2016 Contest Results!

Oct 3, 2016 | Archive, News

BWR is pleased to announce the winners and runners-up of our 2016 Contest in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry, judged by Sofia Samatar, T Clutch Fleischmann, and Hoa Nguyen. Each winner will receive $1,000 and publication in BWR 43.2 (forthcoming this spring), and each runner-up will receive $100.

Ava Tomasula y Garcia was selected as the prose winner for the story, “Videoteca Fin del Mundo.” Fiction judge Sofia Samatar writes:

“Videoteca Fin del Mundo” is a breathless rush of feeling: the terrifying sound of the everyday. Its plot is the struggle to represent both the American Dream and its underside, the ceaseless apocalypse of migrant experience. Reading this story, I was swept up by the fierce and restless language, the quick changes from confession to reportage, and the tension created as the narrator walks the border between seeing and not seeing, between guilt and action, between social systems and the nervous system of the body.

Abby Horowitz was selected as the prose runner-up for the story, “Tell Me a Story About Lions.” Samatar writes:

“Tell Me a Story About Lions” is a fairytale with teeth. It brings together the figures of the mother and the carnivore, pitting care of the self against caring for others. The results are gripping, unsettling, and delicious.

Rocket Caleshu was selected as the nonfiction winner for the essay “Whatever.” Nonfiction judge T Clutch Fleischmann writes:

The cool and calculated dismissal of “whatever” is rendered into a vehicle of deep thought in this striking essay. Launching off from Agamben but moving along with the “I” of the personal essay, “Whatever” guides us one step closer to being “ineffable and intelligible simultaneously,” a state where we are allowed to be without having to end by becoming. The same embodiment that makes the essay possible (“Were it not for my sudden, T-induced confidence, I can’t figure how I’d be writing this to you so blithely”) allows it to be beautifully resistant of its own supposed trajectory. “Whatever” as a mood, “Whatever” as a voice, “Whatever” as a way to resist the thing we choose to inhabit. I read this, and then read it again– I hope you will, too.

Sarah Cook was selected as the nonfiction runner-up for the essay, “The Future of the Lying Body.” Fleischmann writes:

“is it the burden of the writer to confuse bodies with their words?” the essay “The Future of the Lying Body: Overly Attached to Language” asks early on. An honest question, and one of several that drive it forward. There is a paradox at the core of writing about the body– that it evades language, that words and embodiment have different chronologies and lifespans to them. Rather than balk at these problems, “Future of the Lying Body” uses its own inventive forms and stark voice to go more fully into them. “What does it mean to just shut up already about my future body & be a body now,” it asks, and in response continues to write, to find its beautiful “birdknowing.”

Kirsten Ihns was selected as the poetry winner for the poem, “The Autobiographical Subject.” Poetry judge Hoa Nguyen writes:

This poem speaks back to the contract of the self or selves–how these are manipulated and made and “ruled” by religion, history, those that own the factories. Sonically and formally complex and mutable–it asserts and reverts in the many complications.

Lauren Eggert-Crowe was selected as the poetry runner-up for the poem, “Heaven Make Me a Warrior to Slay All the Bad Magic.” Nguyen writes:

Controlled and powerful as “a boxed up/ zephry”, this short poem speaks back to power in the power of the speaker “I” who remains inside of its particulars and positions–even as it approaches its subject with a hope for intercession.

Congratulations to the winners!

We also want to congratulate the finalists in each genre, listed below. This year was full of fascinating, beautiful, risky, and moving pieces, and we thank these writers for their amazing work.

Prose finalists:

Ron Austin

Joel Hans

Ikwo Ntekim

Zeynep Ozakat

Wolfgang Rougle

Todd Seabrook


Nonfiction finalists:

Sarah Bates

Naseem Jamnia

Sally J. Johnson

Lara Lillibridge

Martha Lundin

Carolyn Megan

Alexander Pines

Kathleen Tibbetts


Poetry finalists:

Jonathan Fey

Miriam Karraker

RE Katz

Jake Syersak

Nora Toomey

Kelsi Vanada

Katie Willingham