We're pleased to share with you the winners of the 2019 VanderMey Nonfiction Prize, selected by our final judge, Jessica Wilbanks. You can read the winning pieces in Issue 51: Consume.
FIRST PLACE: "The Foundation Above Us" by Porter Huddleston
Porter Huddleston is an emerging author of literary middle-grade fiction (El on Earth, Fab 28), short fiction (“The Son You Bore for This,” “Dark Parade,” “Surfers of Golgarten”), and creative nonfiction (“In a Yellow Wood,” “A Kind of Refuge,” “Whispering to Our Sons,” “Man on the Cairo Train”). He was awarded honorable mention by the Writers of The Future Contest (Q3 2018) for his literary fantasy, Goodhenge, as well as honorable mention in the Eighty-Sixth Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition for his personal essay “Prattsville.” Prior to focusing his energy on writing, he served as creative strategist for Intel, managing editor for Habitat for Humanity International, proofreader and business affairs liaison for Wieden+Kennedy, and chief digital officer for Brown, Parker & DeMarinis.
Judge, Jessica Wilbanks writes, "'The Foundation Above Us' is a deeply lyrical, haunting tribute to the older brother who has sustained and steadied the author over the course of fifty years. Porter Huddleston uses relentless, staccato rhythms and visceral images to paint a portrait of a tumultuous childhood, made bearable only through the firm foundation of brotherly love."
SECOND PLACE: "The Proctor’s Manual" by Kristin Leclaire
Kristin Leclaire writes lyrical nonfiction and teaches high-school English in Littleton, Colorado, where she lives with her husband and two little boys. One of her recent pieces
appeared in Pembroke Magazine, and another won first place in the ACC Writer’s Studio Contest and was featured in the 2017 edition of The Progenitor. Her writing was also published in Creative Nonfiction’s print anthology, What I
Didn’t Know: True Stories of Becoming a Teacher, as well as an anthology by Chatter House Press called Biting the Bullet. Her essays have appeared in Literary Mama and The Bohemyth, and she won the 2015 Denver Stories on Stage flash fiction contest. One of her essays made the Masters Review 2015 shortlist and was a finalist for the Annie Dillard Award for creative nonfiction. Lastly, she’s a longtime member and diehard fan of Lighthouse Writers in Colorado.
Judge Jessica Wilbanks writes, “In 'The Proctor’s Manual,' Kristin Leclaire draws on surprising objects such as seating charts, gradebooks, multiple-choice tests, and marked-up textbooks to tell a harrowing story about her students’ struggle to thrive in today’s classrooms.
Jamila Osman, "The Emperor’s Clothes, The Empire’s Language"
Gita Brown, "They’ll Never Call Me Mom"
Michael Gracey, "Back to School with Sisyphus"
Melissa Kuipers, "The Pelican in her Piety"
Anne McGrath, "Night Piece"
Joy Neal, "Floating Up to Wherever"
K. Irene Rieger, "Alan Means Rock"
Sophia Stid, "When the Lion Learns to Write"
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