11th Annual Contest Results!

Oct 7, 2015 | Archive, News

BWR is pleased to announce the winners and runners-up of our 11th Annual Contest in Prose, Poetry, and Nonfiction. Each winner will receive $1,000 and publication in issue 42.2 of BWR (forthcoming this spring), and each runner-up will receive $100.

Jill Rosenberg was selected as the prose winner for her story, “The Twins.” Fiction judge Alissa Nutting writes:

“The Twins” is a tour de force that delights in even its most macabre scenes–the surprises keep unfolding till the very end. It’s brilliant, complex, multifaceted…what a darkly charming piece of fabulism, what an unlimited treasure trove of metaphor. All the while, it still manages true empathy. I truly might read this story once a week for the rest of my life.

Kimberly King Parsons was selected as the prose runner up for her story, “Fellowship.” Alissa writes,

“Fellowship” is an emotional powerhouse of a story: hilarious, sad, confrontational. The social commentary throughout is smart and heartbreaking and so masterfully executed through characterization. It moves through the weightiest of topics with ease and unflinching credibility. I love it–it has stayed with me.

Mark Baumer was selected as the poetry winner for his poem “b careful.” Poetry judge Heather Christle says:

Here we find a sequence of good and bad and bright ideas from the mind of a poet who grins “It feels illegal to write the way I write sometimes.” This poem is the brash and unnervingly unpredictable person with whom you very much hope to spend a whole party. Reading it, I filled up with glee and anticipation for what would come next, or, to put it in the words of Eliza Doolittle, “I could have danced all night and still have begged for more.”

“Wolfmoon” by Mary-Alice Daniel was selected as the runner-up. Heather says,

“Wolfmoon” confidently brushes aside crusty voices who would forbid new poets the moon and howls out its own lunar tune. The closing line of its first section (which I am refraining from quoting here so as to not interfere too greatly with other readers’ experience), is just fantastic, a slightly askew combination of adverb and credo I’d like to print on all sorts of surfaces, possibly beginning with my face.

“Huron River Drive” by Will McGrath was selected as the nonfiction winner. Nonfiction judge Mary Roach says:

This is why I love nonfiction.  I was brought into a world I did not know existed — that of the outreach case manager, a social worker who crawls around under freeways and in the ragged fringes of parkland helping homeless who prefer to stay out of shelters. There in that world I grew to care about two men I’ve never met, which is quite a feat in the short span of 23 pages. That’s what the writing did.  The author’s compassion and wit, his eye for a telling detail and his ear for dialogue — all of it comes together as a pitch-perfect rendering of these two humans in letters on a page.  The pacing and structure are so flawlessly managed  that you are never aware of the hard work  that surely went into them; you are simply there in the scene, in the car or the supermarket, moving along with the characters.   And finally there is the craft of the writing.  May I show rather than tell?  “For people who spend their days drifting in isolation it is a disorienting and beautiful thing to have someone contradict the basic premise of your invisibility.”  I wanted more.

And about our nonfiction runner-up”Three Great Lyric Passages” by Hugh Martin, Mary writes,

The author of Three Great Lyric Passages has done something extraordinary here.  He has chosen to focus on two simple moments in his life after Iraq, rather than the more obvious narrative material of deployment.   In reflecting on his behavior in these two brief episodes, he tells a story more powerful and resonant than many of the more conventional war or war-aftermath memoirs we read.   It’s a quietly courageous, surprising, poignant take on combat, manhood, and the fragility of human psyche.  The writing is spare and beautiful and funny where you don’t expect funny to be.

Congratulations to the winners!

We also want to congratulate the finalists in each genre, listed below. This was a year full of beautiful, moving, haunting, unforgettable work, and we have these people especially to thank.

Poetry finalists:

Ruth Baumann
Robert Campbell
Terence Huber
Cintia Santana
Mara Scrupe
Jaya Stenquist
Talin Tahajian
Eric Weinstein
Felicia Zamora

Fiction finalists:

Bridget Brewer
Deirdre Coyle
Peg Daniels
Casey Haymes
Jessica Malordy
Kate McQuade
Maya Sonenberg
Jan Stinchcomb
Laura Walter

Nonfiction finalists:

Kate Angus
Jesse Donaldson
Georgie Hunt
Rochelle Hurt
Shelley Puhak
Amy Thomas
Sarah Viren