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ILLINOIS EMERGING WRITERS COMPETITION

General Information

Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White, the Illinois Center for the Book and Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein are pleased to announce the 10th annual Illinois Emerging Writers Competition, Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award. Names for the late award-winning poet and Illinois Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks, the contest promotes creative writing, encourages local writers, and provides a unique opportunity for recognizing new literary talent in the state.

The award for first place is $500, second place is $300 and third place is $100. Winning poems also will be submitted for possible publication in Ninth Letter, RHINO, and Quiddity magazines and Poetic License Press publications.

We gratefully acknowledge Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein for his continued support in making this competition possible. Dr. Stein is the final judge of the Gwendolyn Brooks Award.

Questions

If you have any questions about the Illinois Emerging Writers Competition, please contact Bonnie Matheis, the Coordinator of the Illinois Center for the Book.

2015 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition

Information about the competition will be available in March 2015.

2014 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition

Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award Winners

1st -- Whittney Jones of Harrisburg for her poem The Dollar Value of Fingers
2nd  -- Jessica L. Walsh of Roselle for her poem The Library Again
3rd -- Pablo Otavalo of Chicago for his poem The Year of the Dragon

Judges – 2014 Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award:

  • Ruth Awad
  • Vandella Brown
  • Albert DeGenova
  • Allan Johnston
  • Austin Kodra
  • Elsie Martinez
  • Rashidah Jaami’ Muhammad
  • Andrea Witzke Slot
  • Tracy Zeman

Final Judge: Illinois Poet Laureate, Kevin Stein

2013 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition

Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award Winners

1st -- Jonathan G. Travelstead of Murphysboro for his poem DuPont Paint Factory
2nd  -- Pablo Otavalo of Chicago for his poem Great-Grand
3rd -- Richard Holinger of Geneva for his poem Seems the Whole World’s Staring In: A Tryptich

* Listen to the winners read their poems at the Illinois Poet Laureate's website.

2012 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition

Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award Winners

1st -- Greg Harrell of Homewood for his poem Rum Runner
2nd  -- Dane Hamann of Steger for his poem Daniel Hudson Burnham
3rd -- Hannah Kucharzak of Chicago for her poem Anatomy Index
Honorable Mention –- David Lipowski of Tinley Park for his poem The Heart

* Listen to the winners read their poems at the Illinois Poet Laureate's website.

2011 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition

Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award Winners

1st -- Christine Pacyk of Arlington Heights for her poem Postcards from Paris, Valdosta
2nd  -- Jonathan R. Veach of Carbondale for his poem A Death in Baton Rouge
3rd -- George Tanner of Yates City for his poem A mercy killing

James Jones Short Story Award Winners

1st -- Paul Heinz of Elmhurst for his short story Water Music
2nd -- Irene Sedeora of Morton for her short story Arenal
3rd -- Camille Bromley of Bloomington for her short story The World is Made of Hello and Goodbye

* Listen to the winners read their poems at the Illinois Poet Laureate's website.

2010 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition

Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award Winners

1st -- Keli Stewart of Oak Park for her poem after birth
2nd  -- Elizabeth Ziglinski of Marion for her poem Echoes
3rd -- Andrew Galligan of Chicago for his poem Leaf Dried to Muddy Drain

James Jones Short Story Award Winners

1st -- Cristina Carrera of Summit for her short story Stray Dogs
2nd -- Tacuma R. Roeback of Chicago for his short story Catharsis/Cox
3rd -- Janice Croom of Bloomington for her short story Twenty-five Years is Silver

* Listen to the winners read their poems at the Illinois Poet Laureate's website.

2009 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition

Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award Winners

1st -- Vincent Francone of Chicago for his poem Chicago
2nd  -- Valerie Wallace of Chicago for her poem The Poem Stays
3rd -- Mary Hotlen of Rockford for her poem Year of Psalms

James Jones Short Story Award Winners

1st -- Baird Harper of Chicago for his story Futures
2nd -- Colby Cuppernull of Chicago for his story At the End of the Day
3rd -- Deanna Sue Cording of Galena for her story Driving Lessons

* Listen to the winners read their poems at the Illinois Poet Laureate's website.

Past Illinois Emerging Writers Competition Winners