A Literary Prize in Tribute to One of Medium’s Own

The late great Cai Emmons wants to give you fiction writers an award

Aimee Liu
2 min readJul 15, 2023


Writers tend to be introverts, but we love community. I know. We’re walking contradictions. So be it. I cherish my writer friends, so I was devastated to lose the extraordinarily gifted, funny, and generous Cai Emmons to ALS this year. Others on Medium were, too. She had thousands of followers and admirers HERE.

Cai and I became friends when both of us were starting to write fiction back in the 1980s. We chatted about that for Writers Digest and for Ms and for the LA Review of Books. We formed a longstanding writing group and both went on to publish a variety of novels and stories, which we did our damnedest to help each other promote. We got our MFAs and taught in MFA programs and, though we lived in different states by then, we rejoiced every time we met at writing conferences. But neither of us could have predicted when we met in our 30s that our voices would be united on Cai’s final blog post last December, just days before she died.

Cai adored literature and writing and writers, too. She loved nurturing new literary talent. And that’s why she endowed the Cai Emmons Fiction Award at Red Hen Press. I am beyond honored to be the judge for the inaugural prize, which will be awarded next year.

I’d love for you to win Cai’s prize!

So this is where you come in. You are hereby invited to submit your work for Cai’s award. If you’ve got a novel or collection of literary fiction that’s nearing completion, polish it up and send it to us before the end of this year.

We are looking for a fresh and original book of fiction with a minimum of 150 pages. The winner will receive $5000 and book publication by Red Hen Press.
The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2024, but submissions are open now. More details and your submission button HERE or here:


I can’t wait to read your stories! Good luck!

Aimee Liu is the author of four novels, six nonfiction titles, and too many ghostwritten bestsellers to reveal. Her latest novel is Glorious Boy. Visit her website at aimeeliu.net.

This post is a new installment from MFA Lore, a section for creative writers in her Substack publication Aimee Liu’s Legacy & Lore. If you’re looking for pro-tips to elevate your writing, subscribe HERE, so you can join the ongoing conversation.



Aimee Liu

Author, Asian-American novels (Glorious Boy), nonfiction on eating disorders (Gaining), writing, wellness. Published @Hachette. MFA & more@ aimeeliu.net