Skip to main content

Announcing the Winners of the 89th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition

Congratulations to the winners of the 89th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition! For an interview with the Grand Prize winner, see the November/December 2020  of Writer's Digest. See which WD competitions are currently accepting entries at


Grand Prize

Cheryl KatzArctic Voyage Finds Microplastics Clog the Most Remote Reaches of the Planet (Print/Online Article). Read the article here

Memoir/Personal Essay

  1. "South of That" by Curt Klinghoffer
  2. "You Can't Live Your Life in a Box" by Anne Gudger
  3. "The Restless City" by Courtney Drenan
  4. "Spinning in the Universe" by Terry Dicks
  5. "Never Be Silent" by Judith Barnes
  6. "A Stadium Saved Me" by Joan Donnelly-Emery
  7. "What I Don't Know About Sikhs" by Francis Flavin
  8. "A Message to France" by Kathy Bradshaw
  9. "After the Vows" by Alexandra Page
  10. "I Told my Lover to Sleep with His Ex" by Mary Maresca

Honorable Mentions:

  • "La Mamma Rocca" by Laura Sottile 
  • "A TU, CAMUS" by Melodie Greene
  • "As the Wheel Turns" by Rodika Tollefson
  • "Awakening to Balance" by Sarah Phoenix
  • "Beauty Secrets" by DeAundra Woods
  • "Becoming Lolita" by Laura Malin
  • "Chosen Family" by Donna Smith
  • "Colorblind" by Shannan Chapman
  • "Death and Transfiguration of Ideas" by Wendell Mott
  • "Defining Intimacy" by Sojna Griffing
  • "Fall Risk" by Raven Shales
  • "Falling for "Vertigo'" by Hunter Goddard
  • "Flying Superman into Sarajevo" by Laura Joyce-Hubbard
  • "Forced Conscription in the Age of the Gun" by Liam Harte
  • "Four Seasons of Winter" by Wanda Rhodes
  • "Happy New Year" by Nancy Hauswald
  • "Her Feet Were Not Tired" by Dante Brizill
  • "Hi, Fred" by Cathy Sturdivant
  • "Hope Full" by Jill Slaughter
  • "Hourglass" by Melanie Greene
  • "How to Dress for a Nerd" by Richard Fencel
  • "I Am Older Than My Father" by Oz Buber
  • "I Tell the Story" by Dorothy Stewart
  •  "In This Family, No One Fights Alone" by Evelyn Andrews
  • "Kiss Me for the Last Time" by Sarah Natale
  • "Leaving Home" by Jerry Rosenstein
  • "Lessons in Hope from the City of Light" by Roxanne Dunn
  • "Life After Death" by Kathryn Farren
  • "Loving Friendship Eternal" by Susan Dean
  • "Lucy's Journey" by Sharon Haiste
  • "Manhood: To Define Adventure" by Ryan Caruso
  • "My Country" by Allison Hong Merrill
  • "My Parents Legacy" by Denise Cortes
  • "Of Conventions and Code-Switching" by Maya Gonzales
  • "Running for My Life" by Leslie Broun
  • "Samskaras" by Leigh Ryan
  • "Talk About the Curse" by Caroline Grobler-Tanner
  • "The Set Extra" by Katherine Longshore
  • "These Sobering Times" by Rachel Carrera
  • "Whitie" by Anita Kuehlem-Doroghazi

Judge: Richard Campbell is co-author of Writing Your Legacy: The Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting Your Life Story (Writer’s Digest Books). He sails with Windstar Cruises on their transatlantic crossings, where he offers his Writing Your Life Story enrichment programs. He runs his own business, Guided Life Stories, near Toronto. 


  1. "Crazy Hazel" by Barb Miller
  2. "A Child Just Like You" by Kathleen Jacobs
  3. "Immersion" by Vivian Montgomery
  4. "An Ollie Kind of Love" by Donna Surgenor
  5. "It's not you, it's me." by Vivian Wang
  6. "Late to the Party" by Nancy Hull
  7. "Thanks, Dad" by Teresa Weaver
  8. "Finding Faith" by Joyce-Hawryluk
  9. "Dan the Fabulous" by Maureen Power
  10. "How Are People of Color Feeling?" by C.W. Sistrunk

Honorable Mentions:

  • "A Child's Death" by Maria von Alexy
  • "A New Land" by Pamela Lau
  • "A Walk with Paul" by Lori Domingo
  • "A Year of Gratitude" by Diane Earhart
  • "Ask and You Shall Receive" by Fernanda dAvila Melo Sarmento
  • "Blackest Night" by Fay Guinn
  • "Broken, United, Redeemed" by Lori Morrison
  • "Crazy is Relative" by Deborah Durrett
  • "Detours on the Road of Life" by Felicia Ferguson
  • "Dip Into the Inkwell" by Tiffany Chartier 
  • "Finally Found My Hero!" by Shazia Aftab
  • "Finding Hope in No Man's Land" by Kathryn Schleich
  • "Flames of Anger Extinguished by the Power of Prayer" by J. Jolean Allison
  • "George Floyd" by Denise Cortes
  • "Goodbye Luna" by J.E. Watt
  • "Goodbye, Max" by Landon Wallace
  • "Grieving" by Terri Green
  • "Here/There/Everywhere" by Nancy Alvarado
  • "How A Teen Movie Changed My Perspective On Love" by Sherry Nguyen
  • "How God Answered My Cancelled Request—Twice" by Andy Carrick
  • "Innocent Blood" by Porter Huddleston
  • "Intention" by Christine Gray
  • "Kindness" by Teresa Weaver
  • "Listen" by Stacy Firth
  • "Lost and Found" by Laura Boyles
  • "Mint" by Stephanie Haines
  • "Mother" by Roberta Rogel
  • "My Wife and the Reverend" by Kaylah Pantaleon
  • "Praying to St. Gerard" by Anita O'Carroll 
  • "Predictions to Purity" by M'Lynn Koetting
  • "Spelunking Grace" by Ed Sanabia
  • "The Healing Power of a Homemade Pie" by Lynn Walker Gendusa
  • "The Immortal Samovar" by Shelly Sanders
  • "The Malcontent" by Porter Huddleston
  • "The Man in the Alley" by Arturo Hernandez
  • "The Rich Beggar" by Terdell Johnson
  • "The Valley" by Alyssa Flynn
  • "West Memphis" by Kathleen Listman
  • "Wheels for Legs" by Kenneth Nelson
  • "When I Couldn't Pray" by Rochelle Bauer

Judge: Tamela Hancock Murray is a literary agent with The Steve Laube Agency ( Her experience as an award-winning, bestselling author helps her understand writing in today’s market. Tamela and her husband live in Virginia and are the parents of two lovely daughters. Find her on Facebook and Twitter @Tamela_Murray.

Children’s/Young Adult Fiction

  1. "Wombat Wings" by MJ Belko
  2. "A Dragon Tea Party" by Jeremiah Shaw
  3. "Never Ask for a Cool Name and Other United Mistakes of America by Refrigerator Ng" by Ginger Sinsabaugh
  4. "Crayons versus Markers" by Christine Van Zandt
  5. "The Incredible Man-Eating Marshmallow" by Rocky Leplin
  6. "Fallback Girls" by Molly Karr
  7. "The Inventor" by Harper Lee
  8. "The Lucky Ones" by DM Reynolds
  9. "Crow and Scarecrow" by Caren Cantrell
  10. "Hey Siri, I Got a Feeling We're Not in Kansas Anymore" by Jennifer W. Bull

Honorable Mentions:

  • "A Garden for My Mind" by Brittany Saulnier
  • "A Puppet for PFC Eldon" by Nancy Hull
  • "A Wondrous Wish in My Heart" by Melissa Stiveson
  • "Baby James" by Ruth Deakin
  • "Bernice the Lion Tamer - Picture Book" by Angela de Groot
  • "Billy and the Kid" by Aija Robinson
  • "Bitter Wisdom" by Matt Merkl
  • "Blink Blink Blink in Sync" by Sharon CassanoLochman
  • "Blue Water, a Year in the Ocean" by Julianna Lembeck
  • "Bree Not Me" by Jesse Delia
  • "Building the Just in Case Casket" by Sandy Quandt
  • "Chef Ina and Her Very Hungry Friends" by Christopher Worthman
  • "Duchess in How Maine Coons Came to Earth" by Kent Page McGroarty
  • "I Love You Baby" by Megan Slagle
  • "If Dinosaurs Discovered Humans" by Jalaire Hickman
  • "I'm a Crow" by Jacob Gur
  • "Jotunheim" by K.A. Beazell
  • "Lorenzo Dow and the Talking Chicken" by Julie Moran
  • "Maika to the Rescue" by Jessica Dunnagan
  • "Nate and Captain Nathaniel" by M. Lisa Rincaca
  • "Nick the Nasty Knight" by M.R. Hardin
  • "No, NO, Mr. Chito!" by Carrie Robertson
  • "Partings" by Jennifer Richter
  • "Porch Sneakers" by Beverly Kenik
  • "Pretenjamin" by Bill Canterbury
  • "Queen Amaia" by Randi Mrvos
  • "Ria's Rescue" by Holli Hamner
  • "Roundup Rodeo" by Courtney Shannon Strand
  • "She Kissed Me in Front of Everyone" by Rebecca Beyer
  • "Sidewalk Sam" by Mia Manumit
  • "Snatching St. Nick" by MeeMee Taylor
  • "Spinderella: A Cinderella Story" by Christine Van Zandt
  • "Sydney the "Bad" Witch" by Karalyn Semonian
  • "The Dumpty Boys" by Don Williams
  • "The Gadget Meddler" by Ruth Deakin
  • "Ruth Deakin" by Jamie Rich 
  • "The Story of Citronella (Please Hold Your Nose)" by Bruce Benson
  • "The Upside Up Duck" by Greg Fasking
  • "Truth, Lies, and Peanut Butter" by Alexandra Claus
  • "When I Could See" by Marcia Ross

Judge: Ryan Ireland, PhD, is the author of two novels, Beyond the Horizon and Ghosts of the Desert. He has also published scholarly, popular, and creative nonfiction. Progress on his current project, a nonfiction book on VW Bus ownership, can be found on Instagram: @OnTheRoadWithAdie. 

Genre Short Story

  1. "Little Time Machines" by Ian Gonzales
  2. "Dead Reckoning" by Jennifer Slee
  3. "A Song of Faith" by Rebecca Hyde
  4. "The Faithful Tunnel" by Malgorzata Nealon
  5. "Baker's Dozen" by James Hankins
  6. "Magic of the Untouchable Girl" by Lauryn Mercredi
  7. "A Trip to Barcelona" by Mackenzie Bitz
  8. "The Betrayal" by Robert Mellin
  9. "The Captain" by Ashley Killeen
  10. "The Weatherman" by Michael Bergman

Honorable Mentions:

  • "'Who. Is. It?'" by Geoffrey Kent Graves
  • "A Delicate Peace" by Allen Rosu
  • "A Hundred Summers" by Lauren K. Joyce
  • "Along Came a Crowd" by Lauren K. Joyce
  • "Amour's Idiots—A Farce in Three Acts" by Joseph McKeon
  • "Before He Heard Her" by Carol Van Den Hende
  • "Blood Will Have Blood" by Annalise Thomas
  • "Brittle" by Thathiny Tep
  • "Captain of the Guard" by James Carey
  • "Committed" by Kathy Bradshaw
  • "Deep Waters" by Steve Rogers
  • "Everything There Is to See" by Emily Krempholtz
  • "Goat" by Des Halpin
  • "Green Snow" by Justin Goodwin
  • "Hard Time" by George Cramer
  • "Love on the Lido Deck" by Jennifer Sneed
  • "Magic" by Sarah Haarmann
  • "Maha's Hand" by MK Dakan
  • "Measure Twice" by Mike Tuohy
  • "Nighthawks" by Emma Williamson
  • "Old School Therapy" by John Biggs
  • "Pestilence and the Crow" by Aidan Schuttler
  • "Rude and Tattooed" by James Hankins
  • "Session" by Charles Glover
  • "Summer's Rain" by A.R. Kent
  • "The Beast" by Isaac Ogston
  • "The Butterfly Effect" by Kristy Kamin
  • "The Fort" by Alan Lastufka
  • "The Fortune Teller" by Glaphira Jeudy
  • "The Ouachita Woman" by Brian Huber
  • "The Pilfered Pastry" by Barbara Barker
  • "The Python King" by Anda DuMars
  • "The Roku" by E.S. Danon
  • "Twisted" by Destiny Rinder
  • "Under the Fireflies" by MaryBeth Edmundson
  • "Walking Home" by Anyka Rae
  • "War & Glory" by A.R. Kent
  • "Whale Song" by Sarah Daye
  • "Wild, Like Her" by Matthew Cody Raschella
  • "Wizard's Price" by J.F. Birdwell

Judge: Audrey Wick ( is a novelist with Tule Publishing and Pelican Book Group as well as a full-time professor at Blinn College in Texas. Her work has been published in college textbooks by Cengage Learning and W.W. Norton, and she’s been a guest columnist for Writer’s Digest. 

Mainstream/Literary Short Story

  1. "Schism, 1995" by Sophia Veltfort
  2. "In the Balance" by Colin Brezicki
  3. "Jewish Physics" by David Goldstein
  4. "Smudge" by Karen Hugdahl
  5. "Ordinary, Carefree Day" by Anthony Lamattina
  6. "Fulfilment" by Probert Dean
  7. "The Farmhouse" by Beth Ford
  8. "Colored Music" by Cynthia Canada
  9. "Convenient Fictions" by Julie Morrison
  10. "Daffy Daphne" by Joanna B. Brewer

Honorable Mentions:

  • "Perfect Match" by Kristi Gedeon
  • "A Bag in a Tree" by Bob Epstein
  • "A Map to Nowhere" by J.G. Parisi
  • "A Picker's Straw Hat" by Mark Russell
  • "Appetites" by Hilary Wheelan Remley
  • "Big Eyes" by Nancy Xie
  • "Caller Thirty-Three" by Bethany Snyder
  • "Cirque" by Dominick Domingo
  • "Cleaning Time in Oil Country" by Kate Easley
  • "Climbing Mountains" by Elizabeth Holland
  • "Corpse Walks Into a Bar" by Lesley Bannatyne
  • "Depends" by Lois Rosen
  • "Design" by Marlet Ashley
  • "Dugga Boys" by Greg Jones
  • "Dying for Yum Cha" by Bon-Wai Chou
  • "Ecphrasis" by Susan Sechrist
  • "Feliz Navidad" by Amina Gautier
  • "Goodbye 16 Buttonwood Lane" by David Canning
  • "Lester's Bird Feeder" by Kathryn Knowles
  • "Me... As Wormhole" by Larry Malchow
  • "Mother's Doll" by Benjamin Choi
  • "Obituary of an Outcast" by Kendall Klym
  • "Pickle Loaf and Other Gifts" by Jennifer Sneed
  • "Porsche" by Margarite Landry
  • "Preferred by Discreet Women Everywhere" by Amina Gautier
  • "Quality Yarns" by Thomas Dukes
  • "Slipping on Frosting" by Tessa Weisbecker-Lotz
  • "Striking" by Ronan Ryan
  • "The Bright Green Place" by Daniel Pope
  • "The Coyote" by Regina Wetzel 
  • "The Flight of a Hummingbird" by Susan Mills
  • "The Self Vanishes" by Melissa Bowers
  • "The Unmaking of Me" by Stephen Duxbury
  • "The Value of Myths" by Marta Magellan
  • "The Writer's Block" by K.D. Rose
  • "The Year I Fell into the Upside Down World" by Selah J Tay-Song
  • "There's No Such Thing as Yellow" by Edgar Mahaffey
  • "Villa Oculta" by Greg Jones
  • "Wearing Eyeliner at Parkers' Place" by Stefanie Kramer
  • "You, on Your Thirty-Fifth Birthday" by Emma Williamson

Judge: Krystel Chenault is a product development specialist for an education publisher, a Ph.D. candidate, and a lifelong creative writer. She loves reading (naturally!), hiking, and horror movies.

Rhyming Poetry

  1. "Lessons of a Cruel Tide" by Barbara Jennes
  2. "Mother's Day at a distance - May 2020" by Robin Clifford Wood
  3. "Our Ifs" by Ginny Southgate
  4. "Sonnet for a Sunday Afternoon" by Susan Love Brown
  5. "Ring of Hate" by Jeremy Donnelly
  6. "Let It Shine" by Stephen Colley
  7. "The Chore" by Carole Johannsen
  8. "Portraits" by Jennifer Wilson
  9. "Identity Without I" by Bilal Moon
  10. "Weather" by George Amabile 

Honorable Mentions:

  • "A morning in Amsterdam" by Chanpreet Singh
  • "A Plea for Help" by Tracy DiPietro
  •  "Advice from the Top of a Wagon" by Matt Davis
  • "Along Los Feliz Boulevard" by Jon Krampner
  • "Atop the Cloud-Kissed Knoll" by Lauren de Vore
  • "Ballade For Blois" by Dennis Goza
  • "Beloved this Hand" by W Rebecca Wood
  • "Beyond The Black Horizon's Crease" by Kathryn Knowles
  • "Big Sur Coast" by Lauren de Vore
  • "Bloody Angle" by FRANCIS FLAVIN
  • "Brazen Buds, Skimpy Leaves, Fuzzy Yellow Buzzing Bees" by W Rebecca Wood
  • "Cardinal in a Frosted Tree" by Tom McFadden
  • "Centerpiece" by Phyllis Karpen
  • "Dearly Bought" by Lauren de Vore
  • "Don't Ever Do This" by Andrew Baffi
  • "Dr. Seuss' Big Adventure!" by DEBORAH SALTER KAWAGUCHI
  • "Erika" by R.F. Osmond
  • "Hands" by Sharon Senger
  • "I am the World" by Searra Simpson
  • "LUST after 70" by Diana Rowland
  • "Monsters and Humans" by David Miller
  • "Ode To A Flat Screen" by Laurie Eynon
  • "Passing By" by Jacob Schapiro
  • "Purse Monkey" by Joanna Johnson
  • "Red Line, Flatline" by Kay Em Ellis
  • "Simple Pleasures" by Sergio Vazquez
  • "Sinking Ship" by Michael Keane
  • "The Chosen Few" by JAMES ARNOLD
  • "The Great Night Way" by Tina Sacco
  • "The Lightning Bug Ball" by Selene Heidenreich
  • "The Pages" by Bonnie Sarkonak
  • "The Perfect Place" by Emma Taylor
  • "The Poem That Wasn't" by Will Isenberg
  • "The State of Thirst" by FRANCIS FLAVIN
  • "Uprising" by Kenneth Flowers
  • "Walk the Way of Hemingway" by Warren Rosenbaum
  • "Walls" by Lauren de Vore
  • "Wandering" by Susan Love Brown
  • "Winter Preparations" by ROSE EVELYN-HALL

Judge: Jane Shlensky, a retired teacher and active musician, has recent poetry and fiction in Writer’s Digest, Pinesong, Kakalak, moonShine review, Thomas Wolfe Review, and Nostos. NC Poetry Society has twice nominated her poems for a Pushcart, and her short fiction and nonfiction were finalists in Press 53, James Applewhite, Doris Betts, and Rose Post contests. Jane’s chapbook is Barefoot on Gravel (Finishing Line, 2016). 

Non-Rhyming Poetry

  1. "Paying the Rent" by Alison Luterman
  2. "Elegy for the Buffet" by Joshua Martin
  3. "Early Love As Archaic Landscape" by Jane Craven
  4. "Wheeler Park" by Kathleen Listman
  5. "Optik/The Optician" by Julie Novak-McSweeney
  6. "Some Girls" by Alison Luterman
  7. "Points of Love" by Mary Eastham
  8. "Witch Walk" by Alison Luterman
  9. "Earthbound" by Greg Fasking
  10. "With the Red-Winged Blackbirds" by Shellie Harwood

Honorable Mentions:

  • "58th Street" by Susan Love Brown 
  • "A Cell Phone Psalm" by Nancy Aguilar
  • "A Poem About 1915" by Ava Bagdasarian
  • "all trains are haunted" by Carrie Radna
  • "Art" by John Goodwin
  • "Ascent" by Bonnie Lavigne
  • "Asthmatic" by Greg Fasking
  • "Baby Doll" by Allison Douglas-Tourner
  • "Bad Days" by Deborah Griffith Smith
  • "Because I Am Trying to Live in a World Where I Blame God For My Failure at Love" by Carlie Hoffman
  • "Crows" by Jeanne Hall
  • "Dance" by John Goodwin
  • "Deadweight" by Rebecca Buller
  • "Elegy" by Katrin Ciaffa
  • "Elegy" by Melissa Joplin Higley
  • "For my long-legged, high-flying, hoop-shooting, fire-baton-twirling sister with the '80s hair" by Cynthia Canada
  • "Fourth Generation of Monarchs Remember the Future" by Jill Madden Melchoir
  • "GRACE, FALLING TOWARD---" by Marla Alupoaicei
  • "have mercy" by Karen Stone
  • "I Don't Ask Questions Like" by Regine Darius
  • "jade (adj.)" by Jade Driscoll
  • "Janice Pockett" by Allison Keeton
  • "Jimmy" by Austin Davis
  • "Kite" by Julie Fitzpatrick
  • "Letter to Gei Li" by Cynthia Boersma
  • "Monument" by Judy Winchester
  • "Nerve Damage" by Kate Wisel
  • "On the Road" by Susan Love Brown
  • "Rain" by Carol Despeaux Fawcett
  • "Sammy Gone Crazy in the Subway" by Ryan Urie
  • "Santa Ana" by Susan Love Brown
  • "The Flowers of the Clocks Catch Fire" by Jason Adam Sheets
  • "The North Star" by Gwendolyn Morgan
  • "The Passenger" by Rebecca Buller
  • "The Purse" by Linda Burt
  • "What Will Happen" by Pat Anthony
  • "When I Die" by Stuart Forrest
  • "Why I Failed The Elements of Realistic Drawing" by Suellen Wedmore
  • "Writers Digest Submission I 2020" by Mimi Jennings

Judge: John Drury is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Sea Level Rising (Able Muse Press, 2015), as well as Creating Poetry and The Poetry Dictionary (Writer’s Digest Books). He teaches at the University of Cincinnati. 

Script (Stage Play or TV/Movie)

  1. "Andromeda's Way" by Michael Keane
  2. "Blood From a Stone" by John King
  3. "All Horses Have Wings" by Rima Lyn
  4. "Ashes" by Kevin Brodie
  5. "The Alice Solution" by Emily Redinbo
  6. "Red Ivory" by Larry Thomas
  7. "What Doesn't Kill You" by Julia Wolfe
  8. "Unnatural Selection" by Lexx Fusco
  9. "Anima" by Stephen Isles
  10. "Boycott" by Jeff Mustard

Honorable Mentions:

  • "Clambaked!" by Jay Huling
  • "All Things Truly Wicked" by Emily Nye
  • "Birthday Club" by Phil Olson
  • "Buckethead" by Lee Redmond
  • "Busara Road Screenplay" by David Sanders
  • "Can't Live Without 'Em" by Lee Redmond
  • "CHANGE OF FATE" by Cheryl Mott Smith
  • "Changing of the Guards" by Torrey Chin
  • "Chemical Attraction" by Holly Hudson
  • "Chicago '66" by Stephane Dunn
  • "DA VINCI'S DISCIPLES: Murder at the Duomo" by DONNA RUSSO MORIN
  • "Forger" by Simon Bowler
  • "How are you today?" by Joey Merlo
  • "Insurrection - pilot" by Simon Bowler
  • "Intervention" by Asher Ellis
  • "It Started Beneath a Sepia Sky" by Jacqui Castle
  • "JoinWith.Me" by Mike Meier
  • "KILLING MOCKINGBIRDS" by Bridget Grace Sheaff
  • "Lincoln & Jefferson (Animated Feature Film)" by Michael Mullin
  • "LOCH WEST" by Michael Nachoff
  • "Losing Sight of Shore" by Laurie Bryant
  • "Night of the Puka" by E Merwin
  • "ONE THOUSANDTH" by Tom Lavagnino
  • "Ravine" by Kevin Brodie
  • "Sherlee Holmes, Detective - Luna Base 1" by Joyce Walsh
  • "Solidarity" by Emilie Szemraj
  • "SWIM" by Emily Seibert
  • "Tashlich" by David Allyn
  • "The Bow of Promise" by Diana Schoenherr
  • "The Devil's Pact" by Simon Bowler
  • "The Iguana in the Parking Lot" by Charles Baran
  • "The Last Battle of Wichita" by Stephen Paine
  • "The Loop" by Heledd Williams
  • "The Sergeant's Wife" by Kelly St-Laurent
  • "Two Kinds of People" by Michael Shaw
  • "Under Par" by Raeghn Draper
  • "Unstoppable" by G. Large
  • "WARRIORS" by Tyler Powell
  • "WINDOWPAIN" by Rosanne Limoncelli
  • "You're A Monster" by Jeff Rosenplot

Judge: Cameron Chapman is an author, screenwriter, and contributor to Script magazine who has sold multiple short screenplays and placed in prestigious screenwriting competitions with feature scripts, including the Nashville Film Festival and PAGE Awards. Her nonfiction books have been published by Focal Press, Ilex Press, and John Wiley & Sons. She lives and writes on a tiny island in northern Vermont. 

Print or Online Article

  1. "The Other Side" by Elaine Howley
  2. "The Next Mexican Revolution" by Rachel Parsons
  3. "Ray Bradbury and Me" by MarthaPoundMiller
  4. "Torture Swim" by Elaine Howley
  5. "We Speak for the Dead: A Writing Conference All About Crime" by Renee Roberson
  6. "Dream Weaver" by Rebecca Rhoades
  7. "The Michelangelo of Wood Turning" by Candy Puterbaugh
  8. "Spring Chicken: How to Celebrate Mardi Gras Like the Cajuns Do" by Kathy Bradshaw
  9. "Here's Why Perfume Descriptions Are Never About Smell" by Elyse Hauser
  10. "An Oasis, Renewed" by Rebecca Rhoades

Honorable Mentions:

  • "&lessonsFromTheMostUnderratedMentorMom" by Natasha Pratap
  • "A Family Legacy " by Renee Roberson
  • "A Fierce Fighter with a Heart of Gold " by Christy Heitger-Ewing
  • "A Running Story with Significant Impact " by Warren Rosenbaum
  • "Ciao, Roma! " by Greg Waxberg
  • "Coco's Dream Debut at Wimbledon " by Paul Fein
  • "Confessions from a Hugger Mugger Desk " by Diane Earhart
  • "Coolidge: A Story of the Town, Not the Man " by Mary Taylor
  • "Drowning the Demons " by Elaine Howley
  • "Hate " by Kim Green
  • "Home Sweet Home " by Mary Taylor
  • "How dampness affects your health " by Rebecca Thoroughgood
  • "Hungry like the Wolffe " by Elaine Howley
  • "I'm High Risk for Coronavirus, So How Do I Proceed Once the Country Opens? " by Holly Rizzuto Palker
  • "Indigenous Women Are Publishing the First Maya Works in Over 400 Years " by Jessica Vincent
  • "John Davies' Opera Tales Introduce Children to the Art Form " by Greg Waxberg
  • "KASI LEMMONS Constructing the Remarkable Terrain of a True American Hero in the Film HARRIET " by Sheryl Aronson
  • "Let Your Sons Come Out " by Marina DelVecchio
  • "Made in the Shade " by Jason Marchi
  • "MindTheGapBeTheBridge " by Natasha Pratap
  • "My 6-year-old has calmed me during quarantine " by Holly Rizzuto Palker
  • "Patience is a Superpower " by Michael Pietrzak
  • "San Diego: Scandals, Scoundrels, and Controversy " by Marc Revere
  • "Soprano Anne Walker Has a New Life with Hearing " by Greg Waxberg
  • "Ten Wishes From a Rural Oncologist " by JL Lycette
  • "The Canadian Wine Conundrum " by Shannon Terrell
  • "The French That Got Away " by Winta Matteous-Mebrahti
  • "The Heart of Euroland " by Kay Em Ellis
  • "The Love Song of E. "Phineas" Thayer " by Richard Davis
  • "The Reality TV Show "The Bachelor": Arranged Marriage for the American Youth? " by Lisa J. MacDonald
  • "The Sacred Soil of Paradise " by Angela Waldron
  • "The Warhorse of the Roses " by Melodee M. Spevack
  • "This Is What Working With a Virtual Doula Really Looks Like " by Holly Rizzuto Palker
  • "Transforming a Fearful City into a Recreational River Community: Samuel Ellis' Story " by Nichole Singleton
  • "Trauma Response and Complex PTSD " by D.R. McElroy
  • "Unbowed " by Jackie Appel
  • "Upstream Approaches to Health and Wellness " by Travis Kirkwood
  • "When Sheep Were Bigger Than Cows " by Susanne Washburn
  • "YES...AND " by Elizabeth Koenig, MD

Judge: Zachary Petit ( is an award-winning freelance journalist and copywriter, the editor of PRINT magazine, and a lifelong literary and design nerd. He is the author of the books The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing and Treat Ideas Like Cats and previously served as the managing editor of Writer’s Digest. He has a Twitter account (@ZacharyPetit) but is more fun when documenting the life and times of his greyhound, The Turtleman, on Instagram (@zachary_petit). 

Writer's Digest Competitions

Get recognized for your writing. Find out more about the Writer's Digest family of writing competitions.

Popular Fantasy Tropes for Writers

21 Popular Fantasy Tropes for Writers

Here are 21 examples of fantasy tropes for writers to consider and subvert when writing fantastical fiction.

Writing Goals and Intentions: 25 Prompts

Writing Goals and Intentions: 25 Prompts

Make this year your most successful writing year ever by considering the following questions to set your goals and intentions.

Is a Personal Essay Considered Journalism?

Is a Personal Essay Considered Journalism?

Journalist Alison Hill answers the question of whether or not the personal essay is considered journalism by defining the genre and offering examples. Plus, outlets for you to publish your own personal essay.

Forth vs. Fourth (Grammar Rules)

Forth vs. Fourth (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use forth vs. fourth in your writing with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Bad Place

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Bad Place

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, make the setting the antagonist.

Gaslighting in Romance: From Jane Eyre to the Present Day (and Why Writers Should Care)

Gaslighting in Romance: From Jane Eyre to the Present Day (and Why Writers Should Care)

Gaslighting can work its way into the backstory of a character, but it can also be misused. Here, author Emma Barry discusses gaslighting in romance.

Brad Taylor: On Real-Life Threats Inspiring Thriller Novels

Brad Taylor: On Real-Life Threats Inspiring Thriller Novels

Author and veteran Brad Taylor discusses the research that led to his new thriller novel, The Devil’s Ransom.

How Roleplaying Helps Our Writing—and Our Marriage

How Role-Playing Helps Our Writing—and Our Marriage

As co-writing partners who fully embody the stories they tell in their writing process, authors Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka share how role-playing helps their writing, and their marriage.

How To Get Started in Copywriting

How To Get Started in Copywriting

From writing and reading to majoring outside of journalism, copywriter and author Robert W. Bly shares how to get started in copywriting.