2020 Prize Winner: Graham Barnhart, Poet

headshot of Graham Barnhart in front of a brick wall

A US Army veteran, Graham Barnhart is the recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, a Pushcart Prize, The Iowa Review’s Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans, and the Beloit Poetry Journal’s Chad Walsh Poetry Prize. He has also received support from The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and Writing Workshops in Greece. He holds an M.F.A. in poetry from The Ohio State University and a B.A. in English from Allegheny College. His work has recently appeared in 32 Poems, The Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, and others. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at The University of North Texas.

In his first collection of poems, The War Makes Everyone Lonely, Barnhart explores themes of memory, trauma, and isolation. Through forms ranging from conventional lyrics and narrative verse to prose poems, Barnhart displays a strange, quiet power as he engages in the pursuit of wonder, even while in the fraught space of the war zone.

Spring 2020 Events

Tuesday, March 3rd: Poetry Reading, 7:00 pm, Kathy Cashen Hall, Humanities Building

Tuesday March 10th: The Other Night School Special Event, 6:00 pm, Carnegie Library, Newnan

About the Prize

The Blackwell Prize in Writing, administered by SOTA, honors a writer who exhibits exceptional talent on the printed page, as well as meaningful social commitments on the public stage.


The award is funded by The Blackwell Charitable Trust of Newnan, Georgia. Additional resources and funding come from the School of the Arts, University of West Georgia, and the Newnan Artist-in-Residence Program (Newnan ArtRez).


The Blackwell Prize in Writing comes with an honorarium of $10,000, making it one of the largest—if not the single largest—literary prizes in the South. The prize is set up in a unique way: to celebrate literary achievements, the winner receives a check for $7,500. The remaining $2,500 of the prize money goes toward providing the writer's books to students, educators, and friends throughout the West Georgia area.

Previous Award Winners: