Kay Snow Writing Contest

Kay Snow Writing Contest

Our 2023 Kay Snow Award Winners

The Paulann Petersen Award for Poetry
First place: “She Lived with Cats” by Ruth Q. Leibowitz
Runner-up: “Once Starved, Never Full” by Rene Lytle

The Kay Snow Award for Nonfiction (with special thanks to Elizabeth Lyon)
First place: “Half Truths Spent at Slipping Rock” by Mary Sweigert
Runner-up: “Wings” by Teresa H. Janssen

Kay Snow Award for Fiction (with special thanks to C. Lill Ahrens)
First place: “How to Get a Best Friend” by Brenna Twobears
Runner-up: “Standing in Water” by Kathleen Caprario-Ulrich

The purpose of this annual writing contest, named in honor of Willamette Writers’ founder, Kay Snow, is to help writers reach professional goals in writing through a broad array of categories, and also to encourage student writers. In addition to prizes, winners are listed on the Willamette Writers website and honored at our Willamette Writers Conference held annually in August. Check out the new guidelines here.

Important: the Timberline Review and Kay Snow Awards are now working together, so if you submit to the Timberline Review, you will automatically be entered in the Kay Snow Awards. There is no separate submission for Kay Snow. You cannot submit to Kay Snow without submitting to the Timberline Review. Make sure you review our new guidelines here.

2022 Kay Snow Writing Contest Winners

The Paulann Petersen Award for Poetry

First Place: “On Ordinary Days the Earth and Sky Change Places,” by Madronna Holden

Second Place: “For you,” by Laura Cranehill

Third Place: “After the apocalypse,” by Anne Richardson


First Place: “The Wandering Jew of St. Salacious,” by Ron Turker

Second Place: “Deepest Light,” by Sandra Siegienski

Third Place: “Standing Up,” by Scott Bigger

Honorable Mention:Old Dogs and Berry Pie,” by Roni Stinger

Honorable Mention:Blue-Eyed Devil,” by Mattie Alice Moranz

The Elizabeth Lyon Award for Creative Nonfiction

First Place: “Here’s My Heart,” by Anne Gudger

Second Place: “The Junipers,” by A. Riley

Third Place: “A Few Freak Things,” by Nyla McCarthy

Script and Screenplay

First Place: “Wickenburg,” by Sherry Lamoreaux

Second Place: “Semper I,” by Kendall Cable

Third Place: “Tru Adoration,” by Kathryn Bennett

Grades 1-5

First Place:You Okay?” by Catalin Lozano

Second Place: “My ukulele,” by Ellie Wang

Third Place: “Trader with a ‘T’,” by Avalon Kalquist

Honorable Mention:While The Farmer Was Away,” by Juniper McCoy

Grades 6-8

First Place: “Bronte,” by Elinor Blew

Second Place: “I’ll Give You Black,” by Olivia Tang

Third Place: “Kindergarten Train,” by Eve Ballard

Honorable Mention:Behind Reality,” by Joeh Kim

Honorable Mention:May Ghost Bless You,” by Claire (Sohyeon) Yoon

Honorable Mention:Weather,” by Amelia Xie

Grades 9-12

First Place: “Mother’s Doll,” by Benjamin Choi

Second Place: “Dear God of Cats,” by Onassa Sun

Third Place: “Firefly,” by Jennifer Chiu

Honorable Mention: “A Silent Song,” by Sue Naim

2021 Kay Snow Writing Contest Winners

Fiction Award

First place: “Child of the Mouth” by Laura Herbst

Second place: “The Shadow of a Decision” by Susan K. Field

Third place: “Prom Night 1961” by Jan Baross

Honorable Mention: “Unexpected Family” by Ivonne Saed

The Paulann Petersen Award for Poetry

First place: “Doctrine of the Kite” by Melody Wilson

Second place: “On Visiting a Jewish Cemetery near Altengrunau, Germany 1977” by Vivienne Popperl

Third place: “summit” by Ann Farley

Honorable mention: “A New Language” by Kate Gray

Honorable mention: “Bog Butter” by Melody Wilson

Honorable mention: “Forty Six Years in the Mail” by Vivienne Popperl

Honorable mention: “Incorporeal” by Kate Gray

Honorable mention: “Lost Coast” by Leanne Hoppe

Honorable mention: “Night Watch” by Bruce Parker

The Elizabeth Lyon Award for Creative Nonfiction

First place: “The Shadow of the Mountain” by Sally Petersen

Second place: “Louis” by Hayley Stevenson McCoy

Third place: “Becoming One of the Them” by JL Lycette

Honorable mention: “Ocean Bird Woman” by Ciel Downing

Honorable mention: “The Marrow-Deep Bittersweet” by Mary Sweigert

Honorable mention: “The Dead End” by William Carpenter

Screenplay Award

First place: “AFTER THE AFTER” by Lizanne Southgate

Second place: “Mourning After” by Kathleen Caprario-Ulrich

Third place: “Lead Like a Girl” by Amy Fredericks

Honorable mention: “Portland” by Michael Weinreb

Honorable mention: “Traditions” by Katie Bennett

Grades 7-12 Award

First place: “My Mother’s Tapestry” by Angela Wei

Second place: “The Silent Nocturne” by Cynthia Yang

Third place: “Postcards” by Elizabeth Keller

Honorable mention: “Disparate Awakenings” by Anish Aradhey

Grades 1-6 Award

First place: “The Coins’ Escape” by Lucia Tang

Second place: “Zvurger and Fanskapet” by Ian Maenz

Third place: “Mischief Juice” by Grace and Lydia Radecki

Honorable mention: “Bosco” by Aditi Adiraju

Honorable mention: “One Miracle Soccer Game” by Methmi Goonetilleke

2020 Kay Snow Writing Contest Winners


First place: “Lost Souls of Leningrad” by Suzanne Parry

Second place: “How it Happens” by Rosanne Ricci

Third place: “Missouri Bogs 1940” by Mary Jane Nordgren

Honorable Mention: “Ghost of Imogene” by Victoria Henderson

Honorable Mention: “Women of Mobenga” by Laura Herbst


First place: “Junior Village” by N. R. Robinson

Second place: “The Physics of Solitude” by Barb Lachenbruch

Third place: “Shakespeare’s Pipe” by Sue Parman

Honorable Mention: “Autobiography of a Modern Woman” by Karen Howland

Honorable Mention: “Song of Grief” by Dian Greenwood


First place: “Reincarnation” by Kelli Russell Agodon

Second place: “Metamorphosis” by Melody Wilson

Third place: “Persimmon Girl” by Tobi Park

Honorable mention: “After a Morning of Feeling Lonely, I Begin To Write Letters to the Stars” by Kelli Russell Agodon

Honorable mention: “the easier way to construct a monroe (by waveform? or otherwise?)” by Tobi Park

Honorable mention: “How To Read a Map” by Trevor Pyle

Honorable mention: “Flying the Hump” by Robert Keeler

Honorable mention: “How God catches us cheating” by Casey Killingsworth

Honorable mention: “Anonymous” by Brittany Mishra

Honorable mention: “Copernicus” by Lyall Harris


First place: “Blood Law” by Keith and Cassie Hayasaka

Second place: “Darryn the Bold and the Sword of Boldness” by Justin Best

Third place: “Peridot” by Amy Fredericks

Young Adult & Middle Grade

First place: “Fog” by William Cho

Second place: “We Do Not Apologize Now” by Jordan Ferdman

Third place: “The Cold Bones” by Carlie Williams

Honorable Mention: “Purple” by Cynthia Yang

1st-5th Grade

First place: “Toys” by Laurie McCoy

Second place: “Ancestors” by Sofie Dardzinski

Third place: “Corona Virus” by Cole Uhlig

6th-8th Grade

First place: “Click” by Nicolas Bambrick-Santoyo

Second place: “Terror” by Poem Schway

Third place: “The Virus” by Avah Dodson

9th-12th Grade

First place: “Spanning Res Publica” by Yejin Suh

Second place: “Desperado” by Sidney Muntean

Third place: “The Fisherman” by Teo A Lara


First place: “The Shadow of the Woods” by Andrew Mount

Second place: “A Study in Anxiety” by Emma Hensley

Third place: “Before Dawn” by Andi Butts

2019 Kay Snow Writing Contest Winners


First place: “Dreaming in Subtitles” by Winter Krane

Second place: “Bridge” by Jean Rover

Third place: “A Loss for Words” by Erin Zelinka


First place: “Where I Was Afraid, Where I Was Out West” by Rowan Brown

Second place: “Grounded Angels” by Blythe Ayne

Third place: “At the Mortuary” by Lisa Rizzo


First place: “Under the Bartlett Pear” by Jennifer Dorner

Second place: “Fair Art” by Jade Rosina McCutcheon

Third place: “Bones for Telling: Ode to My Mother” by Signe Land


First place: “The Needs of the Many” By Daniel Marsden

Second place: “Someone to Watch Over” by William Schreiber

Third place: “Lost Son” by Damon Sims

Young Adult

First place: “How Lucky We Are” by Daniel Waters

Second place: “Granby Mettle” by Kerry Duff

Third place: “Children of Origin” by Nikole Harris

1st-5th Grade

First place: “Terrors in the Night” by Hannah Fulton

Second place: “The Fallen Kings” by Joshua Steven

Third place: “Alphabet” by James Tyler

6th-8th Grade

First place: “Old Town Alexandria, VA” by Allison Xu

Second place: “My Lifeboard” by Zella Selvoy-Devan

Third place: “Mayflower Poetry Journal” by Oona Josephine Koslu

9-12th Grade

First place: “Scissors” by Vivian DeRosa

Second place: “My Soul” by Sofia Britten

Third place: “Transcript of Eve Praying to Lilith” by Aliyah Blattner


First place: “The Beeper” by Nolan Capps

Second place: “Always, Always” by Addison Rizer


First place: “Common Mistakes in Gardening & I-85” by Violet Knight

Second place: “Eclipses of Juniper (Memoir Excerpt)” by Chrys Buckley

2018 Kay Snow Writing Contest Winners

The Paulann Petersen Award for Poetry

First Place: Stepping Over Arizona by Ellaraine Lockie

Second Place: The New Doctor by George Perreault

Third Place: and all rain is holy water, she says by Gwendolyn Morgan

Honorable Mention: The Triumph of Deterioration over Maintenance by Roy Bentley

Honorable Mention: The Tandava by Amy Baskin

Honorable Mention: Us, in The Old Farmer’s Almanac, January 21 by Brooke Schifano

The Roland Smith Award for YA and Middle Grade Fiction

First Place: Irronweed by Maggie Adams

Second Place: I am the Stone by Sandra Siegienski

Third Place: Mirror’s Edge by Tara Lehmann

The Elizabeth Lyon Award for Nonfiction

First Place: The Angel of Kindergarten by John Hively

Second Place: The Void Left from Protecting the Environment by Tara L. Campbell

Third Place: Do not Count on Rome by Mary-Kate Mackey


First Place: Come Snowfall by Cindy Hiday

Second Place: Big Money by Steve Theme

Third Place: Dragon’s Haunt by Elisabeth Flaum

Honorable Mention: Justice Comes to Visit by Michael Gorman


First Place: Arizona Moon by Patricia Santos Marcantonio

Second Place: Mystery Hill by Lynn McPherson

Third Place: Caesar’s Ring by Simon King

Honorable Mention: Maria Isabella Silvalessa by Hunter Ridgway


First place: Gimme the Familiars (Buzzard of the Highway) by Jessica Mehta

Second place: Just Breathe by Anika Morgan

Third place: Plum Hill by Jarrett Kaufman

Grades 1-5

First place: The Discovery of Pawcasso by Angelina Tao

Second place: Fractured Fairy Tales by Avah Dodson

Third place: The World Thru Faith’s Eyes by Kara Pierson

Grades 6-8

First place: One, Twice, Countless times by Macy Li

Second place: Black Car by Fiona Moore

Third place: Firebird by Madeleine Freedberg

Grades 9-12

First place: Akiho’s Smile by Angeles Parada

Second place: Candles of my Childhood by Haley Johnston

Third place: Jaded Act by Elisa Silverstein

Honorable Mention: The Discontinued Union by Zoey Ruzic

2017 Kay Snow Writing Contest Winners

The Paulann Petersen Award for Poetry

First Place: “Starlings” by Danelle Lejeune of Hinesville, Georgia

Second Place: “End Times: One Life” by Anne Richardson of Lake Oswego, Oregon

Third Place: “Seven Mourning Doves” by Gwendolyn Morgan of Vancouver, Washington

Honorable Mention: “Planting Mangroves” by Joyce Schmid of Palo Alto, California

Honorable Mention: “Spring, keeping her head down” by Laura Duerr of Vancouver, Washington

Honorable Mention: “Australian Bush Solstice” by Jade Rosina McCutcheon of Salem

Honorable Mention: “Counting Seven Crows”, Danelle Lejeune of Hinesville, Georgia

The Roland Smith Award for YA and Middle Grade Fiction

First Place: Natasha’s War (working title) by Jan Sherbin of Cincinnati, OH

Second Place: Dinosaur Guys by Meagan Macvie of Olympia, WA

Third Place: The Last of the Name by Rosanne Parry of Portland, OR

Honorable Mention: The Assassin by Kristin Burc

The Elizabeth Lyon Award for Nonfiction

First Place: Under the Shadow by Liz Asch of Portland, OR

Second Place: Choice is a Heavy Thing by Mary Underwood of Louisville, KY

Third Place: In Between by Anne Gudger of Portland OR


First Place: The Retelling of Willa Cooper by Meagan Johanson of Corvallis, OR

Second Place: The Bears of Winter by C. A. Willis of Burien, WA

Third Place: All The Western Stars by Joel Freiburger of Glen Ellyn, IL


First Place: Camp Happily Ever After by Amy Fredericks of Vancouver, Washington

Second Place: The Altered by James Grimes of Forest Grove, Oregon

Third Place: Gabriel’s Daughter by Lizanne Southgate of Corvallis, Oregon

Honorable Mention: Walk On by Jennifer Wegerer


Drought Summer (excerpt) by Tom Hallberg

The Women in Your Life by Isabelle Pieper

The Calling: Chapter II by Eve Benjamin McAnally

Grades 1-5

Anger by Kaia Wootton

The Great Adventure by Maya Anderson

I Am Offering This Picture by Jason Chu

Grades 6-8

When I Was Eight Years Old by Maddy Barker

Deeper by Kanchan Naik

Black Brothers by Alexis Simmons

Grades 9-12

Ghosts by Jena Vallina

The Camp by Katarina Fernandez

Phoenixes by Sarah Feng

2016 Kay Snow Writing Contest

Fiction First Prize: Herring
Lois Rosen
Salem, OR 97306-9526 Second Prize: Beaching the Hanza
William Parker
Gresham. OR 97080 Third Prize: Forever Free, Chapt 14, The Emancipation Proclamation
Paula Butterfield
Portland, OR 97219

NonFiction First Prize: Saddest Tale
Lyzette Wanzer
San Francisco, CA 94164 Second Prize: The Race
Peter Gibb
Ashland, OR 97520 Third Prize: In the Limbs
Elizabeth Kind
Eugene, OR 97405

Adult Authors First Prize: Willa Wild
Alisha Braatz Second Prize: The Third Power
Katherine Hahn Third Prize: Fakespeare
Cidney Swanson

Feature Length File First Prize: The Glass Hive
Steve Allrich
Lake Oswego, OR 97035 Second Prize: Bo Peep
Waka T. Brown
West Linn, OR 97068 Two screenplays tied for third place – both were awarded.
Third Prize: Red Devils
John Worsley
Mosier, OR 97040 Third Prize:IRL (In Real Life)
M.B. Curtis

Poetry First Prize: NYC: The Pilgrimage
Cathy Cain
Lake Oswego, OR 97034 Second Prize: Resurrection
Peter Ludwin Third Prize: about face
Amy Baskin
Portland, OR 97212

Grades 9-12 First Prize: Flying Kites and Shooting Stars
Meredith Megee
Edgewater Park, NJ 08010 Second Prize: Nervosa
Aisha Jitan
Holmdel New Jersey Third Prize: Lizzy’s Symphony
Autumn Williams
Rexburg, ID 83440

Grades 6-8 First Prize: Cosmology
Juliana Castillo
Wilmington, Delaware 19805 Third Prize: The Places I Go
Emma Wenck
Troutdale, OR 97060 Third Prize: A Trip to Hong Kong
Mekella Wong

Grades 1-5 First Prize: Living Ghosts
Madeline Stabinski
Swarthmore, PA 19081 Second Prize: Ira’s Creatures
Elizabeth Keller
Vancouver, WA 98684 Third Prize: Aru Academy
Madeleine Freedberg
Washington, DC 20016

2015 Kay Snow Writing Contest


1st Place “Marcie’s Baby, a Near-Future Fable” by Bruce Campbell

2nd Place “Fever Heights” by Michael Munro

3rd Place “Swamp Exodus” by Maggie MacLachlan


1st Place “Jade Bracelet” by Vi Ho

2nd Place “On Finding Purpose” by Clara Chandler

3rd Place “Stopping Was the Problem” by Fufkin Vollmayer

Paulann Petersen Award for Poetry

1st Place “Rush Hour” by Ellen Black

2nd Place “Across the Stretch of Land” by Johanna Pemble

3rd Place “Before It Melts” by Linda Golaszewski

Roland Smith Award for YA and Middle Grade Fiction

1st Place “Enter Emma” by Terri Nicholson

2nd Place “Unwrapped” by Lisa Swallow

3rd Place “Payment to the Desert” by Debbie Yasaki

Grades 1-5

1st Place: “The Shop” by Claire Lignore

2nd Place: “My Julius Caesar” by Alex Arinkin

3rd Place: “Dogs” by Alison Fitton

Grades 6-8

1st Place “Camp Sherman Snow: A Remembrance” by Katie Palka

2nd Place “The Ruins” by Emma Lickey

Third Place: “Addiction” by Aishwarya Marathe

Grades 9-12

1st Place “McDonalds and Mysophobiacs” by Rebecca Cammenga

2nd Place “Aftermath” by Alexis Caroline Brown

3rd Place “mageírema & cucina” by Lily Hart

2014 Kay Snow Writing Contest


1st place – “Dirt” by Gayle Towell, North Plains, Oregon

2nd place – “Engines of Sephione” by Joseph Anthony, Aloha, Oregon

3rd Place – “An Empty Heart” by Michael Gettel-Gilmartin, Portland, Oregon


1st Place – “Sweet Milk, the House in the Morning” by Ruby McConnell, Eugene, Oregon

2nd Place – “Sandor’s Oregon Trail” by Sandor Lau, Eugene, Oregon

3rd Place – “Beautiful Things” by Susan Fleming, Portland, Oregon

Honorable Mention – “Mapping the Sinister” by Rebecca Jamieson, Portland, Oregon


1st Place – “Burnt Woods Cafe” by Sue Lick, South Beach, Oregon

2nd Place – “Blast from the Past” by Nick Sweet, Shepherd, Texas

3rd Place – “On the Road After a Record Rain” by Ellaraine Lockie, Sunnyvale, California

Writing for Young Readers

1st Place – “Everyone Except Everett” by Marilyn Owen, Portland, Oregon

2nd Place – “Bella and the Umbrella” by Pearl Schwartz, Walnut Creek, California

3rd Place – “Geechen, the Ghost Warrior” by Jim Kroefpl, Denver, Colorado

Honorable Mention – “Continental Divide” by Stephanie Kroepfl, Denver, Colorado

Grades 1-5

1st Place – “The Second Shot” by Abby McFarland, Pasadena, Maryland

2nd Place – “Christy Holmes Mystery” by Madeleine Freedburg, Washington, DC

2nd Place – “How to Train Your Flying Pig” by Barron Jager, Vancouver, Washington

Grades 6-8

1st Place – “You Cannot Crown an Unwilling Queen” by Isabel Lickey, Portland, Oregon

2nd Place – “The Liquidator” by Emma Salada, Portland, Oregon

3rd Place – “All Tied Up” by Katie Lyons, Orinda, California

Grades 9-12

1st Place – “Dove” by Phoebe Morakinyo, Ilford, United Kingdom

2nd Place – “Saving My Sister” by Julie Spicer, Oroville, California

3rd Place – “The Rain” by Cayrn Blumberg, DeMossville, Kentucky

2013 Kay Snow Writing Contest


1st place – “God is Pleased to Hear the Children Pray” by Ruby Murray

2nd place – “Coyote Calls Down the Gods” by Bruce Campbell

3rd Place – “The Bones of Pele” by Bonnie Dodge


1st Place – “Your Bed’s Too Small” by Ann Gudger

2nd Place – “Learning Chutzpah” by Diana Harris

3rd Place – “Seeing and Not Seeing” by Chrys Buckley


1st Place – “There Are No Seekers” by Melissa Reeser Poulin

2nd Place – “Mermaid at World’s End” by Darcy Scholts

3rd Place – “Ripe Orgasmic Earth” by Kate Marsh

Honorable Mention “Our Paths” by Kristen Storer

Writing for Young Readers

1st Place – “Winter in My Heart” by Gibron Perrone

2nd Place – “Sampson Leaves Home” by Marilyn Owen

3rd Place – “Any Dreams Won’t Do” by Kelly Garrett


1st Place – “Love Judge” by Amy Fredericks

2nd Place – “The Kids from Nowwhere” by George Guthridge and Deborah Schildt

3rd Place “Perfect Guy for Hire” by Waka Brown

Grades 1-5

1st Place – “Getting Steve” by Joey Lieberman

2nd Place – “Down Under” by Abby Clark

3rd Place – “Cookie” by Noah Tai

Grades 6-8

1st Place – “Nowhere to Go” by Sarah Hogan

2nd Place – “A Buddy” by Deenee Freeman

3rd Place – “A Squirrel Story” by Sahalie Pittman

Grades 9-12

1st Place – “Flying Free” by Kalin Swift

2nd Place – “Wanted” by Nichole Parks

3rd Place – “Going Back” by Ana Maria Vil