Despite the usual promise of cold hard cash and undying glory, we didn’t get a spectacular number of entries this year for City Paper’s annual short-fiction and poetry contest. We received 235 poetry entries and 176 fiction entries, about the same as last year, and a good deal less than the year before. Nevertheless, we were impressed with the writing in many cases, and the process of elimination was a painful one. The entire CP editorial staff read all the entries in both contests and narrowed them down to 15 poetry finalists and 10 short-fiction finalists. We then forwarded these entries on to our four judges, who read them with the authors’ names redacted.
So first off, a big thank you to those judges: local author and founding editor of literary quarterly jmww Jen Michalski; book critic and Towson University literature professor Diane Scharper; Maryland Writers’ Association Vice President Fernando Quijano III; and poetryinbaltimore.com founder Julie Fisher. Each submitted weighted ballots to determine this year’s winners.
Our finalists in short fiction, before the judges banged their gavels, were: Michelle Carrigan, A. Jarrell Hayes, Will Heslin, Rebecca Lord, James Oshida, Steve Peterson, Jasmine Pullen-Schmidt, Timmy Reed, Rick Shelley, and Ellen Handler Spitz. Our finalists in poetry were: Douglas Scott Arey, Matthew Daniel, Jonathan Foreman, Matt Fowler, Jamie Todd Hamilton, Lane Harlan, Jane Kelly, Ann Eichler Kolakowski, April Meehan, Caitlan Mitchell, Benjamin O’Brien, Sophie Petit, Justin Sirois, S.E. Weissman, and Samuel A. Zervitz. Congrats to all.
And the winners are: In poetry, first place and $100 goes to April Meehan’s “The Point,” second place and $50 goes to Ann Eichler Kolakowski’s “Lucky,” and third place and $25 goes to S.E. Weissman’s “On the Train Home.” In short fiction, first place and $250 goes to Michelle Carrigan’s “The Haircut,” second and $150 goes to Rick Shelley’s “The Monkey Man Escapes,” and third and $50 goes to Timmy Reed’s “Biker Queen Fishing Story.” Point your internet navigation devices to the links below to read the winning entries.