Rochester, Mich. (May 7, 2015) – The Rochester Writers’ Winter Contest Awards were announced Saturday, April 25, at Oakland University. During the Rochester Writers’ spring conference, winners of the contest that attended could read their entry to the more than 50 people at the event. Cash prizes were award for first, second, and third places.
First Page of a Novel is the most entered category. Contest judge, Kelly Fordon said, “I was intrigued by the convergence here between what seemed to be ordinary college dorm life and a military state. This entry was well written and compelling,” regarding the first place winning entry called Return of the Rose by Elizabeth Eller of Commerce.
Another popular category, Flash Fiction, had two writers present. Judith Ralston Ellison of Royal Oak took third place for her short story, Hoarder Revenge. “This modern day ‘The Gift of the Magi’ is a perfectly rendered lesson in irony, and as in the famous story, its wit and charm are revealed in its final moments when the reader learns that the narrator’s desire to please her daughter triggers an unexpected yet foreshadowed outcome. The author has great facility for detail . . . the narrator’s unappreciated yet instrumental eye for treasure,” said contest judge, Dorene O’Brien. Patrick Gibson of Northville took first place with A Different Direction. “This author deftly charges the “white space” as fully as the text itself; inviting readers to interpret succinctly rendered clues that result in a much fuller, more resonant story than a work this short generally attains. This is achieved in part to subtle references that fan out into larger meaning,” said O’Brien.
The new category, Postcard Fiction, also had two writers in attendance to read their work. From Royal Oak, Roberta Brown took third place for her work, City of Atlantis. “Here we see a skillful hybrid of modern and antiquated art forms—Donovan’s 1960s song “Atlantis” based on Plato’s literary reference to Atlantis in 360 BC—and the artists themselves engaged in a correspondence across the centuries. Extremely clever concept,” said Dorene O’Brien. Judith Ralston Ellison also won an award in this category, this time it was first place for Mona Lisa, which “expertly demonstrates the incorporation of allusions to expand the meaning of a short work by capitalizing on the reader’s prior knowledge of cultural icons. The narrator is consistently naive and charming and the overall work is quite clever and memorable,” said O’Brien.
Celebrating the life of Rochester poet, Margo LaGattuta, the poetry category awarded third place to Rochester Hills resident Lisa Leo Lanni for her poem, Her Habit. Vicki Wilke of Clarkston took home the second and first places with Blossoming and Wired, respectively. “A spare poem as taut as the wire upon which the birds have landed—but such careful bits of descriptive work—very nicely done,” said Karrie Waarala, poetry contest judge, regarding the first place entry.
All the first place winners go through a second round of judging for the Best of Show. Executive members of Rochester Media chose Wilke’s poem Wired to be awarded the best of the best. Vicki will receive complimentary registration to the fall Rochester Writers’ Conference held at Oakland University on Saturday, October 17, 2015.
The complete list of the 2015 Winter Contest Winners is available on the Rochester Writers’ website. In addition, criteria for the Summer Writing Contest are posted at the website. This new contest will again have the Margo LaGattuta Poetry category, as well as the Flash Fiction and First Page categories. The brand new category will be First Person First, offering writers a chance to tell a “first” in first person narrative. Deadline to enter August 31 and once again, winners of the contest may read their work at the fall writers’ event if they attend.