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2015 Utah Original Writing Competition Winners Announced – 5 Oct 2015

SALT LAKE CITY— Utah Arts & Museums announces the winners of the 57th annual Utah Original Writing Competition. Selected from a total of 198 entries, 23 writers in seven categories will be receiving awards. They are:

Category A: Novel, judged by Ernest Hebert
First Place: The Salted Earth, by Eric Robertson (Salt Lake City)
Second Place: The Lord, My Shepherd, by Daniel Robertson (Provo)
Honorable Mention: Danger on Board, by Anne Stark (Paradise); Filet of Soul, by Courtney Davis (Provo)

Category B: Biography/Autobiography/History, judged by Poe Ballantine
First Place: Dreams of My Comrades, by Scott Zuckerman (Park City)
Second Place: Dear Little Fish, by Melissa Bond (Salt Lake City)
Honorable Mention: The Reluctant Boss, by Hector Griffin (Cottonwood Heights); Nine Lives of a Natural Redhead, by Marcee Blackerby (Salt Lake City)

Category C: Book-length Collection of Stories, judged by Katherine Bahr
First Place: New Myth: Stories, by Aaron Allen (Orem)
Second Place: City of Saints: Stories of the Mormon Corridor, by David Pace (Salt Lake City)
Honorable Mention: The Man Who Destroyed the Universe, by Gregory Deluca (St. George)

Category D: Young Adult Book, judged by Connie Goldsmith
First Place: The Dark Backward, by McKelle George (Lehi)
Second Place: All My Fairy Godmothers, by Katy Larson (Springville)
Honorable Mention: Rat Prince of Kusa, by Elena Jube (Provo); Better Than Dead, by Jessica Guernsey (Lindon)

Category E: Poetry, judged by Ellen Bass
First Place: “Waiting,” by Anne Vinsel (Salt Lake City)
Second Place: “Darlings from the Beginning,” by Ben Gunsberg (Logan)

Category F: Short Story, judged by Jon Billman
First Place: “The Whiskeyjack,” by Jenn Gibbs (Salt Lake City)
Second Place: “Eating Sushi in Mesquite,” by Lynn Kilpatrick (Salt Lake City)
Honorable Mention: “Long Lost,” by David Cawley (Centerville)

Category G: Narrative Nonfiction/Personal Essay, judged by Rus Bradburd
First Place: “The Other Amelia,” by James Ure (Salt Lake City)
Second Place: “Mystery, Knowledge, and the Worsening Light of the Ethereal Mind,” by Maximilian Werner (Salt Lake City)
Honorable Mention: “Guilt: Two Love Stories,” by Natasha Saje (Salt Lake City)

This year’s novel judge, Ernest Hebert, reflected comments from all the judges when he said, “Wow!

I was a judge some years ago for a national competition, the PEN/Hemingway award for the best first novel, and I have to say that the entries I’ve been sent are better as a group than the ones I read for
the PEN/Hemingway. I was incredibly impressed by the quality and variety of fiction I read.”

“We offer heartfelt congratulations to these winners,” said Alyssa Hickman Grove, Utah Arts & Museums Literary Arts Manager. “We look forward to great accomplishments from such talented writers. Past winners have gone on to receive the Flannery O’Connor Award and the International Reading Association Award. These past awardees include Orson Scott Card, Ron Carlson, and all four Utah Poets Laureate: David Lee, Ken Brewer, Katharine Coles and Lance Larsen.”

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.

A day celebrating Utah writers and the Original Writing Competition will take place on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, from 1 – 5 p.m. at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center, 1355 West 3100 South, West Valley City. There will be an awards ceremony, readings by 2014 competition winners, and a writing workshop with Utah Poet Laureate Lance Larsen.