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Announcing the Winners of the 90th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition

Congratulations to the winners of the 90th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition!

Congratulations to the winners of the 90th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition! For an interview with the Grand Prize winner, see the November/December 2021 of Writer's Digest. See which WD competitions are currently accepting entries at


Grand Prize

Melissa Joplin Higley, "Anticipatory Grief" (non-rhyming poem). Read the poem here.

Memoir/Personal Essay

  1. "Passion's War" by LC Helms
  2. "I Remember" by Caroline Grace
  3. "Kentucky Stories" by Isabel Meisler
  4. "Hugo Got His Freedom" by Mike Harpold
  5. "OK Boomers, There's Still Time!" by Jeff Miller
  6. "We Meet Again" by Joe Osborne
  7. "You Were Just a Dream" by Gwendolyn Hishmeh
  8. "The Potluck Life of Roy" by Chris Bozman
  9. "The Alt-Right and Me" by Miriam Edelson
  10. "Yours (Quite Literally)" by Riley Chase

Honorable Mentions

  • "Blood of Life" by Karen Richards
  • "The Humans, Conditioned" by Stacey Langheim
  • "Commentary on the Conundrum of an Unconventional Christian" by J.M. Fletcher
  • "Dear White Siblings: An Invitation" by Amy Greer
  • "Dear 2020 a letter from 2021" by Catherine G. Tripp
  • "An Abyss of Electronic Clicks" by JL Lycette
  • "ASPCA Raises Funds Unfairly" by Lauren Malmberg
  • "Leave Me My Name: A Brief Memoir of What I Call Myself" by Patrick Junqian Zhou
  • "A Hint of Trouble" by Emily Vieweg
  • "Imagination and the Curious Mind" by Alison Laverty
  • "Parti Pris" by Rick Niece
  • "Pieces of Darkness" by Sheri Neeley
  • "Sweet Boy" by Tiffany Avery
  • "From the Driver’s Sister" by A.M. Riddle
  • "Virgin" by Anne-Marie Corley
  • “Gateway” by Lally Pia
  • “Lunches with Lizzie” by Susan Bunch
  • “fate of motion” by m.miller
  • “A Confession” by L’Enfant du siècle
  • “Windows 2021” by Mema Ayi
  • “Manic Depression, You Captured My Soul: For the “Karen’s” of the World, May You Be More Than Your Trauma” by Heather Martin
  • “Seventh Grade” by Cindi Gilbertie
  • “Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Bitch” by Laura White
  • “Hey White People” by Robin Mark Stuart
  • “Will We Need Sunscreen in Heaven?” by Jeff Miller
  • “Seven Pounds that Changed My Life” by Adrienne Drake, MD
  • “Silence” by Francis Flavin
  • “The Peace Cranes of Nagasaki” by Karen Kish
  • “On Living With Chronic Uncertainty” by Rachelle Woodbury
  • “The Politicization of an American Student” by Kai Mora
  • “My First Bicycle” by Jonathon McClellan
  • “Doves Returning” by Daina Grounds Chamness
  • “The Bite” by Dan Munz
  • “A Different Kind of Fight” by Erin Woodrow
  • “What Is, Not What If” by Jessica Crowley
  • “Sisters” by C. C. Hill
  • “Higher Ground” by Shankia Tinsley
  • “Bailing On Another Vacation Blues” by Keri Kelly
  • “The soft pop that changed everything” by Roxanne Beaubien
  • “Memoirs of an Artic Archaeologist: Hypothermia” by Georgeie Reynolds

Judge: Richard Campbell is the co-author of Writing Your Legacy: The Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting Your Life Story, published by Writers Digest Books. He has also presented life story sessions on several transatlantic crossings for Windstar Cruises. This is his third year judging for the WD competition. He lives near Toronto, Canada.


  1. "Pop" by Henry Hack
  2. "Dr. Phat" by David Kent
  3. "Look Mom, Bare Hands" by Teresa Weaver
  4. "Keely" by Holly Huzar
  5. "Reading and the Real World" by A.C.S. Bird
  6. "Returning to Love" by Anya Johnston
  7. "All Good Things Are Wild and Free" by Rebecca L. Manoogian
  8. "Footprints" by Lori Domingo
  9. "God's Bucket of Love" by Glen J Ellington
  10. "Winter Blues" by R. D. Longmeier

Honorable Mentions

  • "Tempo, Allegro" by JL Lycette
  • "Homesick Souls" by Erinn Karpovck
  • "The Angel With the Extra Chromosome" by Monique Amado
  • "A Love Story" by Sabira Lor
  • "Learning to Run" by MyLinh Shattan
  • "My Advice from God about Josh" by Gail Dudley
  • "Of Death and Life" by Natli VanDerWerken
  • "When the World Looks" by Emma Christoff
  • "A Message for Debbie" by Deborah Crew King
  • "Is My Spirit Guide Real?" by J. Allan Danelek
  • "A Nanosecond" by Teresa Weaver
  • "A House Named Grace" by Donna Surgenor
  • "The Peace of Surrender" by Jennifer Shackleford
  • "Suriv" by Daad Khouri
  • "The Drifter" by Chris Bozman
  • “Beautiful Moments” by Donna Surgenor
  • “Unfinished Conversations” by Nicole Watt
  • “The Spirit of Laughter” by Michael Buzzelli
  • “Entering the Celestial Forest” by Becky Steiner
  • “Enemies of Faith” by Miriam Herst-Stein
  • “HEART SMART” by Lynn Assimacopoulos
  • “Unconditional Love” by Deanna Kavanaugh
  • “Castle Above the Clouds” by Janine P. Salevsky
  • “A Cuckoo on the Street” by Raymond Maher
  • “Fountains of Grace” by Joyce Parker
  • “Love Letters to My Insecurities” by Serenity Monroe
  • “Misguided Faith” by Cherilyn DeAguero
  • “Peace Like a River” by Van
  • “God Rides the Rails” by Suzanne Austin-Hill
  • “The Grievous Trade” by Diane Haring
  • “Fear” by Nancy Jo Wilson
  • “Jinxed” by Sandra Homicz
  • “Safe Place” by Mary Jo
  • “PUPPY PILE-UP” by Judy Petsonk
  • “Christ Mouse” by Nita KD
  • “Manifest Living Abundantly Now” by Imannie Walshe
  • “Fine Flour” by Yeny Rowley
  • “A Glimpse of Heaven” by Jennifer Nora Clarke
  • “The Porch Light” by Sonja Berry
  • “The Middle Road” by Anna Jacobs

Judge: Sharon Naylor Toris is the author of 35 nonfiction books and two novels and has written for countless magazines and online sites, including Writer’s Digest, Oprah, First for Women, Brides, Bridal Guide, Southern Bride, and many others. She is a professional writing coach and editor and lives with her husband in the perfect writing town of Morristown, N.J.

Children’s/Young Adult Fiction

  1. "Upside Down Man" by Sara Karnoscak
  2. "A Floppity Jillion" by Amy Farris
  3. "The Little Red ROAR-AT" by H.D. Vesser
  4. "A Fifth Avenue Fable" by T.D. Akad Archibald
  5. "Bee-Bee and the Bad Thoughts" by David Swanson
  6. "One of a Kind Wonderful You" by Mary-Lauren O’Crowley
  7. "Lizzie Bee and the Library Thief" by Harper Lee
  8. "Doris, The Fastest Chicken in the West" by David Thorne
  9. "Pancake Summer" by Darcee Freier
  10. "Wash Day for Mustard Cardigan" by Denise Evans

Honorable Mentions

  • "The Annual Meeting of the Alphabet Company" by Joanne Anderson Reisberg
  • "Black Hair Like Me" by Victoria Curtis
  • "If I were a dragon" by Chrystina Hanson
  • "A Forest Purim" by Teresa Grabstein
  • "Eli the Ordinary Elephant" by Alana Puskarich
  • "Over the Wall" by Amy Farris
  • "The Vision" by Debra Burton
  • "The Missing Punctuation Box" by M. Lisa Rinaca
  • "Callan Murphy and the Guardians of Epona" by E. M. St. Pierre
  • "Through the Colors of a Butterfly" by Martinique Mims
  • "Curfew" by Hajar Benlahcen
  • "The 'A' Word" by Donna Reid
  • "A Siblings' Tale" by Laurie Calkhoven
  • "A Good Place for Ducks" by Robin Currie
  • "Slitherland" by Maureen Jones
  • “THREE LITTLE PIGS” by Randi Mrvos
  • “Suzie and Me” by Joan D. Selby
  • “Unwelcomed Letters” by Sandy Quandt
  • “BEYOND EXTINCTION” by Kathleen Wilson
  • “Laptop’s New Connection” by Maribel Martinez
  • “Ghost Dust” by Carol Teed
  • “Korra Vs. the Squirrels” by Jessica Dunnagan
  • “If guacamole were a mountain” by Jennifer Miller
  • “Feathers Will Fly” by Laura Stitzel
  • “My Favorite Kiss” by Teresa Weaver
  • “Snids Get Out in New York City!” by Gramma D
  • “HERMIONE in There’s an Alien Cat in My House” by Kent Page McGroarty
  • “The Age of Scorpius” by Audra Winter
  • “Do You Know How My Grandpa Is Just Like My Cat?” by Joan D. Selby
  • “Being a Grown Up” by Belinda Chisari Baws
  • “The Trade OFF” by Sasha
  • “What Is Everything?” by Mariah Julio
  • “The Rabbit Roared” by Sarah J.K. Koper
  • “A Shot Fired” by Becky Franklyn
  • “Loose Tooth on the Loose” by Robyn Byttars
  • “MISSION POSSIBLE!” by Kathleen Jacobs
  • “How Myra the Magnificent Saved the World” by Amy Frost Davidson
  • “Tilly the Troublemaker” by Lesley Albert

Judge: Ryan Ireland, Ph.D., is the author of two novels, Beyond the Horizon and Ghosts of the Desert. In 2019, he was writer-in-residence at the Jan Michalski Foundation in Switzerland, where he worked on his third novel. He is currently on a 14-month, 49-state road trip in his 1979 VW bus, while he and his wife, Miracle, produce a podcast called “So You Owned a VW Bus.” More on their project can be found at

Genre Short Story

  1. "A Brief Cameo" by D. M. Ullrich
  2. "Zarparan" by Jennifer Slee
  3. "Redemption Road" by Darcy Paape
  4. "Dr. Levinström, I presume?" by Tristan Marajh
  5. "A Night at the Trocadero" by Alex Willging
  6. "Mediocre" by Patricia Becnel
  7. "Of Coral Eyes and Silver Claws" by G. N. Zaccaria
  8. "Predator, Prey" by Mackenzie Hurlbert
  9. "Gibralter" by Joan Gurfield
  10. "Eternal Return" by Jennifer Slee 

Honorable Mentions

  • "Death of a Friendship" by Chris Allen
  • "The Side Hustle" by Mary Jo Wyse
  • "Late Bloomer" by Judy Taylor
  • "Ricin on Ice" by Judy Levitz
  • "Murder in Three Sittings" by Julie Griffin
  • "The Black Friday" by Sakke Myllymaki
  • "Twisteby Rachel Dempsey
  • "The Visitor" by Hiro Hoshino
  • "Tash- The Blood and Stone Warrior" by Anne Williams
  • "An Account of the People of the Serpentina Island Chain" by Josh Bugosh
  • "Healing Hands" by Victoria Covington
  • "Her Choice" by Leslie Wibberley
  • "Pirate Jack" by Edgar Bergman
  • "Ol' Betsy" by Brett McKay
  • "Sowing Weeds" by Jesse Leung
  • “Wave Sovereign” by Keith Rogers Gordon
  • “The Ghost of Koh Samui” by Edgar Mahaffey
  • “The Lamplighter” by Chelsea Hill
  • “Stasis” by Jonathan Bell
  • “The Undertaker’s Kid” by Mackenzie Hurlbert
  • “Foothold” by Daniel Soeder
  • “Izzy Tells No Lies” by P James Norris
  • “The Coffee Stand” by Matt Huested
  • “Candy Rules in the New Arkhoma” by Tamsin Marischal
  • “Persistence” by Kevin Sandefur
  • “The Last Mazurka” by William Wodhams
  • “The Midnight Curse of the Full Moon” by Margaret Speck Ogawa
  • “The Glove” by Sally Lotz
  • “Interference” by Linda Darro
  • “Voice” by Grace Dietrich
  • “The Familiar” by A. A. Rubin
  • “Liam’s Secret” by Mary B. Barbee
  • “A Tail of Addiction: A Fable” by Paul Grobar
  • “Painted Moment” by P.K. Granger
  • “The Doctor” by Elyse Hauser
  • “Who Stole the Blue Crayon?” by Edgar Mahaffey
  • “Catch me if you can” by Elizabeth Goodhue
  • “Willow Prentiss” by Andrew Dunn
  • “The Red Rusty Bucket” by Karen Kent
  • “Prescription for Freedom” by Jennifer Steil

Judge: Audrey Wick is a writer and full-time English professor at Blinn College in Texas. She contributes to Writer’s Digest and also serves on faculty of the San Miguel Literary Sala. Her work has been published in college textbooks by Cengage Learning and W. W. Norton, and her fifth novel, Island Charm, just released in 2021.

Mainstream/Literary Short Story

  1. "Tracks" by Elizabeth Rosen
  2. "An Ice Road to Kushwitna" by Birgit Lennertz Sarrimanolis 

  3. "Mackerel Sky" by Brianna M. Fenty
  4. "Nature’s Way" by Larry Downes
  5. "A Filipina’s Jungle of Flashing Neon Signs" by RA Morr
  6. "The Desert Blooms at Night" by Sacha Ramirez
  7. "All the Colours of the Sunset" by Arvin Tavakkoli
  8. "Creating Claudia" by Susan Pick
  9. "Spider in the Garden" by Elizabeth Rosen
  10. "Broken Glass" by Simi Monheit 

Honorable Mentions

  • "The Thirteenth Song" by Chelo Diaz-Ludden
  • "The Thing about Persimmons" by Gina Willner-Pardo
  • "Date Night, Canada" by Emily Kendy
  • "There’s Still Time to Save the Planet" by David McKenna
  • "Pigeons" by Joshua Levy
  • "Second Person" by Josephine Galvin
  • "Pelsnik's Everything Emporium" by Katy Wright
  • "In a Cucumber" by De Gutierre
  • "Exclusion Zone" by Susan Carpenter
  • "Commedia dell'Fredo" by Anthony Correale
  • "American Dreams" by Charles Tabasso
  • "Butter Dreams" by Momo Yamaguchi
  • "Snowfall" by Morna Seres
  • "You're Soaking in It" by Steve Fox
  • "A Mother's Love" by Nicoline Antonovitch
  • “A Rainbow in Koussountou” by Anne Michaud
  • “Fugue and Intermezzo” by Carolyn Jack
  • “Hum” by Gail Ruby
  • “Irment Vandreboob” by Mark Karpov
  • “A School Board Meeting” by Jacob Schapiro
  • “Millie Margaret Versus the Chupacabra” by Courtney Armstrong
  • “This is Why I Left You” by N. T. Toth
  • “Here Lies Janet Cowles” by Mary Behan
  • “Home” by Bill VanPatten
  • “Bookmaker’s Daughter” by Mariflo Stephens
  • “Wizard of Dublin” by Hunter Liguore
  • “Happy Hour” by Iris Litt
  • “Virgin of the Apocalypse” by Tim Weed
  • “40FOX” by Yetunde Durotoye
  • “This” by Andrew Kass
  • “The Bridge” by Nicole Senyi
  • “I’ve Seen It All” by Amy Kuether
  • “TATTOO” by Judith Works
  • “Bag It Up” by Allison Withmam
  • “Ocean Madness” by Ruth Neuwald Falcon
  • “How to Keep Your Heart Beating” by Samantha O’Brien
  • “Randy Koenig’s Very Large Mouse” by Steve Fox
  • “Four Pigs in the Desert” by Morgan Smith

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. "She Lives in Underbridge World" by MF Slattery
  2. "Love Affairs With the Variable X" by Patrick Walker
  3. "No More Than Reason" by Steven Monte
  4. "C Street Staors" by Francis Flavin
  5. "Untitled" by Lenore Rosenberg
  6. “'The Project Mother” (Ode to the LA and Watts Riots From the Perspective of a Child From Compton)" by DragonPoetikFly
  7. "The Amber Bridge" by Timothy Hickey
  8. "Ides" by Eric Meub
  9. "Maps" by Shawna Braun
  10. "He Is the Sea" by Nicole Cosme 

Honorable Mentions

  • "WHAT WE BRING" by Marla Alupoaicei
  • "Ode to Pizza" by Judith Marks-White
  • "as a filipino-american," by Regine Gayle
  • "HIROSHIMA" by AnnMarie Bonasera
  • "KMo" by Mary Finnen
  • "SPARKLING ON THE ROAD TO 21" by Victoria Mary Fach
  • "May (a Pantoum)" by Carrie Magness Radna
  • "Light(en)ing" by Shelley Stoehr
  • "Ivy" by Graham Kash
  • "Epilogue" by Livingston Rossmoor
  • "Distance Learning is Trochaic" by Eric Pinder
  • "A Hard Drinking Bard Ponders Turning Bahai" by Patrick Walker
  • "Reflections on Scrabble" by Patrick Walker
  • "A Blank in My Verse" by Patrick Walker
  • "Painting Me" by Ali SP
  • “Ode: Recollections of a Rose Tree” by MK
  • “Past Prime” by Lauren de Vore
  • “Thoroughbred” by Livingston Rossmoor
  • “My Body” by Tracy Ann Johnson
  • “Meteorolgy” by Graham Kash
  • “THE SPIRIT MOVES YOU” by Emory Jones
  • “Marlboro” by James Arthur Anderson
  • “Mouse King” by Shelia Pedigo
  • “Weed in the Garden” by LaToya Martin
  • “A voice from Harlem” by Javier Sarmiento Jr
  • “Coals in the Grate” by Liane Strauss
  • “Congruent through time” by Grace Ross
  • “Appendectomy III” by K. Irene Rieger
  • “Men’s Department” by Eric Meub
  • “Portable Gallery” by Kathleen Shewman
  • “Vanishing Divide” by Stephanie Black
  • “song” by Michael Miller
  • “Behemoth” by Nicole Cosme
  • “Golden Years” by Eric Meub
  • “Obsession” by Daad Khouri
  • “Every Mile” by Donna Richards
  • “Anamnesis” by Patrick Walker
  • “Obscenity” by Graham Kash
  • “A Letter to a ‘Pokemon’” by DribbleTheSwordsman

Judge: RJ Clarken writes humorous, poetic form rhyming poetry and middle-grade historical fiction. Her work has been published in Writer’s Digest, Möbius, Asinine Poetry, Measure Review,, Sol Magazine, Trellis Magazine, and others literary journals. She is the author of two books, Mugging for the Camera and Penny Wishes, and she was the editor of Goldfinch for five years.

Non-Rhyming Poetry

  1. "You Won’t Celebrate With Me" by Nicole Adabunu
  2. "[sic]stemic" by Dean Gessie
  3. "The Curies at Home" by Martha Brenckle
  4. "Sleep" by Kim B. Miller
  5. "Nancy Drew" by Judith Marks-White
  6. "Lobster Pot" by James Arthur Anderson
  7. "By Stratagem" by Mel Elberger
  8. "When I See Us in Another’s Poem" by Cynthia Boersma
  9. "Wayfarer" by Mel Elberger
  10. "Piecework" by James Arthur Anderson 

Honorable Mentions

  • "Something lets loose inside me" by Carol Despeaux Fawcett
  • "Wendy's parking lot, Atlanta, night of June 12, 2020" by Joy Johnston
  • "Last Hour of the Tide" by KB Ballentine
  • "CONTROL" by Alexis Green
  • "Jump" by Alison Luterman
  • "ON HER HUNDRETH BIRTHDAY" by Eileen Malone
  • "Breezes Jostle" by Dennis Maulsby
  • "Ode to My Sixty-Year-Old Uterus" by Suellen Wedmore
  • "Most Lives Don't Echo" by Timothy Hickey
  • "#dementia" by Kristyn Snedden
  • "I Never Caught His Name" by Jaclyn Youhana Garver
  • "Babocomari Creek" by Barb Miller
  • "Capturing the valley with my polaroid"  by Cassandra Merena
  • "Respite" by Mel Elberger
  • "First Kiss" by Judy Ware
  • “Dolphin Whisperer” by Carol Marie Despeaux Fawcett
  • “Old Men” by Stuart Forrest
  • “My Judgment Day” by Athena Nassar
  • “Sophomore” by Rebecca Buller
  • “Resolutions” by Rachel Morand
  • “Quid Pro Crow” by Susan Read Cronin
  • “A Lightning Rod as Eternal Happiness” by Camilla Johnson
  • “The Shadows” by Mel Elberger
  • “The Cathedral is Burning” by M.L. Lanzarotta
  • “Anchor Point” by Laura Joyce-Hubbard
  • “Strange Wake” by Madeline McCully
  • “Poetry Unrhyming” by Joan Tabor
  • “As if the Dead Had Eyes” by Pat Anthony
  • “The Goddess Comes Disguised as my Life” by Marlene Fabian Stiles
  • “Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, November 6th, 2020” by Vivian Underhill
  • “Full Disclosure” by Saudamini Siegrist
  • “THE SPIRIT MOVES YOU 2021” by Emory Jones
  • “August 30" by Marissa Deen
  • “PERTURBANCES” by Mary K. O’Melveny
  • “7PM Shout Out” by Paula Brancato
  • “and, again, there’s me” by Timothy Hickey
  • “TELL ME WHAT LIGHT IS” by Marla Alupoaicei
  • “Shared Wall” by Stuart Forrest
  • “Deadweight” by Rebecca Buller
  • “Behold this Pint of Oatmeal Cream Ale” by Jill Madden Melchoir

Judge: John Philip Drury is the author of four full-length poetry collections: The Disappearing Town and Burning the Aspern Papers (both from Miami University Press), The Refugee Camp (Turning Point Books), and Sea Level Rising (Able Muse Press). He has also written Creating Poetry and The Poetry Dictionary (both from Writer’s Digest Books). New poems have appeared recently in The American Journal of Poetry, Ascent, Literary Matters, Main Street Rag, Maryland Literary Review, Nine Mile, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. He has taught at the University of Cincinnati since 1985.

Script (Stage Play or TV/Movie)

  1. "Jaguar Woman" by Olga El
  2. "A Masquerade for All" by Peter A. Balaskas
  3. "Gozzy Boys" by Kat Svaldi
  4. "Modern Marriage" by Melissa L. White
  5. "FOMO" by Harold Katkov
  6. "This Play Is Utter B.S." by Krista Bergren-Walsh
  7. "Trixie" by Sean Oliver
  8. "The Beggar of Bethesda" by Colin Crowley
  9. "Marilyn, Mom, & Me" by Luke Yankee
  10. "Immune" by Alexandria Sanders 

Honorable Mentions

  • "THE ECHOES" by Omar Willis
  • "The Silver Thread" by Joslyn Housley
  • "Book Keepers - Homecoming (Pilot)" by Ioana Cosmin
  • "Weeds" by Louise Schweickerdt
  • "The Stoker Society: Episode 1 - Her Character Was Dreadfully Vicious" by Alex Paulk
  • "Fig Jam" by Frank J. Avella
  • "The Last Stand" by Steve Deighan
  • "The Book Club" by Sarah Vander Schaaff
  • "224" by Ferris Jones
  • "Madness For Two, (The Story of A Marriage)" by Brenda Shoshanna
  • "Orphaned at Christmas" by Joanne Guidoccio
  • "OUT AMONG THE DRAGONS" by Dan Noonan
  • "Hospice" by Elizabeth Coplan
  • "Spot Me" by Jake West
  • "The Rocking Chair Horse" by Bev DeMello
  • “Forger (6-16-21)” by Simon Bowler
  • “LITTLE SISTER” by Ferris Jones
  • “What Comes After Sorrow” by Ornella Ohayon
  • “Morality Games” by Alia Zeid
  • “By the Lake” by Zac Thompson
  • “Enders and Angels” by Kimberly Cifone
  • “Harold” by Dana Ragusitu
  • “afterglow” by Kelsi Maddock
  • “Down the Middle” by Elizabeth Coleman
  • “A Well-Seasoned Encore” by Mort Bernstein
  • “Ne-Ne’s Sweet Treats” by Mema Ayi
  • “Stand” by Jay Vazquez
  • “Disk is Full” by Emily Hulme and Peter Sikoski
  • “The Hollow Land” by William Gebby
  • “After Sundown” by Gordon Portman
  • “Afternoon Hours” by Victoria Kuzmina
  • “As It Falls” by Joshua Beasley
  • “Song of the Unborn” by Tyler Powell
  • “All the Things I Wasn’t” by Kim Blacklock
  • “Insurrection” by Simon Bowler
  • “Now Is Not the Time” by Therese Gamba
  • “The White Pocketbook” by Walt Bannon
  • “A HEARTFELT JOURNEY” by Carline Titus-Thermitus
  • “HUMAN NATURE” by Dan Morra

Judge: Joe Stollenwerk is the author of the book Today in History: Musicals. His produced plays include an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Nine Short Plays for the Theatre, Catalina, and his adaptation of Euripides’ These Women of Troy that will premiere in February 2022. His work has been produced at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, The Curio Theatre in Philadelphia, Indiana University, the University of South Dakota, the Mid-America Theatre Conference, the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, and elsewhere. He has also enjoyed serving as a judge for the Sioux City International Film Festival.

Print or Online Article

  1. "Surfacing an Aquatic Diaspora" by Elaine Howley
  2. "Back to the Drawing Board: Art on Plywood With the Plywood Project NOLA" by Kathy Bradshaw
  3. "Blessings of a mother: Eej Khad, the Mother Rock of Mongolia" by Angela Waldron
  4. "Throws of Passion: The History of the Mardi Gras Loot We Love" by Kathy Bradshaw
  5. "Melon Balls With the Iranian Secret Police by Lisa Jackson and Graham Williams
  6. "Bullying—Issues and Solutions" by Abir Sami Wood
  7. "Do You Know What It Means to Know New Orleans? Outsiders’ Perspectives of the Big Easy—Bourbon Street and Beyond" by Kathy Bradshaw
  8. "The Loneliness of the Black Long-Distance Swimmer" by Elaine Howley
  9. "The Native Origins of Freestyle" by Elaine Howley
  10. "Modern Cajuns—Playing Second Fiddle to No One" by Kathy Bradshaw 

Honorable Mentions

  • "Breath as a Blessing: The Transformative Power of Breath" by Angela Waldron
  • "Reciprocity With Mother Earth" by Cie Simurro
  • "What Happens When You Hate Dieting—But You Also Hate Your Body" by Dara P. Kapoor
  • "The Things We Work Through When Maybe We Shouldn't" by JL Lycette
  • "Why good health is more than a mouthful" by Rebecca Thoroughgood
  • "Keeping up with the Kims" by Lisa Jackson and Graham Williams
  • "Guided by an Iranian gig-aloo" by Lisa Jackson and Graham Williams
  • "Quadrennial" by Elaine Howley
  • "I Think I Love You, But Will You Spit in this Tube?" by Jill Viles
  • "Ambrose Bierce and the Fall of the Republic" by Richard Davis
  • "A Paralyzing Fear" by Elaine Howley
  • "The Odyssey of a Harlem Artist" by Sheryl Aronson
  • "The Invisible Hierarchy of Grief" by Felicia Sabartinelli
  • "The American Dream Hike" by Ray O'Conor
  • "An Airbag for your Amorous Side" by Jill Viles
  • “Fashion Forward” by Julie Jacobs
  • “Memories Are Gone but the Love Remains” by Candy Puterbaugh
  • “His Island in the Sky” by Candy Puterbaugh
  • “Always Seeking Her Light & Shining it on Others” by Candy Puterbaugh
  • “Love Later In Life” by Sheryl Aronson
  • “Bachelor’s Guide to Ikebana” by William Mohney
  • “A New Narrative of Human Nature” by John Wylie
  • “Dancing Outside the Box” by Sheryl Aronson
  • “I work with horses because people are so complicated. ” by Laura Bruno
  • “What Does it Mean to be a Woman? Or a Man? ” by Jennifer Della’Zanna
  • “Why We Need to Rethink Pet Loss” by Sarah Chauncey
  • “Love Triangle” by Hank Nuwer
  • “Raw Grief: Two Widows Strive for a New Beginning” by Kathleen Logan
  • “Mom’s Hammer” by Angela Waldron
  • “The Complex Chasm of Cure” by Jill Viles
  • “Happy Anniversary - James Morris Celebrates 50 Years at the Met” by Greg Waxberg
  • “New Zealand’s Exodus of the Innocents” by Jill Viles
  • “Newgrange: Ireland’s Neolithic gem” by Conor Makem
  • “Longtime Friends with British Royalty” by Marsha Porter
  • “Now That I Care For Her, I Feel For Her” by Jaya Padmanabhan
  • “This Land. Your Land. My Land. ” by Dawn Schock
  • “Evelyn: The Wished-For Child” by Jill Viles
  • “Mojave National Preserve” by Mary Taylor
  • “Patriarchal Poetry Slam: Amanda Gorman’s Poems Surpass Criticism” by Novaria Mary
  • “Would Archie Bunker Have Voted for Donald Trump? ” by William Heckler

Judge: Kelly Boyer Sagert ( is a full-time freelance writer. Sagert is the scriptwriter for the Emmy-Award-nominated documentary, Trail Magic: The Grandma Gatewood Story, and she has written the script for a documentary currently being filmed about Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president (in 1872). Sagert has published dozens of books—under her own name and as ghostwritten memoirs—as well as thousands of magazine articles, blog posts, literary pieces, and more. She teaches non-credit courses at Ohio colleges and vocational schools and has taught for Writer’s Digest’s online school since the inception in February 2000.

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