Liz Hansen’s winning response to the prompt why I write:
Essay: Why I Write
I write because I have a story. My story is filled with pain.
I write because if I didn’t, I’d seriously go insane.
I write because it’s healing. My healing is overdue.
Putting pen to paper is the only thing to do.
My story isn’t special. I’m a soldier, mother, wife,
My perspective is my gift, to get me through this life.
Experiences turn into memories, floating aimlessly in my head.
They sometimes trigger emotion that is better left unsaid.
Everyone carries a story locked in the attic of your mind,
Climb the ladder into this dusty space and let the hands of the clock unwind.
Joy, pain, and laughter fill the boxes in your brain.
One by one, I unpack them. Tears fall like Monsoon rain.
Alone and defeated, I retreat back to my shell.
To spend another day residing in my selfcreated hell.
Emotions haunt me day and night until I said, “No more!”
“I’m done with this! It’s over! This is NOT what I came here for!”
My mind spins, I feel weak, but I begin to see the light.
Clarity is bestowed upon me, and I begin to write.
Words flow like blood on a battlefield, the agony is surreal.
But in my darkest moment, I finally begin to heal.
I write because I have a story. My story is filled with pain.
I write because if I didn’t, I’d seriously go insane.
The Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize goes to Liz Hansen. She submitted an original presentation to the writing prompt Why I write with a poem rather than the standard essay format. Read more here.
The two finalists and runner ups for the 2014 Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize are Gretchen Hayduk Wroblewski and Merriam Saunders.
2014 Honorable Mentions
This year’s competition is almost over. Three finalists are still in the running. From the semi-finalists, three warranted Meritorious Honorable Mention:
Kristina Tong, Rosie Sorenson & Denise Larson while knocked out of the running, were in the top six of the competition.
2014 and the 7th annual emerging writer prize!
This year the Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize goes electronic with online submissions via submittable. The submission manager for entry is here.
The Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Scholarship will award a registration scholarship to one emerging writer of any genre to attend the San Francisco Writers Conference, February 13-16, 2014. http://www.sfwriters.org/ Scholarship covers registration fee only, does not include transportation, lodging, food (except what is included with registration) or speed dating with agents.
Again in 2014: The winner will also receive a BookBaby Standard Ebook Publishing package ($149 value) generously donated by BookBaby. http://www.bookbaby.com/services/ebook-publishing
Emerging writer is defined as: Does not have an agent or book contract, writing is not your primary occupation or generating income greater than $500/month. If self published, less than 500 copies sold. You know if you are emerging. This is for the many still struggling and dreaming.
If selected for another SFWC scholarship, you may not also receive this scholarship.
Submission period is 8 September – 2 December, 2013.
Submit three pages of writing, any genre plus an essay on the topic “I write because…” not to exceed 600 words. Poets should submit 3 poems.
No identifying information should be on any page. The writing sample must identify if Fiction, Nonfiction, or Poetry on the first page and by title and genre in the cover letter.
Please includes your contact information and a short bio with your cover letter.
Each entry is first evaluated by the quality of the essay. This is the preliminary stage of evaluation and each essay is evaluated on its own merits. Those essays selected during this stage are read again in round two, where they are evaluated individually and collectively with all entries that have proceeded to this round. Only the best of the round two essays are selected to move to stage three. In stage three, the entered writing sample is also read and evaluated. The finalist list is selected during stage three. Historically, about 50% at each stage move forward. The previous year’s winning essay may be found at http://vickihudson.com/sfwc/.
Enter the 2014 Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize here.
Quanie Mitchell wins 2013 Emerging Writer Registration Scholarship to San Francisco Writers Conference 2013
The quality of the essay in the Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer competition is key for finalist selection. Each entrant’s essay is read through in the first round. Essays that are predictable, dispassionate, or fail to illicit imagery, emotion or curiosity rarely make the first cut. Each essay selected for the second round is read again with a more critical eye, similar to how one would read something in a peer workshop or writing group. In this round each is also compared against the rest with the most striking selected for the third round. There is no set number selected, though usually about 50% are cut from all received. In the third round each entrant’s writing sample is also read and this with the essay is used to select for the finalist list. Again, there is no set number that will move forward. Historically, about half will again be cut out. In the finalist round, the essays are again read critically, followed by the writing sample. If essays are very close in quality, the writing sample provides additional insight on the entrant’s writing capability. If there is no clear stand out or if the quality is evenly divided between essay and writing sample, the finalists’ entries are sent for additional reading by one or more readers who are published in their genre. This year’s reader was Amos White, Haiku poet. Input from the readers then is considered in the final judging. There were 24 entrants this year with five tiers of evaluation before the final selection was made.
This year there were two finalists. Quanie Mitchell of San Jose, California was selected based upon the clarity and imagery evoked in her essay. She will receive a registration scholarship to the San Francisco Writers Conference 2013. In addition, she receives a one year sunshine membership at the San Francisco Writers University online writing community and with thanks to BookBaby, a standard book publishing package. Honorable Mention goes to runner up Eric Bratcher of Hayward, California. He will receive a one year membership at the online writing community, San Francisco Writers University.
Next year’s competition opens on September 1, 2013 and runs until December 1, 2013. Guidelines will be posted at http://vickihudson.com/sfwc/ and will generally remain the same as this year’s guidelines.
Congratulations Quanie Mitchell and Eric Bratcher.
Here is Quanie Mitchell’s winning essay responding to the prompt “I write because…”
I Write Because
I learned to write on my grandmother’s porch, listening to my mother and aunts gossip about the people in church, the people in town, whoever was getting cheated on by their husband, or, whoever’s husband spent all the bill money at the casino and came home with his lips balled up and his hat in his hand, embarrassed to tell his wife that the water was going to be shut off at any second. My grandmother, the ring leader of gossip, would shake her head and say, “That bastard can’t keep a job long enough to keep a pack of meat in the freezer. I don’t see why she won’t leave him.” My mother and aunts would nod in agreement, sip their coffee, swat at the mosquitoes, and shout at each other because the train was passing and no one could hear anything.
Then, my grandmother would suddenly decide that she needed eggs, and my mother would suck her teeth and say, “Didn’t we just come from the store?” But we would all pile into my mother’s Thunderbird anyway, and somehow, the eggs turned into sugar, bologna, milk, and a whole host of other things that made my mother’s blood boil as my grandmother strolled out of Winn Dixie with a basket full. She would say to my grandmother, “Eggs, huh?”
My grandmother would wave the comment away and say, “Your ass.”
I would giggle and peek inside the bags to see if my grandmother had remembered to bring the chocolate candy I begged for (most of the time, it was half eaten by the time she got into the car), and then, it was back to the porch. I find myself glued to the computer most mornings, unable to get my family out of my head and creating characters that are variations of the strong willed women who shaped me. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever written anything that doesn’t involve a trip to the store, or someone saying, “Lord have mercy, chile,” while fanning themselves in the heat. I write because I love to put these women on the page, let their mouths get them into trouble, and find out how in the world they are going to get themselves out of whatever mess I’ve created for them.
All rights reserved.
Find out more about Quanie Mitchell and her writing.
SFWC Scholarship 2013
The Victoria A. Hudson Scholarship will award a registration scholarship (value equal to full registration cost) to one emerging writer of any genre to attend the San Francisco Writers Conference, February, 2013. http://www.sfwriters.org/ Scholarship covers registration fee only, does not include transportation, lodging, food (except what is included with registration) or speed dating with agents. The winner and any runner ups will also receive a one year Sunshine membership to the San Francisco Writers University online community. http://www.sfwritersu.com/
Thanks to a generous donation by BookBaby, the winner also receives a standard bookbaby publishing package ($149 value).
Emerging writer is defined as: Does not have an agent or book contract, and writing is not your primary occupation/supporting you. You know if you are emerging. This is for the many still struggling and dreaming.
Submission period is 1 September – 1 December, 2012.
Send three pages representative of your writing, plus a short essay not to exceed 500 words on the topic of “I write because…” No identifying information should be on the writing sample or the short essay. In a sealed envelope place your cover letter with with your name, mailing address, email, and a short Bio. Write only the title of your work and the genre on the outside of the envelope. Work will not be returned. Writers may enter more than one genre but should send separate entries. Any identifying information outside of the sealed envelope will disqualify your entry. If you’d like confirmation of receipt, include a self addressed stamped post card.
Mail your entry to: SFWC Scholarships C/O Hudson, PO box 387, Hayward, CA 94543 postmarked NLT 1 December 2012.
[ ] Essay 500 words or less, not in envelope.
[ ] Writing sample with title, no more than 3 pages, not in envelope.
[ ] Cover letter with name, mailing address, email, and short bio INSIDE sealed envelope
[ ] Sealed envelope has genre and title of your work written on outside, nothing else.
[ ] No identifying information anywhere outside of the sealed envelope.
[ ] Optional self addressed, stamped postcard for receipt of entry.
The 2012 recipient of the Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Scholarship at the San Francisco Writers Conference is Poet Anna-Marie McLemore of Sacramento, California. Ms. McLemore is a grand slam winner, whose fiction and non-fiction entries were also blind selected for top honors in the annual writing contest. Ms. McLemore is a 2011 Lambda Literary Fellow in fiction. Her work has appeared in numerous Cleis Press anthologies.
Runners up included fiction writer Katrina Anne Willis, of Starkville, Mississippi, and non-fiction writer Rebecca Beyer of San Francisco, California.
Ms. McLemore will receive a registration credit to attend the 2012 San Francisco Writers Conference February 16 – 20th. (Pre/post conference events and Speed Dating with Agents are not included.) All three will receive a one year Sunshine membership to the San Francisco Writers University online community.
This is the fourth year Victoria A. Hudson has sponsored a scholarship to the San Francisco Writers Conference. Initially restricted to MFA students, for the 2011 conference the competition was opened to any emerging writer. This year, due to a small number of entries, the genres were combined into one competition.
Each year, submissions include two pages of a written, unpublished work and a short essay responding to the prompt “I write because…”. Finalists are selected genre neutral based upon the quality, clarity, and depth of the essay. The writing samples are used to further differentiate the quality of each writer’s work. Reading is done blind with no identifying information available until after entries are ranked and finalists selected. For the 2012 scholarship there were a total of 18 submissions across the three genres.
The submission period for the 2013 Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer SFWC scholarship is September 1 – December 1, 2012.
Guidelines for the 2012 San Francisco Writers Conference – Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Scholarships
The Victoria A. Hudson Scholarship will award a $500 registration scholarship to one Fiction, Poetry, and Nonfiction emerging writer to attend the San Francisco Writers Conference, February 17-19, 2012. http://www.sfwriters.org/ Scholarship covers registration fee only, does not include transportation, lodging, food (except what is included with registration) or speed dating with agents.
Emerging writer is defined as: Does not have an agent or book contract, or have previously published a book. Chapbooks or self-published less than 500 copies okay.
Submission period is 1 September – 1 December, 2011.
Send two pages representative of your writing, plus a short essay not to exceed 500 words that begins with the line “I write because…” No identifying information should be on the writing sample or the short essay. In a sealed envelope include an additional page that details your name, mailing address, email, and a short Bio. Write only the title of your work and the genre entered on the outside of the envelope. Work will not be returned. Writers may enter more than one genre but should send separate entries.
Mail your entry to: SFWC Scholarships C/O Hudson, PO box 387, Hayward, CA 94543
FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2011
Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Scholarship at the San Francisco Writers Conference
Announcing the winners of the Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Scholarships in Fiction, Non-fiction and Poetry for the San Francisco Writers Conference 2011:
Randall E. Hosilyk- Laguna Woods, CA
H. Rachelle Graham- Taylorsville, Utah
Breean Lowe- Castro Valley, CA
The following writers were runner-ups. There is no prize however they are congratulated for the excellence of their submissions:
Elisa Garcia- Missouri City, TX
Hilary Smith- Venice, CA
Allison Moon- Oakland, CA
Kristy Shelton- Napa, CA
Ulla Mentzel- Novato, CA
Each year Victoria A. Hudson sponsors three scholarships for cost of registration to attend the San Francisco Writers’ Conference, one each in Fiction, Non-fiction, and Poetry. This year there were over 30 entries. Each writer submits a short essay and a sample of their work. Initial selections are based upon the quality and content of the essay with final selections or tie breaker based upon the quality of the writer’s submitted work.
All writers that submitted work for consideration are due acknowledgement and congratulations for entering and sharing their writing. This is the first year that the quality of submissions warranted recognition of runner up writers as well as the selected winners. While the runner ups receive no prize, the quality of their work is recognized.