Sports Fiction & Essay Contest 2014

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Congratulations on winners of our 2014 Sports Fiction & Essay Contest!

First Prize $1,000 Fiction

Zach Mankofsky, Death of a Cubs Fan

Very first Prize $1,000 Nonfiction

Susan Ryan, Proper Equipment

Second Prize $250 Fiction

Terrance Manning Jr., Saturday-Night Special

Second Prize $250 Nonfiction

Chris Wiewiora, The Gift of Nothing

Honorable Mention $100

  • Jon Fain, Sneaky Fast, Fiction
  • Bob Johnson, The Knee, Fiction
  • Michael Murphey, The elixir of youth, Fiction
  • Jason Norman, Best, Fiction
  • Eve Bradshaw, Cup Stories, Nonfiction
  • Nicole Matos, The Wheelers: A Roller Derby Meditation, Nonfiction
  • Judy Nedry, Blood Sport, Nonfiction
  • Ruth A. Rouff, The Phillies, Dick Allen, and me personally, Nonfiction
  • A.A. Singh, Team Sports, Nonfiction
  • Miranda Ward, The Purest Form of Enjoy, Nonfiction

Thanks to everybody who joined our 2014 Sports Fiction & Essay Contest. We received 375 entries. We feel appreciation in understanding that you trust us to guage your essays, memoirs, and quick stories fairly sufficient reason for ability. For the second 12 months consecutively, our judges, Ellen LaFleche and Jendi Reiter, included an additional benefit second award in each genre because our top four entries were each superb in their own personal method. See our press release announcing the champions.

Our honorees made united states have the pain, exhilaration, and self-questioning that happen if the human body is forced beyond its expected limitations. We saw once more exactly what the athlete while the artist have commonly: the ten thousand hours of determination and sacrifice for a goal that outsiders might dismiss as mere activity, not «real work». Hence prompted to wonder why is any task worthwhile, these recreations writers discovered meaning within the day-to-day accretion of greater ability and courage, one basketball or backstroke or page of prose at the same time.

The Judging

Assistant Judge Ellen LaFleche did the first-round assessment and Winning Writers Editor Jendi Reiter read the top 80, picking a shortlist of approximately 35 for us to discuss together. Yet again, we received many strong and memorable entries, especially in nonfiction.

Way too many tales this year dropped back on conventional stock figures and sentimental, pat endings. The essays had, normally, more nuance and open-endedness, possibly because actual life is simply too messy to fit into a Hollywood story arc. Although we encourage innovations in essay framework, such as for instance presenting occasions away from chronological order, the logic behind this has to be obvious.

Its interesting how specific themes seem to emerge yearly. A number of in 2010's strongest themes included baseball as Americana, fishing as a metaphor, adolescent angst, therefore the vicissitudes of aging. We found the writings on the aging process become specially compelling, with musings on interconnections of activities, competition, as well as the human body problems of the elderly.

While many regarding the authoring adolescence was additionally compelling, we were disappointed in how that adolescent sex ended up being often depicted. We wanted entries that explored the emerging sex of adolescents as a fundamental element of a sports story, in the place of entries that included an adolescent intimate situation as an isolated event without link with the remainder piece. We appreciate good authoring sexuality, but were chagrined at entries that treated sexuality in a crass, sexist, or disembodied means.

The standout works in both genres featured a vivid re-creation associated with the body feelings and community culture of a hobby; figures that gave the tale a strong emotional center; and reflections on a larger individual or social issue.

Ruth Rouff's essay traced the growth of her awareness of racism as a young Phillies fan; A.A. Singh's looked over the role of hockey in forming his multifaceted identification as a Trinidadian, Canadian, and United states immigrant. Jon Fain and Michael Murphey told poignant tales of ballplayers whom'd outlived their fantasies, while Bob Johnson's chilling tale dissected the house life of an amateur sportsman whom'd do just about anything to resist the improvements of age. Nicole Matos brought united states up close towards the smells, sounds, and methods of a women's roller derby match, and means that demanding sport transforms your body and spirit. Miranda Ward's meditative essay on swimming explored the character of quality in recreations and in writing. Brief and sweet, Jason Norman's prose-poem concerning the delirium of lovers and activities fans made united states smile, since did Eve Bradshaw's account of buying a specific intimate machine for her son. Finally, Judy Nedry nearly drowned in cow manure next to the Little Neema River to answer the question we posed within the initial Sports Contest advice guide: Yes, fishing is a sport—Blood Sport!

Our Winners

Zach Mankofsky's first-prize story «Death of a Cubs Fan» probed the limits of commitment together with trouble of knowing those closest to us. Flavored with tragicomic, self-mocking Jewish humor, the well-paced story develops toward revealing the explanation for the narrator's estrangement from his late daddy. The answer makes sense but only scratches the outer lining of the complex relationship.

Susan Ryan's first-prize essay «Proper Equipment» is a serious yet positive memoir of overcoming sexism on and off backlinks. As a medical gear product sales representative, mcdougal did a lot of her networking on golf courses whose rules did actually fit in with a new century. Inside her opening lines, she suggests that golf is a sport for optimists; equivalent could possibly be stated to be a businesswoman in a man's globe.

Both second-prize entries grippingly portrayed teenagers starving themselves looking for an athletic ideal, or simply obsession could be the better word. In Terrance Manning Jr.'s bleak and gorgeous story «Saturday-Night Special», senior high school wrestlers in a depressed blue-collar community risk their lives for starters possiblity to feel a hero. Chris Wiewiora's disquieting essay «The present of Nothing» depicts a runner's merciless campaign from the fat kid he used to be.

Brand New Contest Planned

The Sports Fiction & Essay Contest is retiring its quantity this season. We are looking towards sponsoring a brand new contest with a broader thematic appeal and no genre restrictions. The North Street Book Prize for self-published publications encourage entries between January 15-June 30, 2015. Publications could be entered into the types of Mainstream/Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction, and innovative Nonfiction. The grand award winner in each genre gets $1,500 plus an advertising help package. Learn more.

Jendi Reiter

Jendi Reiter is vice president of Winning Writers, editor of The Best complimentary Literary Contests, and oversees the Winning Writers literary contests. Jendi may be the composer of the short story collection An Incomplete set of My Wishes (Sunshot Press, forthcoming 2018), the novel Two Natures (Saddle Road Press, 2016), the poetry collections Bullies in appreciate (minimal Red Tree Publishing, 2015) and A Talent for Sadness (Turning Point Books, 2003), additionally the award-winning poetry chapbooks Swallow (Amsterdam Press, 2009) and Barbie at 50 (Cervena Barva Press, 2010). Honors include a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists' give for Poetry, the 2016 brand new Letters Prize for Fiction, the 2016 Rainbow Award for Best Gay modern Fiction, the 2015 Wag's Revue Poetry Prize, the 2013 minimal Red Tree International Poetry Prize, the 2012 Betsy Colquitt Award for Poetry from Descant magazine, the 2011 James Knudsen Editor's Prize in Fiction from Bayou Magazine, the 2011 OSA Enizagam Award for Fiction, the 2010 Anderbo Poetry Prize, and 2nd award into the 2010 Iowa Review Awards for Fiction. Jendi's work has appeared in Poetry, the newest Criterion, Mudfish, Passages North, Cutthroat, most readily useful United states Poetry 1990, and many other magazines.

Ellen LaFleche

Ellen LaFleche is a judge of our North Street Book Prize. She's worked as a journalist and women's health educator in Western Massachusetts. The woman manuscript, employees' Rites, won the Philbrick Poetry Award from the Providence Athenaeum and was posted as a chapbook last year. Another chapbook, Ovarian, was published last year by the Dallas Poets Community Press, and a third chapbook, Beatrice, about a semi-cloistered nun, was published in 2012 by Tiger's Eye Press. Her poems are posted in Spoon River Poetry Review, Hunger Mountain, New Millennium Writings, The Ledge, Alligator Juniper, numerous Mountains Moving, Harpur Palate, Southeast Review, and Naugatuck River Review, among many others. Prose credits include her 2014 constant Hampshire Gazette article «Taken too quickly, at 65: my hubby John Clobridge's final days with ALS» while the essay «gladly Ever After» about coping with diabetes through story book poetry, which appeared in Wordgathering, the web journal of disability poetics. She also reviews books for Wordgathering. She's got won the Ruth rock Poetry Prize, the newest Millennium Poetry Prize (shared with Jim Glenn Thatcher), the DASH Poetry Journal Prize, the Poets on Parnassus Prize for poetry towards medical experience, 2nd award in Ledge Poetry Awards, additionally the Editor's solution Award for Poetry from Writecorner Press.

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