Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest 2016
Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest!
First Prize $1,500 Fiction
Dave Edgerton, The Death of Betty Boop
First Prize $1,500 Nonfiction
Lisa Suhair Majaj, Journeys to Jerusalem
Honorable Mention $100
- Linda Barbosa, Miz Maddie’s School for Fine Young Ladies, Fiction
- Carey Ford Compton, Brawn, Fiction
- Iris Litt, Karl Marx Doesn’t Know Everything, Fiction
- Juliana Roth, Time Away, Fiction
- William Pei Shih, Caterpillars, Fiction
- Nadeem Zaman, Changing Hands, Fiction
- W. Royce Adams, Terror Lynching, Nonfiction
- Elizabeth Hoover, Phantom Language, Nonfiction
- Amanda Mancino-Williams, How Does an Island Feel, Nonfiction
- Kathryn Winograd, Breviaries of the Ghost, Nonfiction
In our 2016 contest, 1,453 entries were judged by Arthur Powers with assistance from Lauren Singer. Mr. Powers shares his thoughts below:
It was an honor and privilege, once again, to read the diverse and challenging stories and essays submitted. There were many strong submissions in each category. Among the finalists, a number of the fiction pieces had great potential but lacked resolution. I don't mean that they should be neatly tied up with a bow, but there needs to be a sense of turning, of development—that we have arrived some place, even if that place may be a question. Similarly, many of the essays were interesting but needed more of a narrative arc holding them together.
Winner this year for fiction is Dave Edgerton's "The Death of Betty Boop". Set in Nicaragua during the Contra wars, the story richly portrays the tropical village atmosphere, the wartime balance of boredom and tension, told through a well-developed narrative voice.
Fiction Honorable Mentions went to:
- Linda Barbosa, "Miz Maddie's School for Fine Young Ladies"—absorbing historical fiction
- Carey Compton, "Brawn"—a beautifully crafted sci-fi story
- Iris Litt, "Karl Marx Doesn't Know Everything"—an amusing, enjoyable story about young women volunteering in the potato fields during World War II
- William Pei Shih, "Caterpillars"—tracing the relationship between a Chinese-American boy and the local white bully
- Juliana Roth, "Time Away"—a sensitive portayal of a loving couple growing old
- Nadeem Zaman, "Changing Hands"—a story of bureaucratic oppression in Bangladesh
The winner for nonfiction is Lisa Suhair Majaj's "Journeys to Jerusalem". Written by a Palestinian-American who has visited Jerusalem frequently for forty years, it gives a day-to-day, non-dramatic sense of Palestinians' abiding connection to the storied city, as well as the forces that try to break that connection.
Nonfiction Honorable Mentions went to:
- W. Royce Adams, "Terror Lynching"—a white northern boy's experience of having witnessed a lynched body in 1930s Alabama
- Elizabeth Hoover, "Phantom Language"—a thoughtful, multi-dimensional piece by a victim of crime
- Amanda Mancino-Williams, "How Does an Island Feel"—a mother's story of growing with her gifted child
- Kathryn Winograd, "Breviaries of the Ghost"—a lyrical essay about time, memory, trees, living and dead children
Mr. Powers would like to recognize the following entries as finalists:
Susan Braghieri, "The New Millennium"
Susan Breall, "Queenie"
Joseph Cavano, "On a Path with Giants"
Grazie Christie, "In the Shadow of the Porticos"
Janna Cohen, "Ick"
John Desjarlais, "Blood of the Martyrs"
Richard Driskill, "Mickey"
Jean Ende, "My Father Wants I Should Know"
Jean Ende, "The Best Egg Cream in the Bronx"
Michael Fedo, "Art's Place"
Kathleen Ford, "Confirmation"
Alice Friedman, "Trespassing"
Robert Goodwin, "A Walk Around the Block"
Ramona Hyman, "Nigger Woman: A Revelation"
David Lozar, M.D., "The Home"
Amy Montemarano, "Alongside Me"
Leslie Munnelly, "Tonic Immobility"
Jeannine Ouellette, "Family, Family"
Robin Palmer, "A Flower from Kerala"
John Perrotta, "Fire Day"
Holly Selph, "Shape Without Form"
Elaine Slater, "Absalom"
Deborah Smith, "Shopping at Von Beck's"
Ron Teachworth, "Henry's Moment"
Debbie Weingarten, "Precarious Things"
Chellis Ying, "Made in USA"
Mark Zipoli, "Final People"
Jon Allsop, "Divided Capital, Divided Nation: On Tearing Down Cyprus' Barbed Wire"
Jason Arment, "Suffer the Children"
Tara Campbell, "Stowaway in Plain Sight: How Growing Up in Alaska Gave a Black Girl a Seat on the Dominant Culture Express"
Laura Edwards, "Taylor's Tale"
Donna Emerson, "White Peaches"
Dave Essinger, "Hallucinating in Suburbia: John Cheever, Buddha, and the Unabomber on the Urban Ultramarathon"
Wendy Fontaine, "Family Recipe"
Robert Hill Long, "The Carolinian, Raleigh to Manhattan"
Lisa Majaj, "Being Palestinian"
Amanda Marsico, "'Mommy Issues' and Madness in Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea"
Irene McCoy, "The Case of the Missing Career"
Caitlin McGill, "How Much for That Pair of Shoes?"
Aefa Mulholland, "Chicken and Hen"
Nita Ritzke, "Letters to Eva"
Mariflo Stephens, "Birthmark"
Paul Thiel, "Stonewall and the Village"
Sarah Weaver, "Behind the Clickbait"
Lauren Singer is an assistant judge of our Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest and North Street Book Prize, critiques poems, stories, and essays, and is a past judge of our Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest. She is a native New Yorker living in Western Massachusetts. Her poetry has been published in Nerve House, Bareback, Feel the Word, Read This, Kosmosis, One Night Stanzas, and other literary magazines across the country. In 2015 she received her MSW at the University of Chicago, is a graduate of Bard College at Simon's Rock, and an attendee of the New York State Summer Writer's Institute. She has self-published three chapbooks and received an honorable mention in the 2011 Wergle Flomp contest. In addition to her creative interests, Lauren works as a mental health clinician and therapist in Holyoke, MA. Lauren prides herself on her wealth of useless knowledge, namely of nineties R&B lyrics, and she can pretty much quote "The X-Files".
Arthur Powers is a past judge of the Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest. Mr. Powers went to Brazil in 1969 as a Peace Corps Volunteer and has lived most of his adult life there. From 1985 to 1992, he and his wife served with the Franciscans in the eastern Amazon, organizing subsistence farmers in an area of violent land conflicts. They subsequently directed relief and development projects in the drought-ridden Brazilian Northeast. Currently they live in North Carolina.
Mr. Powers is the author of A Hero for the People (Press 53, 2013)—a collection of short stories set in Brazil—and The Book of Jotham (Tuscany Press), which won the 2012 Tuscany Press Novella Award. He has received a Fellowship in Fiction from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, three annual awards for short fiction from the Catholic Press Association, the 2014 Catholic Arts & Literature Award for adult fiction, and second prize in the 2008 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest for "The Bridge". He is the contemporary editor emeritus of CatholicFiction.net, judge of the 2015 Dappled Things JF Powers Short Story Contest, and serves on the board of The Raleigh Review.