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2017 Utah State University Creative Writing Contest Announces Winners

The Utah State University Creative Writing Contest has named the winners in its 24th annual competition, recognizing the best creative work by USU students. Open to all USU undergraduate and graduate students from all departments and disciplines, the contest awards top writers of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, as well as visual artists in painting and photography. Each category received the blind review of expert judges drawn from the USU and Cache Valley arts community.

The competition this year was very close, with the high quality of work making the judges’ work difficult. “I didn't see myself judging these pieces as much as genuinely enjoying them for their thoughtful honesty and construction,” said one of the poetry judges, Mary Ellen Greenwood. “Each poet had strong moments, and I am impressed with the level of creative writing talent from USU students.”

This year marks the first year the contest will partner with USU’s new, international undergraduate literary journal, Sink Hollow. The winning entries will be published in a special contest issue, giving this work an international audience.

This year’s winners will also get the chance to share their work locally on April 27th, when they will give a reading at Helicon West.

“It’s always such a fun night when the winners read at Helicon,” said the contest director, Charles Waugh. “It’s a time to celebrate not only the winning work, but also our whole, vibrant writing community here at USU and in Cache Valley.”

The Helicon West reading of the contest winning work will be held April 27th on the USU campus in Library 101 at 7pm.

2017 USU Creative Writing Contest Winners


First: Abi Newhouses How We Fall
Second: Brandyn Hawkes Cost of Steel
Third: Andrew Simpson I am Your Messiah
First: Kyle Pyfer
Second: Justin Smith
Genesis 1:26
Third: Millie Tullis
Her Body as Petals
First: Andrew Romriell Painting a One-Night, Release, The Pulp On Which We Write
Second: Millie Tullis Tradition, Grocery Store Line, A Month Ago I killed Mouse
Third: Chris Davis Modern Poetry, Observation Log 11/08/2016, You'll Know It When You Find It
First: Kathryn Christian Breach
Second: Anastasia Lugo Mendez Ghost Light
Third: Keoki Kemp Desert Rats
First: Keoki Kemp Faux Fire Starter
Second: Shay Larsen Cloven

First: McKenzie Livingston
Kindling, Sustenance, and Science
Second: Lauren Ducas Travels Through the Southwest with The Greatest Dr Zen and the Guardian Alien; Nehallenia's Temple is Buried by the Tide; To Live in the House Where Your Brother Died
Third: Kathryn Christian Carp, Love Song on the Quad, A Walk with a Distant Lover on Cannon Beach


ART Winners

First: Bailee Jones Mask
Second: Natsumi Then Shimazaki Cyclops Tropics & Lofticries
Third: Chris Davis Burano Windows
Honorable Mention
Chris Davis Forest Focus
Bailee Jones Inquietude, Sister, Not Sunday
Natsumi Then Shimazaki cinem v lese parts 1+2, Blending in Nature: Natural and Urban Coalescence
Luke Lemon Dog Days are Over 1, 2, 3, +5
Janet E Allen-Hancock ALTPolarVortex
First: Lauren Ducas Near Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Second: Lauren Ducas Sunset at Bear Lake, Utah
Third: Hailey Cragun Brush Curve