Colorado Writing School
Memoir Winner: Claudia Strijeck, “Live”
Judge’s comments: The writer takes us on a terrifying winter’s journey, one in which a main character’s survival remains in doubt until the very end. The narrator is a solid storyteller, and the writer’s dual writing strengths of both pacing and dialogue display themselves throughout this harrowing personal account.
Speculative Fiction Winner: Laura Mahal, excerpt from Kid on the Other Side
Judge’s comments: This novel excerpt is everything you’d want from an outstanding speculative fiction piece: a delicious and disorienting car drive that hurtles us into the other-worldly. The writer has done a marvelous job of creating a compelling, hard-nosed narrator. What’s happening in this story? Where are we? Where is this headed? We can’t wait to find out.
Fiction Winner: Kyra Holt, excerpt from The New Darlings
Judge’s comments: Perhaps the best opening sentence to a novel I’ve read in a long time. The narrator’s voice effectively establishes a sympathetic main character who immediately captures us with her winsome, conversational voice. Through superbly written, effortless dialogue, the writer creates a most uncomfortable read about the narrator’s emotionally destructive relationship with her charismatic boyfriend. By the time we reach the excerpt’s end, our stomach is in well-earned knots.