2021 Contest Results!

Jan 5, 2022News



BWR is pleased to announce the winners and runners-up of our 2021 Contests in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Flash. We are forever grateful to our inimitable judges: K-Ming Chang, Su Cho, Eduardo C. Corral, and J K Chukwu.

Yvette Ndlovu was selected as the fiction winner “House on Ilanda Street.” Fiction judge K-Ming Chang writes:

“The House on Ilanda Street” is stunning and resonant, storytelling at its most alive. With playfulness, humor, heart, and moments of subtle devastation, this story about vanishing houses is brilliant and uncontainable, its presence undeniable, exploring what it means to be valued and accounted for, about the persistence of history and future, place and escape, and origin and loss, both personal and communal.

Star Su was selected as the fiction runner-up for “How It Tastes.”  K-Ming Chang writes:

The language of “How It Tastes” is infectious, funny, and brilliantly off-kilter. I would follow this narrator and their family anywhere. Each sentence feels like a ladder that brings the reader to new heights, and this story is bursting with wildness and warmth.

Mia Nakaji Monnier was selected as the nonfiction winner for “Dusk.” Nonfiction judge Su Cho writes:

“Dusk” is a remarkable piece that wields lyricism in order to critique and free the self from the evaluative gaze. The essay opens with the sentence, “I watch the sky to see if I can pinpoint the moment when one thing turns into another,” and this is exactly what “Dusk” accomplishes through beautiful concision that unlocks new meaning and understanding. There’s a generosity here that models a new way of observation that’ll make you want to start from the beginning and read the essay again.


Endria Richardson was selected as the nonfiction runner-up for “Love and Affection.” Su Cho writes:

“Love and Affection” manages to write about the self, time, and all the ways we are related to other people through compassion for the self. But that doesn’t mean that this essay lets the self off easy. “Love and Affection” is also about anger, about self-reflection that transcends time. The essay describes this intangible tension best as “being on top of that tight white line of anger feels so much better than slipping into the spaces between black and malaysian and woman and american.”

Tamara Panici was selected as the poetry winner for “The Pig Was Skinned.” Poetry judge Eduardo C. Corral writes: 

What a propulsive and marvelous poem. Lines are sentences; each one complicates the story and the strangeness. But the sentences don’t lose the power of the line: they help to modulate momentum and breath. The unfolding of the poem is just as brilliant as the language and imagination. The language here is truly remarkable. Terse, lyrical, urgent. Rich with surprises and memorable phrasing. When I first read the poem, I immediately read it again. It’s that good.

Hua Xi was selected as the poetry runner-up for “Dream With Many Mounds of Grass.” Eduardo C. Corral writes:

In Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” a child asks, What is the grass? This poem is a beautiful response to that question. Here, the grass is ‘luminous and full of surrender,’ elemental and familial but also, as the stunning ending reveals, human. The imagery is striking and memorable and the lines are deftly crafted. A wonderful poem.

Jamila Osman was selected as the flash winner for “Sunday School.” Flash judge J K Chukwu writes:

Sunday School is extremely compelling, no damn amazing. This flash fiction piece, while experimenting with poetic form and time, wonderfully crafts scenes that the readers are able to hold onto as they read. Additionally, I greatly enjoyed how this work taught the readers how to read it.

Chidi Onyia was selected as the flash runner-up for “Initiation.” J K Chukwu writes:

I enjoyed how this piece succinctly set up the beginning of a character’s journey.


Congratulations to the winners!

We also want to congratulate the finalists in each genre, listed below.


Fiction finalists:

Olufunke Ogundimu

Jenee Skinner

Kathy Chao

Fejiro Okifo

Nameera Bajwa

Nathan Dixon

Beasa Dukes

S Fambul


Nonfiction finalists:

Jed Munson

Jasmina Nogo

Delia Rainey

Lisbeth White

Grace Hwang Lynch

Sara Fan

Nigel Perry

Kameron Bashi


Poetry finalists:

Kemi Alabi

Kyle Carerro Lopez

Cindy Juyoung Ok

Joshua Burton

Jonathan Chu

Katie Berta

Jameka Williams

Tawanda Mulalu


Flash finalists:

Sydney Bradley

Eric Burger

Hsien Chong Tan

Funto Omojola

Zabe Bent

Cindy Juyoung Ok

Kijo White

Dev Murphy