2016 VanderMey Nonfiction Prize Winners: Anthony R. Lusvardi + Jennifer Koiter

October 12, 2016

Ruminate Magazine is excited to share with you the winners of the 2016 VanderMey Nonfiction Prize. The winning piece was selected by our final judge, Marilyn McEntyre. You can read the winning pieces in Issue 40: Nowhere Near.

FIRST PLACE: "Jeremiah on the Plains" by Anthony R. Lusvardi

 Anthony R. Lusvardi has been a Jesuit for ten years and is currently engaged in theology studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.  In addition to his work at St. Francis Mission in South Dakota, his Jesuit training has included stints in Haiti and northeast India.  Before joining the Jesuits, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan.  His fiction has appeared in several literary magazines, most recently Dappled Things and the North Dakota Quarterly. Our final judge Marilyn McEntyre writes:

"This story of a priest who serves parishioners on a South Dakota reservation begins with a night-time phone call that signifies the irregular rhythm of need-and-response that governs his working life.  With skillful understatement and flickers of gentle laughter at his own stumblings in situations of complex sorrow, the writer reflects on how the prophet Jeremiah provides help in hard times.  He offers readers a lively vision of what hope looks like in bleak places.  His unsentimental and deeply compassionate look at life on the reservation—harsh and spare and laced with drugs—finds its grounding in the prophetic text that he recalls with the unpretentious specificity of an invested reader and the informed gratitude of one who has gone there again and again to find what he needed in order to keep an open heart and focus sustained attention, one by one, on those whose stories happen at the margins."

You can read Jeremiah on the Plains in issue 40.  

SECOND PLACE: "Labyrinths" by Jenn Koiter

Jenn Koiter's  work has appeared in Barrelhouse, South Dakota Review, Rock & Sling, Bateau, and Nothing to Declare: An Anthology of Prose Sequences. She has been awarded a federal Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, a Money for Women Grant, and artist residencies at ART342 and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. After years of bouncing between Los Angeles, Colorado Springs, and New Delhi, she has hunkered down in Austin, found a job, and purchased (god help us) a credenza. We shall see how long that lasts.    

HONORABLE MENTION: "Teeth" by Victoria Banks

Heather Corrigan
Patrice Gopo
Naseem Jamnia
Bethany Maile
Heidi Naylor
Betsy Weinrich

Thank you to all of you who entered the Nonfiction prize!  
Ruminate Magazine hosts an annual contest for short fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. You can read more about our writing contests and art contest here.

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