Utah Writers Honored in Statewide Original Writing Competition

Contact: Josh Loftin 
Utah Department of Heritage & Arts 
[email protected]

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Utah Writers Honored in Statewide Original Writing Competition


SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of Arts & Museums has chosen 22 writers in seven categories as the winners of the 59th annual Utah Original Writing Competition. The winners were selected from a total of 225 entries from Utah-based writers.

“We’re delighted to congratulate these winners,” said Utah Arts & Museums Director Victoria Panella Bourns. “We look forward to great accomplishments from such talented writers.”

Past winners of the Statewide Original Writing Competition have gone on to receive the Flannery O’Connor Award and the International Reading Association Award. Past awardees include Orson Scott Card and Ron Carlson. Four past Utah Poets Laureate have also won an award in the competition, including David Lee, Ken Brewer, Katharine Coles, and Lance Larsen.

Creative Nonfiction Essay Judge Michael Martone, Professor of English at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, said, “All the entries were very good. Thank you so much for letting me read and learn and be moved and amused.” 

Manuscripts were reviewed in a blind process by judges who reside outside of Utah. First- and second-place winners are awarded prize money ranging from $150 to $1,000, depending on the category. 

A day celebrating Utah writers and the Original Writing Competition will take place on Saturday, November 4, 2017, from 1 – 4 p.m. at the Finch Lane Gallery in Salt Lake City’s Reservoir Park. There will be an awards ceremony, readings by 2016 competition winners, and a writing workshop with Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal.

Category A: Novel, judged by Matthew Batt

  • First Place: Forever Desolation, by Tim Glenn (Green River)
  • Second Place: The Evidence of Damage, by Shauna Brock (Salt Lake City)
  • Honorable Mention: Bluebird, by Michael Scott Smith (Salt Lake City)

Category B: Creative Nonfiction Book, judged by Rebecca Rule

  • First Place: Not in My House, by Susanna Nielsen Barlow (Bluffdale)
  • Second Place: The Architecture of a Mother, by Rebecca Brenner (Park City)
  • Honorable Mention: Girl on a Pony, by Christine Fraizer (Millcreek)

Category C: Book-length Collection of Stories, judged by Becky Bradway

  • First Place: Coyote Sky, by Joni Hemond (Salt Lake City)
  • Second Place: Silver Wings, by Kevin Holdsworth (Parowan)
  • Honorable Mention: Different Ways Home, and Other Stories, by Gene Gerstner (Springdale)

Category D: Young Adult Book, judged by Elizabeth Briggs

  • First Place: By the Blood of the Witches, by Alison Woods (Springville)
  • Second Place: Worth It, by Stephanie Moore (Farmington)
  • Honorable Mention: The Logic of Love, Cynicism, and Related Theories, by Patrice Carey (Provo)

Category E: Poetry, judged by Cole Swensen

  • First Place: “A Smell Sleepless,” by Elisabeth Loveland (Provo)
  • Second Place: “The Skull on the Table,” by Claire Akebrand (Provo)
  • Honorable Mention: “Filling Cracks & Walking on Water,” by Maurine Haltiner (Salt Lake City)

Category F: Short Story, judged by Craig Holden

  • First Place: “The Birth Canal,” by Larkin Weyand (Pleasant Grove)
  • Second Place: “Samantha’s Memory,” by Aaron Allen (Orem)
  • Honorable Mention: “In Denver,” by Ranjan Adiga (Salt Lake City)

Category G: Creative Nonfiction Essay, judged by Michael Martone

    • First Place: “On Blushing,” by Elizabeth Tidwell (Pleasant Grove)
    • Second Place: “Marquinn Intake Form,” by Andrew Romriell (Logan)
    • Honorable Mention: “Systole, Diastole,” by Darlene Young (South Jordan)
    • Honorable Mention: “Thought Runs on the Fugitive Concept ‘Thing-Theory,’” by Eugene Washington (Logan)

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