Summer Literary Seminars is very excited to announce the winners of our 2014 Literary Contest! The sheer number and quality of the nearly 1000 submissions was exceptionally highCongratulations to the winners, and to all who entered!

A very special thanks to our judges, and to our contest partners Fence Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Center for Fiction, St. Petersburg Review, and the esteemed Graywolf Press.

Over the next week, we will be sending out a number of merit-based fellowship offers and editor's choice awards to the contest participants whose work has impressed our readers and judges with its overall strength.

2014 Literary Contest Winners

(bios below)

FICTION (Judged by Aimee Bender)
First Place: Mark Labowskie (Brooklyn, NY) for "Eli's Comin'"
Second: Aram Kim (Seoul, Korea) for "White Bone Pine"
Third: Selena Anderson (Houston, TX) for "Blue Nile"

POETRY (Judged by Dorothea Lasky)
First Place: Monica McClure (Brooklyn, NY)
Second Place: Sandra Simonds (Tallahassee, FL)
Third Place: Douglas Piccinnini (Lambertville, NJ)

NON FICTION (Judged by Phillip Lopate)
First Place: Jaquira Diaz (Miami, FL)  for "Ordinary Girls"
Second Place: Kirstin Allio (Seattle, WA) for "Buddhism for Western Children"
Third Place: Onnesha Roychoudhuri (Brooklyn, NY) for "Where I'm Writing From"

Mark Labowskie and Monica McClure will have their work published in print in Fence Magazine. Additionally, they will have the choice of attending (airfare, tuition, and housing included) any one of the 2014 SLS two-week programs – in Vilnius, Lithuania (July 13 - 26, 2014); or Nairobi-Lamu, Kenya (December 7 - 20, 2014).

Second and third place fiction, poetry, and non fiction winners will receive a full tuition waiver for the 2014 program of their choice, and publication in an online magazine.

Jaquira Diaz will have her work published in an online magazine as well the choice of attending (airfare, tuition, and housing included) any one of the 2014 SLS programs.

GRAYWOLF PRIZE (for the best novel excerpt of an emerging writer)
Winner: Kari Pilgrim (Brooklyn, NY) for “Half of No”

Kari Pilgrim will receive full tuition for any 2014 SLS Program, as well as publication on the Graywolf website.

Winner: Robert Glick (Rochester, NY) for “Three Options for a Successful Lunar Landing”

Robert Glick will receive full tuition for any 2014 SLS Program, as well as publication on The Center for Fiction's website.

Winner: Maia Evrona (Boston, MA) for "With What Words; With What Silence; The Correspondence of Nelly Sachs and Paul Celan"

Maia Evrona will receive full tuition for any 2014 SLS Program as well as publication in the LA Review of Books.

Winners: Maw Shein Win (Berkeley, CA), Katie Fowley (Brooklyn, NY), and Bela Shayevich (Chicago, IL)

The winners of the Arkadii Dragomoshchenko Prize for Innovative Poetry will receive free tuition to the 2014 SLS Lithuania Program.

Winners: Beatrice Smigasiewicz (Iowa City, IA) for "Oswiecim--or, the train station", Lauren Sallinger (Washington, DC) for "Hill 26", and Julia Zarankin (Toronto, ON) for "My Photographs Speak Yiddish."

The winners of the Sutzkever Prize will receive full tuition for the 2014 SLS Lithuania Program.

The winners of the Editor's Choice Award will be contacted this week, and will receive free tuition to an upcoming program. A number of select contest participants, based on the overall strength of their work, will be offered tuition scholarships, as well, applicable to the SLS-2014 programs.


Winner Bios

Fiction Winners

Mark Labowskie was born and raised in Philadelphia. He received his MFA in fiction from Rutgers-Newark and in the fall of 2014 will begin a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. His first published story appears in Sou'wester.

Aram Kim is the winner of Diagram's Innovative Fiction Contest and Inkwell's Short Fiction Contest. She teaches at Yonsei University in Seoul, where she is currently working on a collection. 

Selena Anderson is a writer from Pearland, Texas. Her stories appear in the Kenyon ReviewGlimmer Train, AGNI, and elsewhere. She is working on a collection of short stories and a novel.

Poetry Winners

Monica McClure’s debut collection, Tender Data, will be published by Birds, LLC this year. She is the author of the chapbooks, Mood Swing, from Snacks Press and Mala, forthcoming from Poor Claudia. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, Jubilat, The Los Angeles Review, The Lit Review, Lambda Literary Review’s Spotlight Series, The Awl, Spork and elsewhere. She curates Atlas, a collaboration series of visual artists and poets, and lives in New York City.

Sandra Simonds is the author of four full-length collections of poetry: The Glass Box (Saturnalia Books, 2015), The Sonnets (Bloof Books, 2014),  Mother was a Tragic Girl (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2012) and Warsaw Bikini (Bloof Books, 2009) which was a finalist for numerous prizes including the National Poetry Series. Simonds’ poems have been published in many  journals such as the American Poetry Review, The Believer, the Colorado Review, Fence, the Columbia Poetry Review, among others. She also has a poem forthcoming in the Best American Poetry 2014. She lives  in Tallahassee, Florida and is Assistant Professor of English at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia. 

Douglas Piccinnini is co-author of the bilingual text  (TPR Press, 2013) and of the chapbooks, Soft (The Cultural Society, 2010) and Crystal Hard-on (Minutes Books, 2010)—as well as an encoded chromagylph called FLAG (Well Greased Press, 2013). Story Book, a novella,  will appear later this year with The Cultural Society and, his first book of poems, Blood Oboe, will be released by Omnidawn in 2015.

Non Fiction Winners

Jaquira Díaz is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the Carl Djerassi Fiction Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and an NEA Fellowship to the Hambidge Center for the Arts. She’s been awarded fellowships or scholarships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Key West Literary Seminar, Bread Loaf, and the MacDowell Colony. Her work was noted in Best American Essays, and appears in Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, The Sun, The Southern Review, FiveChapters, Salon, the Pushcart Prize anthology, and elsewhere.

Kirstin Allio was born in Maine in 1974. Her novel, Garner, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for First Fiction. She also received the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35″ Award. Her short stories have appeared in a variety of publications. She lives in Seattle, WA, and has taught creative writing at Brown University and holds degrees from Brown and New York Universities.

Onnesha Roychoudhuri is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor. She is currently a fellow at the Center for Fiction, where she is at work on her first novel as well as a collection of essays. A 2011 and 2012 Pushcart Prize nominee, her writing has appeared in n+1Virginia Quarterly ReviewThe Boston Review, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, Opium,The NationThe American Prospect, Salon, Mother Jones, and others. She is a graduate of Bard College, a recipient of an MFA from San Francisco State University, and has been awarded residencies at Hedgebrook and Blue Mountain Center.

Graywolf Prize Winner

Kari Pilgrim’s stories have appeared in The Literary ReviewDel Sol Review, and Brooklyn Review. She has received a number of awards including a MacArthur Scholarship in Fiction. Half of No is her first novel. She has an MFA from Brooklyn College, a PhD in English from Binghamton University, and is assistant professor of writing at SUNY Empire State College, as well as an advisory editor at Author Salon. She divides her time between Brooklyn and a tree farm in upstate New York.

The Center for Fiction Winner

Robert Glick is Assistant Professor of English at the Rochester Institute of Technology and Senior Prose Editor of the Amsterdam-based literary journal Versal. His writings have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Diagram, Black Warrior Review, and The Normal School.

LA Review of Books Prize Winner

Maia Evrona’s poems, as well as excerpts from her memoir on growing up with a chronic illness have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Harpur Palate and elsewhere. She studied Yiddish at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute and her translations of the poets Abraham Sutzkever and Anna Margolin are forthcoming or have appeared in Poetry Magazine, The Massachusetts Review and other venues. Originally from Massachusetts, she lived in Jerusalem for a few years, where she enjoyed the winter and the wind and which she likes to miss.

Arkadii Dragomoshenko Prize

Maw Shein Win is a poet who lives in Berkeley and teaches in San Francisco. Her writing has appeared in journals such as 2River, No Tell Motel, Big Bridge, the Fabulist, and Forklift, Ohio and has work forthcoming in Zocalo Public Square and the anthology CROSS-STROKES (Otis Books/Seismicity Editions). She is currently a poetry editor for Rivet: The Journal of Writing that Risks for Red Bridge Press, a co-publisher for Stretcher, and was an Artist In Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin. Win often collaborates with visual artists and musicians, and her latest poetry chapbook, Ruins of a glittering palace, with paintings by Los Angeles artist Mark Dutcher, was published by SPA/Commonwealth Projects. She is also a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto.

Bela Shayevich is a Soviet-born writer, illustrator, and translator living in Chicago. With Ainsley Morse, she translated Vsevolod Nekrasov's I Live I See (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2013). Her translations have also appeared inCalque, The Guardian, and n+1. 

Katie Fowley earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop where she taught literature and creative writing and received the John C. Schupes Fellowship for Excellence in Poetry. Her poems and criticism have been published in No, Dear6x6, and Rain Taxi: Review of Books, and a chapbook of her poetry is forthcoming from DIEZ Press this spring. She was recently awarded a residency at the Saltonstall Arts Colony in Ithaca, NY.  Katie lives in Brooklyn where she edits Lightful Press, which publishes books of poetry, translation, and art. 

Sutzkever Prize

Julia Zarankin’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in PRISM International, The Toast, The Threepenny Review, The Antioch Review, The Dalhousie Review, and the anthology The M Word. She was awarded 1st runner-up in PRISM's Nonfiction contest and was a recipient of a MacDowell Colony fellowship. In her former life (which ended in 2008), Julia worked as a Russian literature professor at the University of Missouri. Now she lives, writes, and watches birds with gusto in Toronto. 

Lauren Sallinger earned a BA from Harvard University, an MA from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an MFA from Goucher College. Following her MA, she was selected for a Coleman Fellowship in Nonfiction from The Writing Seminars. She has received grants from the Harvard Phi Beta Kappa Society, the Dorot Foundation and the Harvard Center for Jewish Studies. Lauren has taught at Johns Hopkins and George Washington University, where she received a Bender Teaching Award. 

Beatrice Smigasiewicz’s essays, translations and art criticism have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Art Papers, Words Without Borders, Asymptote and B O D Y, among others. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently in the MFA Nonfiction program at the University of Iowa.


Our 2015 Contest will be launched in the fall. Thank you again to everyone who participated!



2013 Winners:

FICTION (judged by Mary Gaitskill)
First Place: Ruth Joffre (Iowa City, Iowa)

Second Place: Andy Mozina (Kalamazoo, Michigan)
Third Place: Glenn Vanstrum (La Jolla, California)

POETRY (judged by Eileen Myles)
First Place: Jenny Zhang (Brooklyn, New York)
Second Place: CAConrad (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Third Place: Danniel Schoonebeek (Brooklyn, New York)

NON FICTION (judged by Ander Monson)
First Place:  Stuart Ross (Chicago, Illinois) 
Second Place:  Spring Ulmer (West Chester, Pennsylvania)
Third Place: William Scott Williams (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)

Graywolf Prize
Winner: Leah Bailly (Canada/Los Angeles, California)
Runners Up: Trudy Lewis (Columbia, Missouri), Margot Singer (Granville, Ohio), and Shehryar Fazli (Islamabad, Pakistan)

The Center for Fiction Prize (The Literarian)
Winner: Alake Pilgrim (Trinidad & Tobago)
Runners Up: Keya Mitra (Spokane, Washington) & Pam Zhang (San Francisco, California)

Sutzkever Centennial Translation Prize (judged by Ed Hirsch)
Winner: Lee Sharkey (Vienna, Maine )
Runners up: Jacob Oet (Swarthmore, Pennsylvania) & Heather Valencia (Thornhill, Scotland)

Arkadii Dragomoshchenko Prize for Innovative Poetry (judged by Charles Bernstein)
Winner: Maxwell Clark (New Haven, Connecticut)
Runners up: Lindsay Vella (Iowa City, Iowa) & Roberta Hatcher (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

2012 Winners:

FICTION (judged by Mary Gaitskill)
First Place: m k s volcofsky (Matthew Seidman) (Brooklyn, NY)
Second Place: Steinur Bell (Sarasota, FL)
Third Place: Aggie Zivaljevic (San Jose, CA)

POETRY (judged by Tony Hoagland)
First Place: Dianne Seuss (Kalamazoo, MI)
Second Place: Christopher Robinson (Federal Way, WA)
Third Place: Dawn Marie Knopf (Portland, OR)

NON-FICTION (judged by Ander Monson)
First Place: Will Mackin (Rio Rancho, NM)
Second Place: James Kates (Fitzwilliam, NH)
Third Place: Jim Ruland (San Diego, CA)

The Center for Fiction Award (The Literarian)
Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint (San Jose, CA)
Runners-up: Stacy Hardy & Margaret Meklin

Graywolf Prize
Snowden Wright (New York, NY)
Runners-up: Rachel Cantor, Diana Svennes-Smith, Emma Smith-Stevens, & Laura Pritchett

SLS-St. Petersburg Review Award
Gabriel Tallent, Ashley Wren Collins, Justin Boening, & Cori A. Winrock

SLS Award for Emerging Writers
Karina Slobogian, Ottessa Moshfegh, & Eric Fershtman

2011 Winners:

Fiction, judged by Jayne-Anne Phillips

First Place: Blair Bourassa (Kentville, NS)
Second Place: Matthew Baker (Nashville, TN)
Third Place: Rebecca Rukeyser (Iowa City, IA)

Poetry, judged by Matthew Zapruder

First Place: Lillian Bertram (Williamstown, MA)
Second Place: Chloe Honum (Provincetown, MA)
Third Place: Justin Boening (Missoula, MT)

East-European Roots Contest, judged by Phillip Lopate

First Place: Nikita Nelin "The Most Current History of the Russian Jew"
Second Place:
Daniella Gitlin "Notes From the Basin"
Third Place:
(tie) Steven Roiphe "Brighton Beach Memory Gap"
Randall Babtkis "Three Meditations"


2010 Winners:

Poetry, judged by Mary Jo Bang

First Place: Helen Dimos
Second Place: Hadara Bar-Nadav
Third Place: Lillian-Yvonne Bertram
Fiction, judged by Mary Gaitskill

First Place: Gina Frangello
Second Place: Mikael Awake
Third Place: Geoff Schmidt

2009 Winners:

Poetry, judged by Ann Lauterbach

First Place: Caron A. Levis
Second Place: Rachel Cantor
Third Place: Lisa Gornick
Fiction, judged by Lynne Tillman

First Place: Elizabeth Senja Spackman
Second Place: Ravi Shankar
Third Place: Michael C. Peterson

SLS/Matrix Magazine Editor's Choice Award: Mona Awad