Summer Literary Seminars and the Disquiet International Literary Program are very excited to announce the winners of our 2015 Literary Contest! The sheer number and quality of the over 1000 submissions was exceptionally high. Congratulations to the winners, and to all who entered!

A very special thanks to our judges, Aimee Bender (fiction), Philip Graham (non fiction) and Brenda Shaughnessy (poetry), and to our contest partners: Guernica, Fence Magazine, Ninth Letter, and the esteemed Graywolf Press
Winners of Editor's Choice Awards will be contacted this week, and will be offered publication in Cosmonauts Avenue. As well, a number of select contest participants, based on the overall strength of their work, will be offered tuition scholarships, applicable to 2015 programs.




2015 Literary Contest Winners

FICTION (Judged by Aimee Bender)

Sofi Stambo ("A Bunch of Savages") has a MFA in Literature from Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, Bulgaria. She had been published by Promethean, Ep;phany, Plamuk, The Kenyon Review Online and The Broadkill Review. Four of her stories are pending publication by New Letters, Stand, The MacGuffin and Fourteen Hills. She lives in New York City.

Sofi Stambo will have her winning work ("A Bunch of Savages") published in Guernica. Additionally, she will win a full fellowship (airfare, tuition, and housing included) to the 2015 DISQUIET International Program in Lisbon, Portugal.

POETRY (Judged by Brenda Shaughnessy)

Corey Van Landingham is a Wallace C. Stegner Poetry Fellow at Stanford University, and the author of Antidote, winner of the 2012 Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award in Poetry. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, The Best American Poetry 2014, Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. 


Corey Van Landingham will have her winning work published in Fence Magazine. Additionally, she will win a full fellowship (airfare, tuition, and housing included) to the 2015 DISQUIET International Program in Lisbon, Portugal.

NON FICTION (Judged by Philip Graham)

Samuel Autman (“Invisible Nails”) is an assistant professor of creative writing at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana where he specializes in the personal essay and journalism. His essay “A Dash of Pepper in the Snow” appears in The Chalk Circle: Prizewinning Intercultural Essays Anthology.​ His essays have been printed in Under the Gum Tree, Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction, Postcard Memoirs, I'm Black and I Travel, The Huffington Post and The Good Men Project. He is currently at work on Sanctified: A Memoir. 

Samuel Autman will have his winning work ("Invisible Nails") published in Ninth Letter. Additionally, he will win a full fellowship (airfare, tuition, and housing included) to the 2015 DISQUIET International Program in Lisbon, Portugal.


Ling Ma (Excerpt from Chinese Bible) is an MFA candidate at Cornell University. In her previous life, she was a journalist and editor. Her writings have appeared in Playboy, Chicago Reader, Ninth Letter, ACM, Unstuck and elsewhere. Though she’s lived many places in the U.S., she considers Chicago her hometown. Find her at

Ling Ma will receive full tuition for the 2015 DISQUIET International Program in Lisbon, Portugal, as well as publication on the Graywolf website.


Natalie Eilbert is the author of the debut collection Swan Feast, published this year by Coconut Books. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Conversation with the Stone Wife (Bloof Books, 2014) and And I Shall Again Be Virtuous. (Big Lucks Books, 2014). Her poems and essays have been published or are forthcoming from The Kenyon Review, The Offing, Tin House, Guernica, West Branch, and elsewhere. She is the founding editor of The Atlas Review.

Natalie Eilbert will have her winning work published in Cosmonauts Avenue. Additionally, she will win free tuition for the 2015 SLS Residencies program in Lithuania.


James Kirchick is a journalist and foreign correspondent currently based in Washington. He has reported from Southern and North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, across the European continent, and the Caucuses. He is a fellow with the Foreign Policy Initiative in Washington, D.C. A leading voice on American gay politics and international gay rights, he is a recipient of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Journalist of the Year Award. He was a 2012-2013 Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow in Berlin, and has previously been a Hoover Institution Media Fellow and Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellow. Kirchick was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts and graduated from Yale College in 2006.

James Kirchick will have his winning work published in Cosmonauts Avenue. Additionally, he will win free tuition for the 2015 SLS Residencies program in Lithuania.


2014 Winners:

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"

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

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

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

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

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."

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