What's it all about

The Gillan Award is gifted to one recipient each year. The Gillan Award is given to those who, like the award's namesake, have made great contributions to poetry and poets. They, like Gillan, are passionate educators who work to push new poets to their greatest potential while creating space for established poets to share their voice. Maria Mazziotti Gillan is a woman who has made a tremendous mark on the world of poetry and on this great City of Paterson in particular. Gillan, a Paterson, NJ native, has dedicated over 40 of her 80+ years to making space for poets. To quote her poem, "Spike Heels" as her heels have gone lower and lower, her contributions to our literary community has grown greater and greater while she still continues pounding through life on confident feet. Past recipients include: Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Annemarie Vannatta and Yvonne Nambe Roach. Each of the recipients have influenced  young writers, supported professional writers and have done so consistently for multiple decades.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2021 Maria Mazziotti Gillan Literary Service Award.

The nomination window is open from

May 10, 2021- July 2, 2021 at 11:59 PM

Members, partners and the immediate family of Word Seed, Inc.Nonprofit board are ineligible for this award (Do Not nominate us).

Qualifying Candidates will possess the following qualifications:

Demonstrated Service in Literary Arts

  • Contributions, specifically, to poetry and poets.
  • Holds or held regularly scheduled workshops or teaching experience for writers and/or poets in particular
  • Curates or curated space for both established poets and emerging poets.

Leadership For Emerging Writers

  • Candidates will have current or past leadership roles within a community, organization or other affiliation that include (among others) writers and/ or literary artists including thespians, spoken word artists and/or songwriters.

Moral Compass:

The candidate’s body of work and/ or service demonstrates one or more of the following:

  • Inclusion of contributions from or for Black, Indigenous; People of Color,
  • Inclusion of contributions from or for LBGTQ+ communities.
  • Contributions to or for anti violence work and advocacy
  • Contributions  to or for Special topics of advocacy
  • Community service

Submit your candidate by email at or by pushing the NOMINATE link below.

Include the following in your email:

  • bio
  • contact information (both you and the candidate)
  • photo
  • social media handle
  • 100 word explanation of why your candidate is deserving of the award