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Announcing the Winners of the 91st Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition

Congratulations to the winners of the 91st Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition!

Congratulations to the winners of the 91st Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition! For an interview with the Grand-Prize winner, see the November/December 2022 issue of Writer's Digest. See which WD competitions are currently accepting entries at WritersDigest.com/wd-competitions.

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Grand Prize

Jill Madden Melchoir, "The Birds of Menards" (non-rhyming poem). Read the poem here.

Memoir/Personal Essay

  1. "The Chasm Opens" by Vanessa Baehr-Jones
  2. "Resilience" by Mary Anne Ruddis
  3. "Between Banality and Blame: Hannah Arendt’s Controversial Claims on Eichmann, the Jewish Councils, and the Roles They Played in the Final Solution" by Shani J. Marshall
  4. "Educated" by Richelle Putnam
  5. "We’re Not Special: The Day History Changed for Me" by Jacob Ethan Schapiro
  6. "To the Lady of the Evening in Moscow" by Betsy Armtrongs
  7. "My Personal Field of Dreams" by Brett Talbott
  8. "Parchment Leather and Cloth" by Carol Rich
  9. "Marriage" by Kristine Elizabeth Wolfe
  10. "A Change of Heart" by Jennifer Lendvai-Lintner 

Honorable Mentions

  • “Dar es Salaam” by Monica Stein-Olson
  • “Life and Death in East Africa” by Monica Stein-Olson
  • “The Yellow Rose” by Gail M. Silver
  • “Three Little Words” by Melissa Giberson
  • “The Surprisingly Simple Cure for the Working Mom's Guilt” by Teresa Mugambi
  • “How to Write a Poem About the Ocean” by Rebecca Clay
  • “Throwing Stones at Glass” by Bill Werick
  • “Decades” by Kim Kavanagh
  • “A Prelude to a Negro's Suicide Note” by Allen Price
  • “DONE” by Paris Abell
  • “Voice Of a New Day” by T.M. Kehoe
  • “Not A Bad Mom: Rising Above Grief and Loss” by Katie Clark
  • “Women of a Sort” by Alan Jaye
  • “My Fall From Grace” by Betsy Armstrong
  • “Black Teacher White Education” by John Bellamy
  • “Like Me, You’re Not a Feminist Until You Realize You Actually Despise Women and Femininity” by Joleen Ancheta
  • “Changing the Status Quo of Sleep, a Personal Statement” by Zorianna Petrosyan
  • “Moonstone” by Ani Artinian
  • “A Caregiver's Abecadarian” by John Jacobson
  • “Going Through His Stuff” by Cathie Godfrey
  • “Confabulating” by Jane F. Hacking
  • “Absolutely Positive” by Suzanne Lezotte
  • “Before I Forget” by Pamela Cravez
  • “5 Reasons to Make Water Sacred Again” by Jeff Miller
  • “Kylee Gardenia Rose Bella, aka Water Dragon, and Me” by Donna Surgenor
  • “YOUniverse” by Michael DeFranco
  • “From Heart to Heart There Is a Path” by Genine Babakian
  • “Children of the Sun” by Lorena Hernandez Leonard
  • “Life Light” by Sarah Piper
  • “snap shots” by m.miller
  • “Phantom Pain” by Scarlett Noelle
  • “Zerrissenheit” by Philip Eugene Timm
  • “Letter from Clyde the Wheelchair” by Jennifer Bridgman
  • “Prodigality Writ Large” by Lyn Brakeman
  • “Etchings” by Taylor Stotler
  • “When Katie's Flower Blossomed” by Kayla Caceda
  • “Michelle Obama and Me” by Audrey Obremski
  • “Thomas” by Matt Cheek
  • “Family Secrets” by T.N. Estes
  • “Lizzie's Last Stand” by Valerie Kuhn Reid
  • “Once There Was a House—The Hardin House” by Linda Kleinschmidt
  • “What Elvis Taught Me” by Diantha Ellis
  • “The Gift” by Maia
  • “Taking the Reins” by Jennifer Bridgman
  • “Finding Mom Again” by Betsy Armstrong

Judge: Richard Campbell (GuidedLifeStories.com) is co-author of Writing Your Legacy: The Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting Your Life Story, released worldwide by Writer’s Digest Books. Richard has done freelance work for Canadian newspapers and CBC Radio. He has also appeared on several Top 50 CBS affiliate radio stations across the United States. He has sailed on several Windstar transatlantic crossings where he offers his Writing Your Life Story enrichment opportunity to guests. 

Inspirational/Spiritual

  1. "One Mourning in Moore Haven" by Brian Wedlake
  2. "Cloud of Witnesses" by Daniel Cooperrider
  3. "Olga’s Therapy" by Rochelle
  4. "We Can’t All Be Snow White" by Teresa Vilaseca
  5. "Third Grade Gridiron" by Sandra Bohman
  6. "The Color Gray" by Elaine Gordon
  7. "Sisters" by Barb Miller
  8. "Flying Lessons" by Robin Rogel
  9. "John the Gatherer" by Barbara Sapienza
  10. "See Their Faces" by Janet Fichter 

Honorable Mentions

  • “What If?/The Sequal ("Lord, I Don't Want to Die a Christian...")” by Chandrika Phea
  • “A New Year’s Wish for God” by Dennis Gladden
  • “The Inexcusable” by Paula Drake
  • “The Fort” by Tim Wehr
  • “God the Heavenly Mechanic” by Allison Christopher
  • “A TINY HAND OF REASSURANCE” by Kelly Vavala
  • “Sour Grapes” by Barb Miller
  • “Against All Obstacles… (a chapter of surviving cancer, addiction, and my own misery)” by Yvonne T. Samuels
  • “Senseless” by William John Rostron
  • “A Little Bit of Hope” by Janene Roberts Massieh
  • “A Miracle Moment” by Nanette Norgate
  • “My Other Half” by Jennifer Kray
  • “Is Dance Class the Answer?” by Beth Olson
  • “Standing Firm” by Pamela Anderson
  • “Spiritual Navigator” by Diane Haring
  • “Talisman” by Ida Soon-ok Hart
  • “A Mother's Day Story” by Eric Richardson
  • “I Weep for History” by Lily Lionheart
  • “Serendipity, is what we called it, in the Sixties” by Gracie Ryan
  • “Mrs. Warner” by Susan Winters
  • “Seen” by Lori Domingo
  • “The Sudden Immensity of the Little Muffin” by E. A. Carter
  • “Buried Treasure” by M.H. Asci
  • “Breath as a Blessing: The Transformative Power of Breath” by Angela Waldron
  • “Ava's Bubble” by William John Rostron
  • “Cat's in the Cradle” by William John Rostron
  • “True Happiness” by Victoria Keller
  • “Blu” by Ysabel San Pedro Schuld
  • “Reflections on Mortality” by Pierce Scranton
  • “What happened to the God of the stars?” by J.M. Fletcher
  • “The Last of the Five Senses” by Anita O'Carroll
  • “Enlightenment” by M. Kate McNally
  • “St. Mihiel, 1944” by Connie Harris
  • “The Healing Power of Forgiveness” by Ilsa B. Reyes
  • “Johnny” by Robert Longmeier

Judge: Sharon Naylor Toris has been a Writer’s Digest contest judge for years and is also the author of 30+ nonfiction books, including The Stories of This House (Tarcher Perigee, 2022). She lives in New Jersey with her husband Joe and their kitten Jinkx. She has appeared on GMA, Oprah, Lifetime, and in countless articles and syndicated columns. She has also published two novels: It’s My Wedding Too and It’s Not My Wedding: But I’m in Charge.

Children’s/Young Adult Fiction

  1. "Cicada Summer" by Marina Richards
  2. "Octopus Girl Waits for the Bus" by Sasha Wolff
  3. "The Boy in the Mirror" by Jude Clee
  4. "The Hunter Street Mice by Beryl Mouldey
  5. "Toynapped! by H.D. Vesser
  6. "Little Monsters Need Lots of Hugs" by Kathleen Jacobs
  7. "Heroic Hammie" by Jenna Johnson
  8. "Isabella Castaspella: The Happy Little Witch and Her Friends" by Parvati Markus and Radha Baum
  9. "Igor the Iguana is Missing" by Joan D. Selby
  10. "The Stowaway" by Kathleen Nicklaus 

Honorable Mentions

  • “Snow Tomorrow” by Brittany Saulnier
  • “Night Lights” by Barbara Cole
  • “ON THE NAUGHTY LIST” by Kathleen Jacobs
  • “Safia and the Aunties” by Jeneen Nammar
  • “Faith in You” by Christine Gallus
  • “She Waited on Whales” by Jobie Scarborough
  • “Sticks and Daphne Teach Crate Games to Your Puppy!” by Olivia T. & Lucia G. Vignola
  • “Drea's Dragons” by Terri Yannetti
  • “Giuseppe, my mischievous goat!” by Robin C. Di Leo Banta
  • “There's Always Room for (Four) More” by Lisa Buscemi Reiss
  • “Pizzarella—A Pineapple and Canadian Bacon Love Story” by Ashley Kirven-Bobier
  • “Growing Up. The Adventures of Remmi the Pony” by Cris Stetler
  • “What the 'Gater Gave Me” by Rebecca Alford D'Amato
  • “How The Light Gets Her Patches” by Irina Sotirova
  • “How the Lion Got His Mane” by James Stephen Lee
  • “Sydney Pinkman is My Friend” by F. William Lester
  • “Zelda's Wish” by Ivy Junetree
  • “Proud in Her Hijab: A Story of Family Strength, Empowerment and Identity” by Zinet Kemal
  • “The Dream Blanket” by Joanne Cough Smith and Elise N. Cavaney, illustrated by Meredith Cough
  • “October Mountain” by Cheryl A. Davis
  • “Water Your Human” by Nicole Kohr
  • “It's not OK to hit” by Jennifer Cruden
  • “Fire Season” by Rachel Delaney Craft
  • “It's Not Easy Being Green” by Theresa Schimmel
  • “Cocoa plus Powdered Sugar” by Becky Steiner
  • “Ms. Lumpster and the Halloween Witch” by Mary Rhee
  • “STORM ROLLS IN” by Diane Landy
  • “Gene's Blue World” by Karalyn Semonian
  • “Any One Thing” by Jayne Jenner
  • “The Selkie's Daughter” by Rachel Delaney Craft
  • “STUCK IN A RUT SOPHIA” by Kathleen Jacobs
  • “Devil of a Night” by Patricia Koelmel
  • “Bertina Willoughby Loves Words” by Patricia Albrecht
  • “Sparkles in the Snow” by Margaret Speck Ogawa
  • “Willie and The Wildfire” by Barbara Wollan

Judge: Ryan Ireland, PhD, is the author of 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 OnTheRoadWithAdie.com.

Genre Short Story

  1. "Shooting Star" by Maura Beth Brennan
  2. "The Monster in the Woods" by Renee Roberson
  3. "A Hell of a Spring Break" by Patrick Weill
  4. "Death & Deception at the Codwall Inn" by Denise Johnson
  5. "Snake in the Grass" by BV Lawson
  6. "The Shifter" by P. J. Leigh
  7. "No Rest for the Wicked" by Abigail Melchior
  8. "The Heart’s Compass" by Jennifer Shackleford
  9. "Siddhi" by Sara Lipowitz
  10. "Get Your Game On" by Mary Jo Wyse

Honorable Mentions

  • “Comedy is Hard” by Meredith Anthony
  • “How to Fall From a Pecan Tree” by Britt C. D.
  • “Table for Two” by Emily
  • “I Meant To Tell Her” by Bonny Beswick
  • “Lately I've Been Counting Scars” by Sarah Pottenger
  • “The Battle for Brooklyn Heights” by Richard Goff
  • “The Best Parts of You” by Jennifer Ridge
  • “Shade” by Shawn Schuster
  • “The Third-Grade Cold War” by Karen Kent
  • “The Secret of Harper Lee” by Melinda Farris
  • “A Table for Two” by Alexander Willging
  • “The Willow Tree” by Barbara Schreibke
  • “Positive” by Sofia Resendiz
  • “Always” by James Romag
  • “Boxcars” by Robert Burns
  • “The Leader of the Pack” by Avery Saylor
  • “Their Intrusion” by Paula Drake
  • “One Family” by Jason Hagen
  • “Deadlinks” by T.M. Kehoe
  • “Beginnings and Endings” by Kelly Thomas
  • “Drilling Holes Through Fences” by Kevin Tennert
  • “Home is Where Your Roots Grow” by L. A. Wibberley
  • “A Typhoon over Switzerland” by John Doane
  • “A Girl Like Her” by Catherine Hsu
  • “Sharpened Teeth” by Shakira Smith
  • “The Shadow” by Bambi Arnold-Bush
  • “Ernie Entwistle's Comeuppance” by Katherine Williams
  • “Semicolon” by Patricia Ljutic
  • “Aspen” by Sydney Aguas
  • “Dagger Ice in a Bourbon Glass” by Mikal Ennis
  • “My Best Friend's Body” by Zoe Kerr
  • “Memories in the Rearview” by Angela Kirby
  • “The Bite” by Diana Walker
  • “Chains” by Rita Ciresi
  • “Last Stop” by Brian Huber
  • “War & Glory” by A.R. Kent
  • “Schrödinger’s Email” by C.R. Sturgill
  • “Seedling” by J.H. Holloway
  • “Redemption Blues” by Jennifer Slee
  • “Shaya” by Linda Glen
  • “A Life Unlived” by Tamara Radloff
  • “The House Always Wins” by Brenda Rech
  • “How Maple Met Her Destiny” by Ginger Panico
  • “The Lost Girls” by Margaret Worden
  • “The Goody-Goody Girl” by Christine Kelly
  • “The Last Dragon” by Jeff Hodgdon
  • “Into The Abyss” by Michael C. Sahd
  • “The Killing Room” by Alex Lin
  • “The Last Kill” by Mackenzie Hurlbert
  • “At Night You Belong to Me” by F.E. Choe

Judge: Audrey Wick (AudreyWick.com) 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 first novel, Island Charm, released in 2021. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @WickWrites. 

Mainstream/Literary Short Story

  1. "The Lasso" by Caitlin Brady
  2. "The Lute" by A.C.S. Bird
  3. "Red and Feathered" by Morgan Victoria
  4. "Small Town Circus" by Angel Sands Gunn
  5. "Another Kind of Communion" by Brianna Fenty
  6. "The Barber" by Elizabeth Lyvers
  7. "Waking Up to Yellow" by Margaret Speck Ogawa
  8. "Confessions" by Rachel Nipp
  9. "More Than Enough" by Andrew Laing
  10. "The King of Lifts" by Susan Burkart 

Honorable Mentions

  • “The Grave Tender” by ST Chapman
  • “Hap” by Suphil Lee Park
  • “The Mirror and the Wall of Women” by Zain Sheikh
  • "Marlene” by Kay Summers
  • “Deece” by Philip Wimberly
  • “Shrimp Salad Suicide” by Memo Ford
  • "Cenote” by Sandra Dascensao
  • “The Letter” by Victor McConnell
  • “Henry and Ellie” by Jane de Milo
  • “Lex Talionis” by Hannah Brown
  • “Temporal” by Joanna Milanes
  • “An Excerpt from The American Abyss” by Nico Haven
  • “A Touch of Spice” by Charlotte Hammond
  • “New Seas” by Peter Hankins
  • “Big Trees” by Crissi Langwell
  • “Christmas Lights” by Valerie Katagiri
  • “What Should We Do About Pink Eye” by Raissa M. Browne
  • “Survivors” by Samantha Ryan
  • “Pan Dulce and Coffee” by Linda Glen
  • “Another Trip to the Woods” by Marissa Tian
  • “Pig Video” by Jack Mace
  • “Fallen” by Stephen Strickler
  • "License” by Patricia Childs
  • “Chance Encounter” by Daniel Biezad
  • “House Sitting” by Ari Li
  • “Three Words for What We've Lost” by Laura Vogt
  • “Special Occasions” by Cheryl A Head
  • “Pills to Swallow” by Katelyn M. Pike
  • “I am Light” by Melissa L. Whit
  • “Sicko” by Sarah Daniels
  • “The Magic of Biscuit Making” by Terri Miller
  • “Already There” by Kevin Sandefur
  • “On Saturday” by Mark Lindensmith
  • “Geraniums for Autumn” by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz
  • “A Stitch in Time” by Amber Fenik
  • “Naked” by Suzanne Kazenoff Rosenzweig
  • “Texas” by Elizabeth Fay Furlong
  • “Hamlet” by Richard Attree
  • “Another Great Day to Breathe” by Erik Abbott
  • “To Beat the Band” by M. M. Morth
  • “The (Un)Happy are Always (Un)Satisfied” by C.T. Belmont
  • “Was She Safe?” by Valerie Vince
  • “Reaching for Venus” by Joshua Rodriguez
  • “Flying in the Wind” by Ellen Schmalholz
  • “Sea Change” by Shelley Gaske
  • “The Trials and Tribulations of Hamlet's Mother” by Elena Kaufman
  • “By the Sea” by Mel Konner
  • “Port Protection” by Jennifer Kane

Judge: Krystel Chenault is a writer and editor for an education publisher, a PhD candidate, and lifelong creative writer. Currently, she writes materials for parents and students from preschool through college on topics like college readiness, academic success, social-emotional learning, mental health, and more.  

Rhyming Poetry

  1. "Unalloyed Love" by Nadra Dupé Henderson
  2. "Adolescence in America, 1965" by Norman Goodwin
  3. "Pink (a Ghazal)" by Carrie Magness Radna
  4. "Edinburgh Twilight" by Mel Konner
  5. "RING OF GLASS" by Mercer Warriner
  6. "Both Out Far and In Deep" by Stephen Pollock
  7. "Say Love—A Ghazal" by Julie Bowdren
  8. "On Writing a Sonnet" by William Preston
  9. "Villanelle For Black Holes" by Mary K. O’Melveny
  10. "Prayer Flags in Cherry Hill" by Randall Rickman 

Honorable Mentions

  • “Baldwin Beach” by Mel Konner
  • “Pantoum for Ernie” by Janet Jones Bann
  • “Adrift upon a lake of anguish soft” by Chelsea Jehanne Fox
  • “Twice We Moved” by William Preston
  • “Coils” by Victoria Mary Fach
  • “Moose and Cookie” by Shawn Hayes
  • “The Visit” by Keely Fay
  • “8904—GhostlyGame” by Kate Adams
  • “Snip” by Aaron Mitchell
  • “A Sheep Speaks” by Graham Kash
  • “ARIA IN BEE” by Victoria Mary Fach
  • “For My Bildungsroman” by Patrick Walker
  • “odalisque” by m.miller
  • “Driving to School” by John Stephen Davis
  • “Dad’s Only Hug” by John Stephen Davis
  • “Convalescent Summer” by Mel Konner
  • “Kovalam Dawn” by Mel Konner
  • “Kxai-kxai Dawn” by Mel Konner
  • “Maun Sanctuary” by Mel Konner
  • “Soundview Dawn, December” byMel Konner
  • “Vermont Moment” by Mel Konner
  • “NO DISRESPECT IM UNFORGETTING VIOLA” by Tafari Zharr
  • “Farewell” by John Stephen Davis
  • “In the Park” by Graham Kash
  • “Frank Einstein” by Webb Smith
  • “Dreams Never Come True (For Those Who Never Dream)” by Larry Gildersleeve
  • “Oak” by Stephen Pollock
  • “Mourning Dove” by Tracy McFerrin
  • “Zombie Fires” by Stephen Pollock
  • “The Last Will” by David Zheng
  • “Shall We Go Down to the Sea Again?” by Carol Blackwell
  • “Dissonance” by Ashanti Files
  • “Dirt Diggers” by Maurice Le Gardeur
  • “Invisible” by Larry Anderson
  • “Godless Goddess” by Erin Rose
  • “And I Must Stand to Feel the Breeze” by Barbara Burgess
  • “Morning Coffee” by Kathy Humenik
  • “The Good Fortune Kitchen” by Pooi Hing Brown
  • “The Spinster” by Emma Cameron
  • “I Battle Giants” by Haley Papa
  • “Potomac Trench, 3022” by Stephen Pollock
  • “Erika” by Roger Osmond
  • “My relationships” by Dennis Rhodes
  • “Range” by Graham Kash
  • “Shakespeare-Derived” by Graham Kash

Judge: RJ Clarken's work has been published in Writer’s Digest, Möbius, AsininePoetry, Measure Poetry Magazine, USA Today Online, Sol Magazine, and Trellis Magazine, among other literary publications. She is the author of Mugging for the Camera, a quirky, humorous collection of poetry, and was the editor of Goldfinch, the literary magazine of Women Who Write, a N.J. not-for-profit women’s writing collective. 

Non-Rhyming Poetry

  1. "Music We Make in the Basement" by Alison Luterman
  2. "Ella, Scatting" by Alison Luterman
  3. "A Fisherman’s Wife Greets the Dawn Alone" by Suellen Wedmore
  4. "Botticelli’s Birth of Venus" by Cassandra Merena
  5. "Autumn Coast" by Hans Stahlschmidt
  6. "The Child is Father" by G.R. Kramer
  7. "Ukrainian Women Singing" by Alison Luterman
  8. "The Maple Seeds" by A.C.S. Bird
  9. "Acadia" by Brian Kerr
  10. "Hot Mess" by Caroline Fernandez 

Honorable Mentions

  • “Diary of a Dead Eel Boy” by Dean Gessie
  • “Where I'm From” by Anne Westlund
  • “Confessional” by J.W. Rose
  • “Women Who Ran Seattle: Olga Bolstad ski jumped her way through the glass ceiling” by Lori Bellamy
  • “The beginning of Eros” by Lina Buividavičiūtė
  • “First Dive” by Francy Judge
  • “Why I Bought a Sheepadoodle from an Amish Breeder in Ohio” by Suellen Wedmore
  • “Bulletproof” by David Demro
  • “To Whom It May Concern” by Yiskah Rosenfeld
  • “Is it Really the Sun?” by Pat Kelley
  • “Returns” by Susan Chambers
  • “The New Normal” by Donna Kelly
  • “still point in mariupol” by Broderick Eaton
  • “Inheritance” by Sidney Jones Jr.
  • “Disarming Comfort” by Israel White
  • “Van Leeuwenhoek & Vermeer Contemplate Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, Painted as Both Dutchmen Were Being Conceived” by Jonathan Greenhause
  • “Wanted, Dead or Alive” by Tanya Bhanaut
  • “The Next Bookstore” by Michael Lee Phillips
  • "The Supernova Kid” by Mark Henderson
  • “Hunger” by Janet Jones Bann
  • “End of Life” by Reni Roxas
  • “At the Overlook, Brooklyn Botanic Garden” by Redd Ryder
  • “War Criminal” by Redd Ryder
  • “Small Craft Warnings” by Redd Ryder
  • “Scene in a Yard” by Tyler Jones
  • “Swimming, in Three Dips” by Catherine R. Seeley
  • “The Good Dog's Dilemma” by Catherine R. Seeley
  • “Nest, Abandoned” by Lauren de Vore
  • “'member that tulsa twilight?” by Bailey Harrison
  • “Metro Romeo” by Julia Ergovich
  • “Bucket List” by Kathleen Lawrence
  • “Letter From Carthage” by Redd Ryder
  • “A Secret Letter for K.” by Jaclyn Youhana Garver
  • “Mood Ring” by Elizabeth Toner
  • “All the Stars in the Universe” by Cheryl Fowler
  • “Truth” by John Stephen Davis
  • “Imperative” by John Stephen Davis
  • “From Foster to Forever” by John Stephen Davis
  • “Lovelorn Place/Unrhymed Poetry” by Catherine McCraw
  • "Sunrise at 30,000 Feet” by Sara Letourneau
  • “Our Viral Vernacular” by Allen E. Tullos
  • “In the Illuminated Realm” by Miles Liss
  • “Sailing Away” by Jacqueline Shortell-McSweeney
  • “a waterlogged spiritual” by Bailey Harrison
  • “I Let the Mosquito Bite Me When I Held You” by Jaclyn Youhana Garver
  • “Rapid Journey” by Jahleen Turnbull-Sousa
  • “(i, i)” by Andreas Lucien Nussbaumer
  • “Breakfast in Bed” by Kathleen Lawrence
  • “Why Do People Get Tattoos” by Samantha Puett

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 most recently, Sea Level Rising (Able Muse Press). His awards include a Pushcart Prize, an Ingram Merrill Foundation fellowship, two Ohio Arts Council grants, and the Bernard F. Conners Prize from The Paris Review. He is an emeritus professor of English at the University of Cincinnati. 

Script (Stage Play or TV/Movie)

  1. "The Mad Scene" by Wim Coleman
  2. "Plastic Women" by Princess Berr
  3. "Hysterical" by Suzanne Booker
  4. "Veils of Justice" by Tita Anntares
  5. "Arlene" by Jessica Anderson
  6. "Touch Point" by Wayne Christensen
  7. "In Broad Daylight" by Sandy Snow
  8. "So Long, Sock Monkey" by Dean Gessie
  9. "U Herd (sic)" by Craig Donald
  10. "Adventures in Serial Killing" by John Munn 

Honorable Mentions

  • “Cyborn” by Mark Renshaw
  • “The Women Decide” by Mere Walton
  • “The Cinematic Legacy of Roderick Rime” by Peter A. Balaskas
  • “Clipper” by Katharine Panzella
  • "Divine Monster and Her Men” by Elena Kaufman
  • “Moondog's Progress” by Dan Flanigan
  • “The Appointment” by Jennifer Chaney
  • “Monster” by Toni Betzner
  • “Blue Moon” by Tom Mercer
  • “God's Necklace” by Morgan Kinnally
  • “Tennessee Wet Rub” by Kim Ruyle
  • “Cafe Guru” by Laura Thoma
  • “War and Pita” by Rima Lyn
  • “Mamadou and Harry” by Paul Kodiak
  • “BIOFARE” by Regina Davis Moss
  • “Hot Water” by Tamsin Marischal
  • “Red Velvet” by Priya Ele
  • “Death Interrupted” by Toni Betzner
  • “Another Place” by Francy Judge
  • "The War That Never Was" by Charles Witt
  • “For the Best” by Austin Alexis
  • “Racing Nellie Bly” by Barbara Rose
  • “Ever Green” by Stephanie Rosen
  • “The Complexian” by Mario Kersey

Judge: Joe Stollenwerk is the author of Today in History: Musicals. His produced plays include a one-woman adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, his Euripides adaptation These Women of Troy, Nine Short Plays for the Theatre, Catalina, and Jan and Joe. He serves on the Board of Directors for the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival and the Sioux City International
Film Festival. 

Nonfiction Essay or Article

  1. "Blessings of a Mother: Eej Khad, the Mother Rock of Mongolia" by Angela Waldron
  2. "A Chicken-and-Egg Situation: Easter and Its Many Traditions" by Kathy Bradshaw
  3. "Swimming to Ukraine" by Elaine Howley
  4. "Buddhism is Science" by Branner D’Amato
  5. "Why I Love Franz Boas—and You Should Too" by Alan McGowan
  6. "Witch’s Brew" by Elaine Howley
  7. "I’m Gonna Buy a Car" by MK Christian
  8. "A Utilitarian Revolution" by Elaine Howley
  9. "Medication saves lives in the pandemic, but at what cost?" by Chengye Lin
  10. "Esteemed Earthenware: A look at Mexico’s centuries-old art of making Talavera ceramics" by Rebecca L. Rhoades 

Honorable Mentions

  • “A Capitol Controversy: One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s greatest buildings may be one he never built” by Rebecca L. Rhoades
  • “Non-fiction article” by Jill Viles
  • “Non-fiction article” by Jill Viles
  • “Reality: Impossibly Improbable” by Skip Johnson
  • “Franz Boas and Freedom of Speech” by Alan McGowan
  • “It’s Time to Make Children’s Mental Health a Priority” by Brooke Bentley Gunst
  • “Edge of Obsession” by David Raney
  • “Nonfiction/Essay” by Ryleigh Norgrove
  • “Crafting Comfort” by Emily R. McMackin
  • “Non-fiction article” by Jill Viles
  • “Swimming as Collector's Item” by Elaine Howley
  • “A Voice for Good Trouble” by Elaine Howley
  • “What's for Dinner” by Elaine Howley
  • “Dave Koz: Entering Act III of His Career and His Life!” by Sheryl Aronson
  • "At Least You Knew it was Coming" by Nancy Myers Rust
  • “Card for Sale” by Cathy Davis
  • “Sintra's Pena Palace and the Artist King Who Built It” by Danni Sabota
  • “William G. Dabney: ‘I wasn't afraid of the D-Day invasion, but I didn't think I'd come out alive'” by Dr. Forest Issac Jones and Anton Jones
  • “Block Cancer” by Elaine Howley
  • “Should Wimbledon Have Banned Russian and Belarusian Players?” by Paul Fein
  • “There Goes the Neighborhood! The History of New Orleans Neighborhoods” by Kathy Bradshaw
  • “Point of Vieux: What the Vieux Carré Commission Is Really About” by Kathy Bradshaw
  • “Main Squeeze: Getting to Know the Accordion” by Kathy Bradshaw
  • “Starving to be Normal” by Anne Jeffreys
  • “Dead End—New Orleanians' Final Resting Places (The History of New Orleans Cemeteries)” by Kathy Bradshaw
  • “The Women’s Room” by Stephanie Kilpatrick
  • “10 Ways to Fall in Love with Paris” by Nanette Norgate
  • “Saint Roseline” by William Brent Heckler
  • “Chicago has a Secret (and Quite the Menagerie)” by Chad Parsons
  • "Getting Trashed at Mardi Gras: Garbage Cleanup During Carnival” by Kathy Bradshaw
  • “Pest-Case Scenarios: Life in the Bug Easy--Bugs and Rodents in New Orleans, Part 1” by Kathy Bradshaw
  • “One for the Road Trip: Roadside Attractions in Louisiana” by Kathy Bradshaw
  • “Call Me T-Rex” by William John Rostron
  • “Time Has Been and Gone” by William John Rostron
  • “Melissa Manchester: Reimagining Her Classic Hits in Her 24th Album Re: View” by Sheryl Aronson

Judge: Kelly Boyer Sagert is a freelance writer with 32 years of professional experience. She has traditionally published more than a dozen books and ghostwritten about two dozen memoirs. She is the sole scriptwriter for the Emmy Award-nominated documentary, Trail Magic: The Grandma Gatewood Story. She has taught writing classes online for Writer’s Digest University since its inception in 2000 and teaches non-credit courses at Ohio colleges and career schools. 

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