2014 Literary Contest Winners Announced!

ACC Writers Studio 2014 Literary Contest Winners

ACC Writers Studio is happy to announce the winners of its 2014 literary contest. First place winners receive $250, an invitation to attend our Writers Studio Literary Festival on April 19, 2014 where they will read from their winning work, and publication in next year’s ACC art and literary journal, Progenitor.  Second place winners are our guests at the Writers Studio Literary Festival. 

Congratulations to the winners of the contest and many thanks to everyone who entered our 2014 Writers Studio Literary Contest. The judges were impressed by the quality of work in all categories this year. 

Fiction: Seth Brady Tucker, final fiction judge

Fiction 1st Place: Hillary Leftwich, Free Lunch

The language in Free Lunch is rich and semi-lyrical in nature, and the author makes the reader play a part in the narrative by placing us in the second person. The author seems to know exactly how this strategy will serve the best interest of the story, and because of this, the transition from the realistic world to the mystical world is flawlessly rendered.  When the author trained a careful eye on the world around them, the results were lovely and evocative.  Like all great writing, the author gives us small bites that digest like a feast, and the final moments are rendered with what T.S. Eliot called a “hallucinatory point” of emphasis.

Hillary Leftwich is a native of Colorado and currently lives in Denver with her son. She holds a BA in English/Professional Writing from CU Denver and an MA in Creative Writing from Regis University. Co-founder of Denver Shitty Writers, a Denver local writing group, Leftwich was recently interviewed by The Missouri Review for their Working Writer Series.  She is a fiction editor for The Conium Review and has a story forthcoming in NANO Fiction. 

Fiction 2nd Place: Patricia Jackson, Ivan and the Kitten

The writing in Ivan and the Kitten is clear and direct, and the characterization and setting is rich and detailed.  The author builds on a specific sense of peril for the main character, and the live wire of tension is expertly managed.  There is obviously a skilled writer here who pays attention to careful construction of the world within the narrative, and of the fragile relationships therein.  This world, filled with truck-stops and wind and the wild open road (and a kitten, of course), is easy to love and fear.

Fiction finalists:

Meredith Bateman, Howling Neon Flat: Or A Long Way From Home

Rebecca Rowley, Flamingo Sketches


Poetry: Bill Tremblay, final poetry judge

lary klemanPoetry 1st Place: Lary Kleeman, From the Book of Revelation

From the Book of Revelations combines seven chapters and verses in an imitation of John of Patmos’ book of the apocalypse with matters global and personal, economic and ecological. Because it includes the personal and the private, and uses of the tone and diction of the King James Bible—sometimes a slightly comic effect—it stays together in one grand unit that is ambitious, but successfully accomplished by weaving in the original textual images. This is a huge poem and deserves to be awarded first place. 

Born and raised in Denver, Lary Kleeman teaches high school English at Arapahoe High School. From 1992-94, Kleeman taught conversational English in the Peace Corps in Estonia. A graduate of the MFA program at the University of Montana, Kleeman is a recipient of the Colorado Council on the Arts Poetry Fellowship (2002) and has self-published a chapbook entitled Negotiating a Lower Angle.


rosannesternePoetry 2nd Place: Rosanne Sterne, Eleven Pebbles from the mountains of stone  

Eleven pebbles from the mountains of stone is amazing in the many types of magic which are invoked by the speaker and the father—dreams, effective dreams, sacrifices, burnt offerings, mother magic, word magic, chemical magic.  It reads like Eudora Welty’s “Why I Live at the P.O.” This is a big piece of work..

Rosanne Sterne is a poet, watercolorist, and flutist whose love of bright colors and musical lyricism finds its way into her poetic work.  Rosanne’s poetry has been widely published in literary magazines, and her first book of poems, Dancing in the Gaps, was published in 2010 by Finishing Line Press.  Rosanne is a graduate of Harvard University where she studied poetry with Alan Williamson.  She was the recipient of Harvard’s David McCord Prize for creativity.  When not creating, Rosanne is a Consultant to Foundations specializing in arts and culture.  She lives in Littleton, Colorado with her family


Poetry Finalists

Juli Gage-Macdonald, “Bushman,”  “The First” (Honorable Mention)

Alexandra Awe, “don’t we speak ghetto,” “Chattanooga’s Bronze God”

Constance Boyle, flying

Gail Waldstein, the cliffs

Kathleen Willard, Landscape with Infestations


Creative Nonfiction: Jill Christman, final judge

cindy skaggsCreative Nonfiction 1st place: Cindy Skaggs, Matchbook Memory

The winning essay begins in the pure, blue-flame heat of the narrator's memory:  her single mother lights spilled peppermint schnapps with a wooden matchstick on the pine table of the family card game and the clean-burning result smells like Christmas.  This remembered flame smolders in metaphor as we move deeper into an essay that takes on flame like a fire jumper leaping into the heat—the function and science of fire, what we can know from the color of the smoke, what happens when fire burns out of control, and why we are drawn to watch:  "We want to know how humans can confront the horror."  In the midst of all this burning, we learn what else our narrator knows about conflagration as she confronts her own escape from an abusive marriage, the personal threat to her reclaimed home in the Black Forest Fire, and finally, what it means to rebuild and recover

Cindy Skaggs is an expert in fear.  She steeps herself in the adrenaline rush, the fight or flight triggers that twist in the gut, speed through the pulse, and make the hair turn prematurely gray.  She loses herself in a good suspense novel, writing conflicted characters that are forced to face their worst nightmares.  We want to know how humans confront fear, we want to know how they survive, how they overcome; and so we keep turning the pages

Cindy saw the world with the Air Force before returning to her beloved state of Colorado to write full time.  She is a graduate student at Regis University pursuing a degree in Creative Writing.  She writes fiction, creative nonfiction, and memoir.


annie dawidCreative Nonfiction 2nd place: Annie Dawid, Extratemporal

From the first paragraph of this taut and complex essay, the reader is gripped in the unreeling narrative of a fatal accident on a Boise highway and its deepening connection to the narrator's drunken bicycle accident decades prior.  In this folding over of stories—on the hinges of memory, despair, and of course, what it means to be outside of time—"Extratemporal" becomes more than a meticulous investigation of a grisly accident and a rich profile of its survivor and his community.  Spliced with the narrator's personal story of depression, this essay interrogates the many ways our lives can careen off the road, sometimes jumping the guardrail.  In the end, we are left pondering both what might constitute a miracle alongside "the blissful idea of flight." 

Annie Dawid has published three books of fiction, AND DARKNESS WAS UNDER HIS FEET: STORIES OF A FAMILY (Litchfield Review Press, winner of their Short Fiction Prize); LILY IN THE DESERT (Carnegie-Mellon University Press Series in Short Fiction) and YORK FERRY: A NOVEL (Cane Hill Press).

Most recently, she won the 2013 Northern Colorado Writers Award in the Personal Essay and the 2013 New Rocky Mountain Voices Award for her short play, "Gunplay." Last year, she won the 2012 Fall Flash Fiction Orlando Award from A Room of One's Own Foundation and the 2012 Essay Prize from the Dana Awards. She has taught two workshops at the Taos Summer Writers Conference, University of New Mexico, and one at the Castle Rock Writers Conference (Colorado). Newest publications are online at 1000 words and Fiction Attic.


Nonfiction finalists:

Julie Gage-Macdonald, Words with Friends . . .or Myself

Neeli Lambert, Banana Box

Hillary Leftwich, Play Date

Antoinette Tadolini, Totipotency