Creative Nonfiction

Gail Wilson Kenna Creative Nonfiction Prize Category

1st Prize: $100…. 2nd Prize: $50…. Third Prize:…. $25

Category Details

Creative non-fiction is a fusion of language, memory and imagination, through which a writer reveals in a story or personal essay, the truth and meaning of actual, lived experience. What a creative non-fiction writer enjoys is the freedom to use fictional techniques, such as dialogue, point of view and more, in crafting an authentic piece of writing. I look forward to reading personal narratives of up to 3000 words (12 pages), of hearing a compelling voice ( whatever the emotional register of that voice might be, from sadness to hilarity); and of entering a vividly rendered story or personal essay, which will stay with me for its soul-making.

About Judge/Sponsor

GAIL WILSON KENNA (Kilmarnock, VA) has taught literature and writing in university programs in Germany, Malaysia, Venezuela, Colombia, and four U.S. universities/colleges. Her contributions to magazines and newspapers are numerous, as have been her writing awards. In 2012 the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference awarded her the Donald Axinn fiction scholarship for a novel in progress. Gail’s three published books include: Along the Gold Rush Trail, used in adult ESL, Face of the Avila, written and published in Caracas, Venezuela, and Beyond the Wall, a compilation of essays about her four years of working with incarcerated North Americans in Venezuela’s infamous prisons. The book, awarded a Puffin Foundation grant in 2000, was distributed widely to journalists, policy makers, and organizations concerned with the ‘war on drugs’ in South America. A native of California, Gail now resides on a creek of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay with her husband, three hours from D.C. where their adult daughters live.

Last Year’s Winners (2016)

First Prize: Diane Lee Moomey of El Granada, CA for “Diving, in Two Voices”
Second Prize: Lynn Sunday of Half Moon Bay, CA for “Liar”
Third Prize: Lyzette Wanzer of San Francisco, CA for “Third Eye”

Honorable Mentions: Susan Lowell of Tucson, AZ for “Peak”; Mary Beth O’Connor of Millbrae, CA for “One Diary and Two Cars”; Barbara Ridley of Albany, CA for “Missing”; Sue Granzella of San Leandro, CA for “Pearls and a Blue Dress” Sara Etgen-Baker of Anna, TX for “I Forgot the Grand Children”