Tiny Light's Annual Essay Contest

Contest Results from 2011

As always at this time of year, the thrill of announcing contest winners is dampened somewhat by the need to determine "losers." Part of the reason I feel bad is knowing I don't have the guts to enter contests very often myself. I am far too sensitive to rejection! As Bill Shapiro, editor of "Other People's Rejection Letters," stated in a CBS interview, "It came to me at some point while compiling the book that maybe I hadn't taken enough chances in my own life." He went on to talk about how moved and inspired he was as a result of spending time in the losing camp.

The risks you've each taken in this year's competition have paid off in obvious ways for some of you, but you've all earned badges of honor. Wear them proudly! And thank you again for the courage to share your stories. Keep the faith and you're already on your way to victory. Don't forget to look at the list of Entries of Note. Victory may be closer than you think.

Awarded Winners

First Prize of $350

O, Engineer! by Anna Belle Kaufman

Second Prize of $250

Floating by Tim Bascom

Third Prize of $150

Nisqually Fish Fling by Adrienne Ross Scanlan

Honorable Mentions

In alphabetical order

Contestants received $

"Submarine Dreams" by Ed Miracle
"Lost. Found" by Christine Watson


"Forgiveness" by Mary Zelinka
"I Tell You Something" by Jessica McCaughey
"Rock Bottom" by Marcelle Soviero


In no particular order

"A Strand in Her Intricate Weave" by Alison Townsend
"Hail Mary, Full of Grace" by Susan Gabrielle
"Goddesses" by Anna Hui Dong
"Retreat of the Fifty-foot Woman" by Helen Campbell
"Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die?" by B.J. Yudelson


"The Broccoli Dance" by Susanna Solomon
"Reality" by Sheila Robertson

Entries of Note

And Comments from Susan

An email from one of the contest judges took the words out of my mouth: "This selection seems to me the best in years, the best I can remember. The themes seem familiar: loss of parent, loss of child, loss of innocence, loss of virginity, discovery of wonder; but the quality of the writing, precision of language, metaphor, music, it was all exceptional. How can everything be exceptional?"

We count ourselves among the truly fortunate to have had such an extraordinary assortment of essays to choose among, as evidenced by these entries of note:

“White Lies” by Susan Sheu; “Phil’s Legacy”b y Kriss Erickson; “Harvest” by Claudia Charlton; “Love Learned” by Tina Traster; “Comedians’ Scruples” by Eugene Bales; “Rumpus on Regency” by Sylvia Balin; “Literary Gold Rusher” by Ellen Swain Veen; “First Love” by Pat Gilmore; “The Morning Bird” by Stephanie Veitch; “Invitation” by Ariel Smart; “Dogs of Manhattan” by Pat Pomerleau Chavez; “Sharpening my Spider Sensibility” by Marie Masters; “Phantom” by Christina Lynn Schneider; “The Haircut” by Evan Katz; “Memorial Day 2008” by Mary Jo Balistreri; “Changing Planes” by Kathryn Drew; “The Faithful” by Jan Davies; “In My Father’s Eye” Jean Wollam; “The Guilt Tradition” by Joanna Castle Miller; “It’s an Inside Job” by Judith Matson; “How It Is” by Claude Clayton Smith; “Risking My Baby” by Barbarann K. Ayars; “Capricorn Rising” by Laura Darrah; “Touched by a Pine Siskin” by Bill Sherwonit; “Old Leaf/New Leaf” by Colleen Craig; “The Spy Who Loves Me” by Jan Henrikson; “The Loony Bin” by Justin Hudnell; “Closing the Book” by Johanna Solly; “Thorny” by Catherine Montague; “Mom and the Soap” by Maureen Holtz; “A Wintry Night” by Margaret Mary Monahan; “Year’s End” by Julie Cade; “Wireless Love” by Andrea Marcusa; “Illusions of Grandeur” by Gordon Warady; “Dear Beatrice” by Deborah Guerra; “Give in to Loss” by Nancy Wallace-Nelson; “Beached” by Anne Kaier; “Reunion” by Leslie Tucker; “Guts” by Ed Feldman; “Flamenco Dancing on My Heart” by Ange Crawford; “Liar” by Lynn Sunday; “Mother’s Curse” by Kate Bracy

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