Winners of Past Writers' Café Writing Contests


The Julianne McAdoo Award in Fiction (judged by Catherine Gammon)

  • First prize: Michelle Soto Fernandez, "Papa"
  • Second prize (tie): Jessica McKenzie, "Playing with Water"
  • Second prize (tie): Bethel Mesfin, "God in Me, Good in You"

Poetry (judged by Lauren Russell)

  • First prize: Allaina Wagner, "The Male Gaze Story Arc" 
  • Second prize: Charlotte Pearse, "A Mother's Garden" 

Nonfiction (judged by Emily Maloney)

  • No prize awarded in nonfiction this year



Fiction (judged by Deesha Philyaw)

  • First prize: Megan Williams, "C-A-T M-O-M"
  • Second prize: Alexandra Ross, "Fire Drill" 
  • Third prize: Avery Moore, "Smithereens" 

Poetry (judged by Sheila Black)

  • First prize: Alivia Vaughns, "the resistance of demolished skin"
  • Second prize: Megan Williams, "I mother" 
  • Third prize: Austin Kuntz, "Hair Day" 
  • Honorable mention: Lucas Mancini, "Birdseed/Feeding/Rhizome/Gutfauna"
  • Honorable mention: Craig Hays II, "Welcome to Jim's Diner"
  • Honorable mention: Charlotte Pearse, "I am giving up on love"

Nonfiction (judged by Robin Clarke)

  • First prize: Megan Williams, "Translations"
  • Second prize: Rachel Jiejun Wonder, "It is my body that makes me like you" 
  • Third prize: Anna Coleman, "The Strangest Rockstar to Ever Live"



Fiction (judged by Christine Stroud)

  • First prize: Gabe Kaminsky, “Cellular Network Not Detected”
  • Second prize: Anjalika Chalamgari, “Recall”

Poetry (judged by Christine Stroud)

  • First prize: Joseph Gunho Jang, “Someday I'll Love Joseph Gunho Jang”
  • Second prize: Marina Fec, “Hunt”
  • Honorable mention: Sarah McKee, “Baby Northside”

Nonfiction (judged by Paola Corso)

  • First prize: Leah Mensch, “Before the Blood”
  • Second prize: Anna Coleman, “Kundera in South Africa”
  • Honorable mention (tie): Michaela Hope, "notes from a grandfather" 
  • Honorable mention (tie): Alivia Vaughns, "skin fragments" 


Fiction (judged by Robert Yune)

  • First prize: Abby Jarrett, “False Cypress”
  • Second prize: Paige Lawler, “Steinway”

Poetry (judged by Nancy Krygowski)

  • First prize: Marina Fec, “Ohio”
  • Second prize: Michaela Hope, “Sake Days”
  • Honorable mention: Mia DiFelice “Galaxy Girls”

Nonfiction (judged by Brad Felver)

  • First prize: Kieran Mclean, “In Her Town, They Call Her Sister Summer”
  • Second prize: Joseph Jang, “Letter from a Foreign Son”



Fiction (judged by Rachel Hall)

  • First Prize: Jessica Simpson,  “Waiting for Vilomah”
  • Second Prize: Olivia Lapinski, “how to make a truth”
  • Honorable mention: Cynthia Teramae, “Gurkha”

Poetry (judged by Adriana E. Ramírez)

  • First Prize: Marissa Perino, “Best Westerns”        
  • Second Prize: Marina Fec, “ugly ugly ugly”
  • Honorable Mentions:
    • Thia Paruchuru, “Note to Self”
    • Joseph Jang, “Through a Sun-dried Viewfinder
    • Mia DiFelice, “Seville Cathedral, Juan de Castillo” 

Nonfiction (judged by D. Gilson)       

  • First Prize:    Marissa Perino, “jam jars & growing up feral”
  • Second Prize: Claire Franken, “Womanhood”



Fiction  (judged by Suzanne Heagy)

  • First Prize         Shannon Kelly for “The Doctor’s Favorite Hour”
  • Second Prize    Alaina Pandl for “An Unwanted Bond”

Poetry (judged by Judith Vollmer)

  • First Prize           Alison Moore for “Room 42, Wing D”
  • Second Prize      Catherine Pressimone for “The Lying Cat”

Nonfiction (judged by Tracy O’Neill)       

  • First Prize           Zhihui Jiao  for “Carry On”

Hear the winners read their work on Prosody.



Poetry (judged by Nancy Koerbel)

  • First Prize:  Andrew Maguire for his poem “I’m Cold”
  • Second Prize: Kyle Hoch for his poem “Columns, I suppose by their nature, stand stoically”

Fiction (judged by Keely Bowers)

  • First Prize: "Kathleen Mullins for her story “Cassie”
  • Second Prize: Elisabeth Sutor for her story "The Bray Arrowhead Collection”

Nonfiction (judged by Ronna Edelstein)

  • First Prize: Margaret Mass for her essay "Plants and People"
  • Second Prize: Shannon Kelly for her essay "Into the Confessional”

Hear the winners read their work on Prosody.



Poetry (judged by Joshua Zelesnick)

  • First Prize:  Mackenzie Yordy for her poem "Second Story”
  • Second Prize: Shannon Kelly for her poem "Occupation"

Fiction (judged by Julianne McAdoo)

  • First Prize: Mary Sico for her story "Leash Training"
  • Second Prize: Ojel Nduanya for her story "The Cure"

Nonfiction (judged by Renee Prymus)

  • First Prize: Anna Nguyen for her essay "When Life Stings"
  • Second Prize: Hannah Berg for her essay "Indigestion"

Hear the winners read their work on Prosody.



 (judged by Pam O’Brien)

  • First prize: Christine Schauer for “Containment”

  • Second Prize: Leah Friedman for “Weakness Will Not Be Weakness”

Fiction (judged by Heidi Diehl

  • First prize: Page Jesionowski for “Your Story Told”

  • Second Prize: Liz McLaughlin for “Prints”

 (judged by Stephen Howie

  • First prize: Kelsey Hughes for “Series of Last Things”

  • Second Prize: Jie Chen for “Across the Infinite Snow Border”

Hear the winners read their work on Prosody.



Nonfiction (judged by Abby Mendelson)

  • First prize: Robert Leight for "Binary and Telephone Calls"
  • Second prize: Brittany Whoric for "Yellows"

Poetry (judged by Sharon McDermott)

  • First prize: Anne Dominique Briones for "All the Same"
  • Second prize: Lexi Miller-Golub for "We Who Whistle in Graveyards"

Fiction (judged by Jen Howard)

  • First prize: Elizabeth McLoughlin for "Le Mot Juste or the Angel at the Trestle"
  • Second prize: Kaeli Hood for "Radio Silence"

Hear the winners read their work on Prosody.



Fiction (judged by Robert Yune)

  • First prize: Nina Sabak for "Something Small and Made of Fire"

  • Second prize: Taylor Breslin for "As If You're Fooling Anyone"

Nonfiction (judged by Robyn Jodlowski)

  • First prize: Nina Sabak for "Little Red Sister"

  • Second prize: Brittany Whoric for "Press Pause"

Poetry (judged by Beth Newborg)

  • First prize: Joshua Patton for "Faking It"

  • Second prize: Joshua Patton for "Drug Education"



Fiction (judged by Sal Pane)

  • First prize: Elizabeth McLaughlin for "The Cabin"

  • Second Prize: Noah Levinson for "Chest"

Nonfiction (judged by Libby Hultberg)

  • First prize: Josh Patton for "Gunzo: The Thrill of Fear and Fear of the Thrill"
  • Second Prize: Mary Sico for "The Thistle"

Poetry (judged by Chad Vogler)

  • Total 3-poem sweep by Nina Sabak with first prize going to the poem, "To Survive"

Hear the winners read their work on Prosody.




  • First prize: Nina Sabak for "Women Running to the Sea"

  • Second Prize: Lawrence Lenhart for "Old Parts"


  • First prize: Rachel Hutchinson for "Tape"

  • Second Prize: Melissa Difatta for "Hair"


  • First prize: Melissa Difatta for "Letters, In Case I Die"

  • Second Prize: Joyce McDonald for "Mother's Day"

Hear the winners read their work on Prosody.




  • First Prize: Shannon Spies for "The Master's Arrangement"

  • Second Prize: Amy Hayes for "On the Porch"


  • First Prize: Rachel Hutchinson for "Bees Can See UV"

  • Second Prize: Jennifer Lue for "Salt Lick"


  • First Prize: Noor Abdelghani for "Voices: An Autobiography of Song"

  • Second Prize: Jennifer Lue for "Applied Mathematics"

Hear the winners read their work on Prosody.



Hear the winners read their work on Prosody.




  • First Prize: Brian Scullion for "The Night under the Palms"


  • First Prize: Greg Havlicsek for "Soft"

  • Second Prize: Grace Amorose for "How to Travel Italy and Not Speak the Language"


  • First Prize: Rimma Hussain for "For Momma"

  • Second Prize: Joe Clark for "What Veins Fail to Carry"




  • First Prize: Mary Zangrilli 

  • Second Prize: Devin Symons


  • First Prize: Devin Symons 

  • Second Prize: Kim Revay


  • First Prize: Melissa Hull 

  • Second Prize: Caroline Sheedy




  • First prize: Mukai Shumba for "Elegy to My Mother"
  • Honorable Mention: Sarah Eastly for "To Nature, her spirit, mine in hers"

  • Honorable Mention: Ashley Hooper for "Teaching Li Po English Under a Full Moon and Falling in Love"


  • First prize: Patrick Manning for "How Do You Mean?"



First prize: Debra Lytle for "Far from the Creek"