Announcing the 2016 Emerging Writer’s Contest Winners

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From Left to Right: Leila Chatti, Mimi Dixon, Lydia Martín

After receiving thousands of submissions from talented writers, we’re proud to announce the three winners of the 2016 Emerging Writer’s Contest, judged by Anthony Marra (fiction), Marianne Boruch (poetry), and Dinty W. Moore (nonfiction). 

lydiamartin-1In fiction, our winner is Lydia Martín for her story “The Adjustment Act.” Of her story, fiction judge Anthony Marra said, “‘The Adjustment Act’ is a flat-out triumph: richly characterized, gorgeously rendered, deeply humane.”

Lydia Martín is an award-winning journalist and fiction writer who spent more than 25 years covering Miami’s growth and cultural evolution for The Miami Herald. Her column, Lunch with Lydia, debuted in 2001 and remains a fixture in the Herald’s Sunday features section. Her writing has appeared in books such as Presenting Celia Cruz (Clarkson Potter) and Louis Vuitton City Guide, Miami; in literary journals such as Fifth Wednesday Journal and Origins Literary Journal; and in magazines such as Billboard, Esquire, InStyle, Oprah, Latina (for which she also served as a contributing editor), Hispanic and Out. She has BA in English and journalism from the University of Miami and an MFA in creative writing from Bennington College.

Fiction Honorable Mention: “How to Survive on Land” by Joy Baglio

IMG_7040-4In poetry, our winner is Leila Chatti for her poem “Confession.” Poetry judge Marianne Boruch said, “This poet has managed both to honor and upset convention in a most kickass-lively way.”

Leila Chatti is a Tunisian-American poet. She is the recipient of a fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center, a scholarship from the Tin House Writers’ Workshop, and prizes from Narrative Magazine’s 30 Below Contest and the Academy of American Poets, as well as the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize. Her poems appear in Best New Poets, Narrative, Boston Review, The Missouri Review, North American Review, TriQuarterly, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. She is originally from East Lansing, Michigan, and received her MFA in poetry from North Carolina State University.

Poetry Honorable Mention: “In Sharpening the Blade, You Make a Smaller Blade” by Aaron Krol

DSC_0010_2_2In nonfiction, our winner is Mimi Dixon for her essay “Breath.” Nonfiction judge Dinty W. Moore said the following about the winning piece: “An exquisite memoir essay filled with gorgeous detail, breath, music, wisdom, and surprise. Though I never met the author’s father, by the end of this graceful, intimate essay I too miss his presence in the world.”

Mimi Dixon is professor emeritus of English at Wittenberg University in Ohio where she taught Shakespeare and writing.  Winner of the William Allen Creative Nonfiction Prize, and a finalist for the 2014 Lamar York Prize in Nonfiction, her essays have appeared in The Journal, The Pinch, and Fourth Genre. “Breath,” is from her recently completed collection of essays entitled Background Music.

Nonfiction Honorable Mention: “Annotating the First Page of the First Navajo-English Dictionary” by Danielle Gellar

Look out for the winning work in the Winter 2016-2017 issue of Ploughshares.

For more information on the Emerging Writer’s Contest, see the guidelines.