Pojangmacha People by Jung Hae Chae is the latest winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize. The book was selected from a submission pool of 750 and a shortlist of 8 manuscripts by Graywolf editors. Chae will receive a $20,000 advance for the book from Graywolf, a $2,000 stipend to support the project, and editorial guidance toward the completion of the manuscript, which Graywolf will publish after its completion.

“It was a clear and unanimous decision to award this year’s prize to Pojangmacha People,” Graywolf associate editor Anni Liu, who managed the selection process, said in a statement. “In essays of memorial and tribute, Chae also relates abuse, addiction, assault, and mental health in Asian and Asian American communities, and does so with candor, tenderness, and lyricism.”

Calling the book “rich in sensory detail and alive with spiritual and intergenerational memory,” Graywolf said that “Pojangmacha People deeply explores the idea of matrilineal inheritance of ‘han’ in the Korean diaspora...[and] centers the lives of ‘ordinary’ Korean women...who take action as the makers of their own fortunes, even when they’re thwarted by the oppressive forces that have affected them and generations before them.”

The Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize was designed to “honor and encourage the art of literary nonfiction” and given to an outstanding manuscript by an emerging author who has published no more than two previous books of nonfiction.” The most recent prizewinner, Lars Horn’s Voice of the Fish, was published in June 2022. Among previous winners were The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang and The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison, both of which went on to become bestsellers.