David Zwirner Books and 826NYC are pleased to announce our first annual student literary prize—awarded together—to Isiah Tamar, a 17-year-old high school senior from Coney Island. Isiah’s poem, In Coney, was selected from a pool of entries submitted from schools across all five boroughs.
Graduating this June from New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities III in Brooklyn, Isiah will receive a summer stipend to work on a portfolio of writing and participate in a special summer publishing program at David Zwirner Books.
Isiah will be working closely together with Lucas Zwirner, Editorial Director of David Zwirner Books, on a portfolio of his own poetry. On July 20th, David Zwirner Books will host a poetry reading event for Isiah in its pop-up bookstore, located in Chelsea. As stated by Lucas Zwirner, “Isiah’s In Coney is first and foremost a wonderfully lyrical and moving response to this year’s prompt, which asked writers to consider and write about a place with special significance to them. What set In Coney apart from other submissions was Isiah’s confident, playful use of language, his subtle experimentation with vernacular, and his ability, amid all the joy in this poem, to address the strange fact that places change, and that even people who seem eternal when we are children fade with time.”
Isiah was introduced to the arts at the age of eight by his late father, who was a poet, photojournalist, and musician who played at the Nuyorican Poets Café in the East Village most of his life. His father passed away when Isiah was only ten, and since then it’s been his mission to follow in his footsteps.
David Zwirner Books is an independent publishing house that evolved from David Zwirner, a contemporary art gallery founded in 1993 by Lucas’s father which currently has locations in New York and London, and will also open in Hong Kong in early 2018. Its history with 826NYC goes back to 2006 when gallery artist Marcel Dzama helped organize an exhibition of donated artworks. This was later followed by similar fundraising exhibitions in 2008 and 2015. All funds raised through the sale of these artworks went toward 826NYC’s programming.