2018 Writing Contest Winners

Here are the winners of the 2018 OWC Writing Contest.

Nonfiction First Chapter

First Place, $200: Bush Bitch, by Joanna Loney

Final judge C.B. Bernard writes:

Bush Bitch: Declaring its intention and attitude right in the title, this chapter succeeds not in spite of its flaws but because of them. They lend authenticity and sincerity to the voice of a narrator who is defiantly unapologetic about her own scars, owning her aging body and the bittersweet accumulation of wisdom and experience that comes with having lived. In its celebration of the hard-earned pride of physical accomplishment, the language of the writing, the voice of the character, and the pace are all oars pulling in the same direction. They give this piece a liveliness and unpolished, frank honesty that propel it forward.

Second Place, $100: Dancing in Circles: An Expatriate in Cambodia, by Debra Groves Harman

Third Place, $50: The Interview, by Erin Stammer

First Honorable Mention: The Writer’s Crucible, by Philip Kenney

Honorable mentions, alphabetical:

  • The Hope Chest Year, by Kathryn Dysart
  • Tuned In: A Life in Radio, by William Cooper

Nonfiction Short Story

First Place, $200:The Island, by Kim K. McCrea

Final judge Kirsten Steen, writes:

The Island caught and held me with the perfect combination of informative yet lyrical, personal yet universal, which for writers can be and often is a mind-bendingly difficult task. While at first glance, it appears to be about place (with the Island mentioned in nearly every paragraph), it is really about people and story. Each recollection carried me effortlessly with a mix of beauty and tragedy. Not only did it take me through the author’s elegantly detailed memories but also down a parallel path of my own similar childhood recollections with slightly differing situations and surroundings. While place appears to be its own character, the author purposefully brings us full circle but with the realization that it is the characters of our lives, our past, our own history that truly last within us. Beautifully written. Congratulations!

Second Place, $100: Wedge, by Rosemary Lombard

Third Place: Smoke, $50, by Debra Groves Harman

First Honorable Mention: Modem Romance, by Samantha Waltz

No other honorable mentions this category

Fiction First Chapter

First Place, $200: That Bedsprings Guy, by Gary C. McAuley

Final judge Susan Clayton Goldner writes:

That Bedsprings Guy does everything an opening chapter should do. It raises story questions that the reader wants answered. It introduces a character with an interesting dilemma and a distinct voice. The prose is concise and well written. And the suspense keeps building as the scene progresses. It surprises the reader when the Bedsprings Guy buys drinks for the protagonist. We have a well-motivated character overcoming obstacles in pursuit of a goal. He wants to know if his wife is cheating on him. The stakes, his marriage, are high. This judge was disappointed when the piece ended. And it ended with a story question that made her want to read on to see what happens. This is an excellent piece of work. 

Second Place, $100: The Second Night, by Anastasia Bond

Third Place, $50: Blind Justice, by Michael Coolen

First Honorable Mention: The Hidden Abbey, by Jodine Turner

Honorable mentions, alphabetical:

  • Velocity Vora, by Madhuri Messenger
  • He is My Rival, by Sam Perrin
  • Bandstand for All Time, by Sharon E. Streeter

Fiction Short Story

First Place, $200: Superglue, by Jefferson Page

Final judge Ann Littlewood writes:

Superglue takes us into a troubled mind and shows how obsession can distort logic and compel actions that baffle and alarm onlookers. In calm, non-judgmental language, the author opens a window on a well-meaning, but seriously dysfunctional person. The protagonist’s desperate efforts to reduce his stress lead us deeper and deeper into dread as mental illness challenges a crucial relationship that seems sure to collapse. We expect disaster, but the final lines are a sweet surprise, a stubborn affirmation of hope. This is a clear-eyed, subtle, and compassionate exploration of a difficult disability and a difficult relationship. Well done!

Second Place, $100: The Meat King, by Jacob Maybe

Third Place, $50: Brenda, by Sara Truitt

First Honorable Mention: Dragon’s Haunt, by Elisabeth Flaum

Honorable mentions, alphabetical:

  • How Fatou Dabo Saved Her Village, by Michael Coolen
  • Hungry Like a Wolf, by Deni Starr
  • Abyss, by Jean Rover