C. Lill Ahrens, contest coordinator for the 2014 Oregon Writers Colony writing contests, has announced contest winners.


1st place

Ryan Chin, Portland, Oregon, “The Hope He Had”

Nonfiction final judge Jen Weaver-Neist says about the story:

“From the very first page, “The Hope He Had” offers an inviting cargo of goods: mystery, rich rivers of description, and the author’s natural curiosity that eventually journeys into the American experience. The first-person observations are welcome threads from the fabric of the author’s everyday life, with his two young sons and Big Head the family dog playing complementary roles in his discoveries. Readers share in his reflections too, sifting through perspective and detail to arrive comfortably at the same conclusion: that this is a story about the genealogy of hope, our common ancestry — the tree that never dies.

2nd place

Rachael Pruitt, Eugene, Oregon, “Being Seen – 1972”

3rd place

Michael Coolen, Corvallis, Oregon, “What Is That Thing”

First Honorable Mention

Karen Keitz, Tillamook, Oregon, “Yellow”

Other Honorable Mentions (alphabetical by author)

Stacy Carleton, Portland, Oregon, “Making Room in an Occupied Heart”

Valerie Lake, Corvallis, Oregon, “Night of Lions”

Gail McNally, Beaverton, Oregon, “Fred’s Fall”

“Entries of Note” (alphabetical by author)

Art Edwards, Portland, Oregon, “The Bastard Who Cut My Hair”

Robert Freedman, Portland, Oregon, “Busted”

Donelle Knudsen, Richland, Washington, “Desert Rose or a Blooming Miracle”


1st place

Ann Littlewood, Portland, Oregon, “The Owl on the Road to Medford” (Read an excerpt)

Fiction final judge Stevan Allred says about the story:

The winning story gives us a young couple with two problems to solve. One is immediate—what to do about a live bird they’ve come across on the road–and one is existential—will their luck change if they move to Medford? It gives us a sardonic narrator who runs a wildlife rehab center, someone who’s seen it all, and doesn’t think much of the human race. It gives us the sophisticated structure of a peripheral narrator—the story is told by the sardonic narrator, but it’s about the couple. The author’s prose is crisp and confident. The characters are well-drawn and convincing, the setting a little exotic, and the story itself has something to say about the power of a little routine kindness to change the course of events. There’s no real miracle at its core, only the daily miracle of rising above our own cynicism to find a moment of redemption in our daily lives. But that is the human condition, and this story, “The Owl on the Road to Medford,” evokes this truth without any undue sentimentality, and for all of these qualities, I say ‘Huzzah’ to this author. Well done!

2nd place

Donna Farley, Surrey, British Columbia, “The Witnesses”

3rd place

Harry Demarest, Corvallis, Oregon, “One Big Coffin”

First Honorable Mention

Lois Rosen, Salem, Oregon, “The Jewish Colleen”

Other Honorable Mentions (alphabetical by author)

Patricia Barnhart, Lakeview, Oregon, “Spin Cycle”

Patsy Lally, Lake Oswego, Oregon, “The Day I Met My Mother”

Chet Skibinski, Lake Oswego, Oregon, “An Old Man With a Beard”

“Entries of Note” (alphabetical by author)

Gail Bartley, Bend, Oregon, “Mourning Becomes Her”

Harry Demarest, Corvallis, Oregon, “House in the Woods”

Jean Peterson, Nehalem, Oregon, “Dousing Dolly”

Beth Navarro, Corvallis, Oregon, “Road Trip”

Norma Seely, Manzanita, Oregon, “The Appraiser”