“What Can You Pen?” Creative Writing Contest Results

We would like to thank everyone who submitted to our annual contest, and especially to our honorary judges — Karen Kevorkian, Mark Richard, Leslie Schwartz, and Reed Wilson — for their expertise and time dedicated to the support of UCLA student writers. Their comments on the winning submissions are reprinted below.

First-place winners will receive a $40 Barnes & Noble Gift Card, and his/her submission will be published in the quarterly journal of Westwind, UCLA’s literary journal of the arts, and will also be considered for the annual print journal.

Second-place winners will receive at $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Card, and will have a personalized illustration of their submission by our talented JoAnna Schindler.

Anyone is welcome to attend The Writer’s Den first Spring Quarter meeting, Tuesday of Week 1 (April 2nd) at 7 p.m., Location TBD, to congratulate the winners and hear their pieces.

First Place
Prose:  Dynamic | Peter Holby
Peter is a psychology major, and he maintains a blog that features the world’s finest sandwich discourse.

We chose Dynamic as the first place winner because of the character detail, the consistency of tone and the strong, plain style language with which the author told the story. In Dynamic, the reader experiences the grief that follows the end of an era – in this case the American factory job. Woven into the tapestry of the story, characters not only lose their jobs, but bear witness to the end of long friendships, new loves and a way of life that once sustained and held them.

Poetry: Nature Sings Louder than the Parthenon | Grant Durando
Grant is an English major. He hopelessly aspires to make money writing poetry and has unfinished plans to digitize and popularize the art of poetry in modern-day society.

“Nature Sings Louder Than the Parthenon”  —  Outmaneuvers death with witty word play and unpredictable movement. The poem’s reach is large, the voice distinctive. Experience and perception solace. The language is always lively, the images original.

Second Place
Prose: God’s Telephone Lines | Emma Wisdom
Emma is an English major, and she whittles.

This story was a layered eulogy that spoke not just to the loss of a parent, but the symbolic end of childhood. The main character’s solid and loving relationship invites the reader into the ironic sway of the story: Although everyone will die, love and memory endure forever.

Poetry: houdini | Jaya Reddy
Jaya is a political science major, English minor. After being born, she remained nameless for a week until her parents visited a temple to consult with pundits on what letter her name should start with and which vowel sounds it should include, all in relation to the planetary alignment at her time of birth.

“houdini” —  A poem’s affective mien derived from an unlikely trope – lips so irresistible they can only be described in terms of a powerful trickster. Diction notable for the sensuousity of language.

Honorable Mention
Happiness Is | Hannah Hogen
Hannah is a history major, and in her spare time, she likes making costume props for both herself and her friends.

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