purchase at Glass Buffalo’s website.

Judges Billy-Ray Belcourt and Canisia Lubrin chose the prize finalists from over 60 submissions from across the country. This year’s other shortlisted poets are:

Unseen Garden – Roxanna Bennett (knife / fork / book)
Let This Be the End of Me – JC Bouchard (Bad Books)
How Not to Spill – Jessica Johns (Rahila’s Ghost)
A God Dance in Human Cloth – NASRA (Glass Buffalo)
Year of Saving Self – ramma safeer (Rahila’s Ghost)

About the Prize:

Awarded annually since its establishment in 1985, the bpNichol Chapbook Award goes to the author of the best poetry chapbook – a collection of no more than 48 pages – published in Canada in the previous year. The award is named in honour of the late poet, novelist, and micropress publisher bpNichol, who was the original co-judge of the award 30 years ago.

About Meet the Presses:

Meet the Presses is a volunteer literary collective devoted to organizing public events showcasing the work of independent publishers of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. The Indie Literary Market is a curated event that introduces the public to independent literary publishers and authors of books, chapbooks, magazines, broadsheets, and recordings that are largely not available in bookstores. The Collective is proud to administer the bpNichol Chapbook Award each year, supporting those who make the artistic choice to publish in chapbook form.

For more information and interview opportunities, contact:

Dani Spinosa,

More information can be found at and