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The Center @ Miami Dade College Celebrates its 10th Anniversary by Launching New Paz Prize for Poetry

Peace Prize for Poetry

Miami, February 6, 2012 - The Center @ Miami Dade College (MDC), in collaboration with The National Poetry Series, has announced the establishment of The Paz Prize for Poetry. This nationwide contest celebrates poetry, and marks The Center’s 10th anniversary, which will be commemorated throughout the year with a variety of special and dynamic events. 

Named in honor of the late Nobel Prize-winning poet, Octavio Paz, the annual award will recognize a previously unpublished poetry book written in Spanish by a poet residing in the U.S. The winning book will be published in a bilingual edition by Akashic Press, and its author will receive a $500 cash prize.

“We are very pleased to partner with The National Poetry Series to sponsor The Paz Prize for Poetry,” said Alina Interian, executive director of The Center @ MDC. “In our increasingly diverse nation, poetry in translation is not just desired but necessary. It allows for shared experience across cultures and great understanding, and even more beauty in the world.”

Puerto Rican poet Victor Hernandez Cruz will serve as the first judge. Joining him on the Advisory Board for the prize are Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Cristina Garcia, Campbell McGrath, Pablo Medina, Gary Soto, Ilan Stavans, and Luisa Valenzuela.

“It’s an honor to be working with Alina Interian and her remarkable center at Miami Dade College,” said Daniel Halpern, director of The National Poetry Series. “Our goal is to actively search for manuscripts by poets in America writing original poetry in Spanish – younger and older poets alike.”     

The National Poetry Series was established in 1978 to ensure the publication of poetry books annually through participating publishers. More than 160 books have been awarded since the Series’ inception, and the recent addition of the Robert Fagles Translation Prize. Publication is funded by the Lannan Foundation; Stephen Graham; Joyce & Seward Johnson Foundation; Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds; The Poetry Foundation; Olaf Olafsson, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Newhouse; Jennifer Rubell; The New York Community Trust; Elizabeth Christopherson; and Aristides Georgantas.

The Center for Literature and Theater @ MDC promotes reading, writing and theater at locations throughout South Florida by consistently presenting activities open to all. Literacy projects target children and teens, as well as college students and adults. Its creative writing program has national appeal, and courses are taught by local and visiting authors. The Center produces the annual Miami Book Fair International, regarded as the largest and finest literary gathering in the U.S. It is also home to Prometeo Theatre, the nation's leading Spanish language, conservatory-style program offering training for actors, and featuring performances throughout the year. In 2012, the Center celebrates its 10th year with a renewed commitment to the advancement of literary and theater arts.

The 2012 submission period for the inaugural Paz Prize in Poetry will be May 1 through June 15. The first winner will be published in October 2013. For complete guidelines, please visit, or


Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,

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