When we decided to run a writing contest, we didn’t quite know what to expect. It has been a fascinating, eye opening process reading through entries and selecting the winners and runners up. Â Narrowing the field to determine our winners and runners up was quite a challenge.
We received 92 entries from 83 writers, falling just short of the 100 entries we needed to pay the original prize pool. Still, we enjoyed the writing that came our way so much we’re going to pay the full prize pool anyway. The three winners all submitted two pieces to the competition. We thought that was strange and interesting.
Often times, a theme will start to emerge from a selection of writing. That was not the case here. We read a really unique range of short stories, poetry and work that defies categorization. Some of the entries were clearly written by people who had never read PANK before and as you might expect, those works were not as compelling. We received very few poems though one poem did win. The work we enjoyed most was not just well-written; that’s a given. The best stories and poems were also emotional and odd and angry and complex. The best stories shocked us. The writing of each of the winners made us uncomfortable in all the best ways. Their words pushed our tender buttons. They made us think. They made us want to read them over and over again. That’s all we can ask for and it’s all we could ever want.
Without further preamble, the winners of the first 1,001 Awesome Words Contest are:
First place ($750 and publication in PANK 4) Karen Gentry, Denial in Miniature
Second place ($500 and publication in PANK 4) Tim Jones-Yelvington, The Lawn Guard
Third place ($250 and publication in PANK 4) Joel Patton, Sanguis
Runners Up (Publication in PANK online)
Tania Hershman, Vegetable, Mineral
Robert Swartwood, Seven Items in Jason Reynolds”â„¢ Jacket Pocket, Two Days After His Suicide, As Found by his Eight-Year-Old Brother, Grady
Pedro Ponce, The Church of Best Guesses
Ben Loory, Lonny Winters
Jessica Hagemann, MySpace: Begin
ja tyler, the rhinoceros
Karen Gentry, It’s Been Real
All entrants will receive a copy of PANK 4.