The First-Book Scholarship 

In an effort to support equality and accessibility within literary publishing, Gasher Press is pleased to offer a $250 scholarship to an emerging poet currently submitting their first-book manuscript to help cover the submission costs for contests and open reading periods. 

The 2022 First-Book Scholarship submission form is open until July 29th!

To submit:

  • Please include in the title of the submission the manuscript's title.

  • The manuscript must be at least 48pgs of poetry.

  • Please include an author bio in the indicated field.

  • You may only submit one entry per submission period. All other entries will be disqualified regardless of withdrawing previous submissions.

  • Writers must not have published a full-length collection at the time of submission, including self-published books. (chapbooks are okay.)

  • The writer must reside in the United States at the time of submission.

  • This is a blind reading. Please DO NOT include any identifying material on your manuscript. DO NOT include an acknowledgments page. Those who do not remove this information from their submission will be disqualified.

2021 Winners


Ae Hee Lee_Profile_Grayscale.jpg

GASHER Journal is pleased to announce Ae Hee Lee as the winner of the 2021 First-Book Scholarship in the category of poetry for her manuscript Asterism.

Born in South Korea and raised in Peru, Ae Hee is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Dear bear, (Platypus Press, 2021) and Bedtime || Riverbed (Compound Press, 2017). Most recently, her work Connotary was selected as the winner for the 2021 Frost Place Chapbook Competition by Tiana Clark. She holds an MFA from the University of Notre Dame and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming at Poetry Northwest, The Georgia Review, New England Review, and Southern Review, among others. 

What our selection board had to say about Asterism:

"Asterism complicates the notion of multiculturalism through simultaneously meditative and gut-wrenching interrogations of selfhood against a backdrop of repeated societal misunderstandings. This collection’s linguistic, historical, and place-based excavations of an identity caught in the interstices of culture will resonate with anyone who has ever wondered, 'Do I belong?'"

"[Asterism] combines the themes of immigration, origin, food, assimilation, and etymology with tight, controlled writing. The manuscript is bold in its use of self-portrait and has demonstrable strength in sustaining poems both lengthy and experimental."

A list of finalists as well as the editorial board for this year's scholarship are listed below.


Catherine Valdez, Apocalypse and Other Gardens

E.B. Schnepp, yolk if you’re hungry

Brett Salsbury, Surrender Dorothy

JSA Lowe, Internet Girls



Livia Meneghin, Care is an Incision

Sean Cho A., Sonnet Studies

Gnaomi Siemens, The Errant

Selection Committee

Dani Putney

Remi Recchia 

Alysse McCanna

Liz McGehee

Lucy Zhang


GASHER Journal is pleased to announce Lucy Zhang as the winner of the 2021 First-Book Scholarship in the category of prose for her manuscript Hollowed.

Lucy Zhang writes, codes and watches anime. Her work has appeared in DIAGRAM, Three-Lobed Burning Eye, Wax Nine, The Cincinnati Review and elsewhere, and was selected for Best Microfiction 2021 and Best Small Fictions 2021. She edits for Barren Magazine, Heavy Feather Review and Pithead Chapel. Find her at or on Twitter @Dango_Ramen. 

What our selection board had to say about Hollowed:

"A standout manuscript, Hollowed displays facility with loaded descriptions that seem simple, but suddenly you look down and you're holding a blade. This writer cuts through the clutter to arrange precise, evocative prose that sticks to your ribs."

"Hollowed is propelled by really lean and muscular prose that's sure of itself and immediately compelling. The format for each story is really excellent, and I felt confident that this is an author who knows just how long a story wants to be. I found the narrative voice to be really measured and rhythmic in a way that made the worldbuilding feel clear even when we were led into ambiguous territory."

A list of finalists, as well as the editorial board for this year's scholarship, are listed below.


TJ Butler,  Dating Silky Maxwell

CT Marie, Trains


Phillip Mandel,  Hunting Season For Wolves In Pennsylvania

Kendall Jeffreys,  Yellow Leaves

Selection Committee

Héctor Ramírez 

Courtney Lund

Natalie Sharp

Lisa Wright

Past Winners

2019 Winner:



2020 Winner:

Sam Ferrante, No More Odes to My Mouth