2021 Megaphone Prize Winner: Zein El-Amine

December 7, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that The 2021 Megaphone Prize has a winner! Author and Guest Judge Deesha Philyaw has picked Is This How You Eat a Watermelon? by author Zein El-Amine as the winning collection of stories.

About the manuscript, Deesha Philyaw said:

“Brimming with both tenderness and boldness, Is This How You Eat a Watermelon? is a powerful, concise collection that had me enthralled from the first story to the last. These richly crafted stories are sometimes humorous, always compelling, meditations on love and passion, cruelty and beauty, and fear and loss during times of war, including the wars raging quietly inside of us.”

The collection is set to be published in 2023.

About the Winning Author

2021 Megaphone Prize Winner: Zein-El Amine

Zein El-Amine is a Lebanese-born poet and writer. He has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Maryland where he taught creative writing, global literature, and led literary study abroad programs to Egypt, Ireland, and Morocco. He presently teaches at Georgetown University, American University, and George Washington University in Washington DC.

His poems have appeared in Wild River Review, Folio, Beltway Quarterly, Foreign Policy In Focus, CityLit, Graylit, Split This Rock, and Penumbra. His works have been anthologized in DC Poets Against The War: An Anthology, Ghostfishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology, and will be included in an upcoming anthology of love poems by Arab poets, edited by New York poet Hala Alyan. His latest poetry manuscript A Travel Guide for the Exiled was recently shortlisted for the Bergman Prize, judged by Louise Glück, and longlisted by Steel Toe Books Poetry Contest.

His short stories have appeared in Uno Mas, Jadaliyya, Middle East Report, Wild River Review, About Place Journal, and Bound Off.

Zein was recently awarded a writing residency at the Blue Mountain Center where he completed his first short story collection.


We also want to congratulate the authors that made it to the shortlist of the prize:

Rabbit Moon by Alicia Fuhrman

Alicia Fuhrman was born on the West coast and raised on the East. She holds an MFA in fiction from UMass Amherst’s Program for Poets and Writers and is a current PhD in fiction at Ohio University, where she is writing her first novel. Rabbit Moonwill be her debut short story collection.

Still at Sea by Rhea Dhanbhoora

​​Rhea lives and writes in Upstate New York. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in various publications including Chronogram, Peripheries Journal, Capsule Stories, The Spill, and JMWW. She’s an editor at NutriSense and is on the Board for the literary organization, Quiet Lightning. This linked collection of stories is based in the same Parsi Zoroastrian diaspora as her debut chapbook, Sandalwood-Scented Skeletons, which is now available for pre-order. Follow her work at rheadhanbhoora.com.

Gibraltar by Dominiqua Dickey

Dominiqua Dickey is the author of “God’s Gonna Trouble the Water,” featured in the critically acclaimed Mississippi Noir. She is a contributor in Detecting the South: The Intersections of Film Noir, the Detective Genre, and the Southern Imaginary. She received an MFA from The University of Mississippi and a fellowship from the New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College. She teaches at her alma mater, UCLA, and is currently revising a novel that explores the South, race and gender relations.