Dear Readers,

Today we’re excited to share the two finalists in our 2022 Spring Essay Contest, as well as a few words from our judge Windy Lynn Harris on the finalists and the winning essay, “The Art of Negotiating,” by Aria Dominguez published yesterday. We hope you’ll take a few moments to read Aria’s piece if you haven’t had the chance.

Our top two finalists are:

“Photographic Evidence,” by Skye Pratt Epperson

“To The Woman Sitting in Her Parked Car During the First Month of a Global Pandemic,” by Diana Spechler

Congratulations to all three writers and a huge thanks to Windy for narrowing down the essays to a long list of eight essays, and then a short list of three. In total, we received 146 essays to the contest and accepted 18 pieces. We will publish the finalists in July and over the coming weeks publish the remaining work. Thanks to all the writers who submitted work — such a pleasure to read the array of subjects and styles.

Windy Lynn Harris

About the three essays, Windy wrote:

  • “The Art of Negotiating is an excellent essay that managed to stand out among all of the stunning work on the long list. This is a group of incredibly talented writers. It’s the voice, at first, to admire in this essay, and also the imagery, but what had me nodding (and then applauding) each time I read this piece was the storytelling. This writer is in charge of this narrative from the first word to the last. Each transition and turn has been meticulously managed, leaving the reader a little stunned at the end. I already know I’ll think back on this essay from time to time, and when I do, I’ll see the blue plastic scissor handles and the miserable dog across the street. I’ll feel the devastation of that last line all over again.”
  • “Photographic Evidence beautifully showcases the use of repetition and how it can expand the idea of a narrative. Curve after curve, this essay builds to a heartbreak, a forgiveness.”
  • “Each braided segment of To The Woman Sitting In Her Parked Car In The First Month Of A Global Pandemic stands tall and strong on its own. Together, the effect is remarkable. This is a piece of history. A document of us all.”

The winning writer was awarded a cash prize of $525. Each finalist will receive $65 upon publication next month.

To contact or to read more about Windy, check out her website and come work with her in person at the upcoming Writer Travel Retreat: