2023 Spring Writing Contest Winners Announced

Six Mason Students Win $500 Each

2023 Spring Writing Contest Winners Announced

Six George Mason University students were awarded $500 each as winners of this year’s Spring Writing Contests. The contests are an annual tradition presented by the English Department’s Creative Writing Program.

Winners included Brenna R. Fuhr for "Blessed are the Meek" (GMU Rinehart Fiction Award judged by Okezie Nwoka); F.N. Baylor for "Castor and Pollux" (GMU Rinehart Nonfiction Award judged by Jamie Zvirzdin); Eli Vandegrift for "Gender Theory According to Dinosaurs" (GMU Rinehart Poetry Award judged by Kate Partridge); Bodie L. Fox for "Some Glad Morning" (Dan Rudy Fiction Award judged by Courtney Sender); Kylie Pat Smith for "The Moth Effect" (Mary Roberts Rinehart Nonfiction Award judged by Porscha Burke); and Bri Chapman for "[amazing fantasy # 15.ditko. 4-color process ink on newsprint]" (Mark Craver Poetry Award judged by Steven D. Leyva.

In regard to Eli Vandegrift’s winning poem, judge Kate Partridge (MFA ’13) said, "I enjoyed the way this poem uses beautiful associative movements to reframe supposed dichotomies in surprising (and often funny) ways. The speaker's approach to gender theory feels fresh and precise, as they examine their own betweenness.” Partridge teaches at Regis University in Denver and is co-founder and an editor at Switchback Books.

About Kylie Smith’s winning nonfiction piece, judge Porscha Burke, Director of Strategic Projects and Senior Editor-at-Large at Random House, said, “The narrative pacing here was a treat to experience, and the writer's excellent deployment of sentence-length variation echoed the brilliant compositions of writers like Tara Westover and Ariel Levy. I very much hope the story can be expanded into a longer-form work and ultimately published."

Judge Courtney Sender, author of a newly published fiction collection titled In Other Lifetimes All I've Lost Comes Back to Me (West Virginia University Press) said Bodie Fox’s short story “had me from the start with the sharp authority of its voice, the feeling of impending tragedy looming at the edges of its crisp narration, and the starkness of its unmarked dialogue.”

Congratulations to all of this year’s contest winners.

Information about Mason Creative Writing’s annual Spring Writing Contests, a complete announcement with Honorable Mention writers listed, and judges’ biographies can be found here.