Alternating Current is dedicated to nurturing and promoting the independent press and its authors. We proudly honor our authors with three annual writing awards, The Luminaire Award for Best Prose, The Luminaire Award for Best Poetry, and The Charter Oak Award for Best Historical.

Lu•min•aire: \ˌlü-mə-ˈner\ n. Complete lighting unit, consisting of one or more lamps (bulbs or tubes that emit light), along with the socket and other parts that hold the lamp in place and protect it, wiring that connects the lamp to a power source, and a reflector that helps direct and distribute the light[1]. In other words, the biggest and brightest. The whole kit and caboodle that outshines all the rest. That’s exactly what we hope to find here at Alternating Current.

The Luminaire Award is awarded annually on May 15th to one work of poetry and one work of prose that has been submitted to and published by Alternating Current. There is no separate application process. All works submitted to Alternating Current are considered for the award and for publication, and we welcome readers to let us know where we can find outstanding work of merit so that we may invite those authors to submit their work to us, as well.

The winning pieces will receive print publication in our annual journal, Poiesis; publication as the winners with the authors’ names and the pieces printed on our website; two complimentary copies each of the Poiesis print journal with the winning pieces indicated with our medallion imprint; certificates; laser-engraved standing desk awards; $100 honorariums; and our virtual medallion with permission for use on the authors’ websites and/or any published book or online outlet where the piece is contained.

Two Honorable Mention winners in each category will receive print publication in our annual journal, Poiesis; publication as the Honorable Mention winners with the authors’ names and the pieces printed on our website; one complimentary copy of the Poiesis print journal with the winning pieces indicated in the acknowledgments; and certificates.

Alternating Current is pleased to present a select panel of editors, publishers, writing instructors, literary organization members, and/or published authors who are invited by our press to participate in the blind judging process to select the winning pieces each year. The winners are announced with the annual release of each issue of Poiesis on May 15th and are notified via email on that day. The judging process consists of all Alternating Current editors deciding on the top pieces for the finalist round. Those pieces are then sent blindly to the external judging panel, and the top three pieces in each category are determined by those judges via a ranking system. The judges’ decisions are final. For fairness, Alternating Current editors or affiliated members are not eligible to compete for the award, and Alternating Current editors do not determine the final outcome.

Special thanks and acknowledgment to Devin Byrnes and SuA of Hardly Square, for their creativity in designing our annual medallion imprint. Hardly Square is a strategy-, branding-, and design-based boutique located in Baltimore, Maryland, that specializes in graphic design, web design, and eLearning courses. Their invaluable design expertise has made our annual awards come to life. Learn more about our medallion designers.



[1] Concise Encyclopedia.