Fall Contests

2013-2014 Contest Winners

We are pleased to announce the winners of our 2013-2014 Sherwood Anderson Fiction competition, judged by Lance Olsen, and our James Wright Poetry competition, judged by Benjamin Grossberg.

We extend our congratulations to Gabriel Houck, winner of this year's Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award, for the story "Hero's Theater." About Houck's piece, judge Lance Olsen said, "What's wonderful about "Hero's Theater" is its graceful architectonics, gently unhinged humor, alluring sense of character-as-detail ('Ronaldo wore dress shirts with sleeves that rode up the wrists of his unnaturally long arms.'), and haunting pitch-perfect conclusion--all in the service of one schlumpy Al Stackhouse, a Spiderman impersonator who at a kid's party questions if he can ever do better than simply act the part of a paladin."

Gabriel Houck will be awarded the $1,000 prize and "Hero's Theater" will be published in issue 34.2 of Mid-American Review, due this spring.

We are happy to announce four additional stories and authors, also submitted as finalists:
"The Weight," by Adrienne Celt
"Kansas Before Oz," by Courtney Craggett
"Cousin," by Dana Fitz Gale
"Waterhead," by Terry Mergenthal

We also extend our congratulations to Jude Nutter, winner of this year's James Wright Poetry Award, for "The Shipping Forecast." About Nutter's piece, judge Benjamin Grossberg writes, "With its lush phrasing, stately repetitions, and catalogue of the names of British sea zones, 'The Shipping Forecast' recalls the lyricism and cultural sweep of an old ballad. Yet the loss at the heart of this ambitious poem—rather, the forecasted lost, since we're situated just 'a few days out / from death'— is evoked in precise, intimate detail. In the poem's culminating moment, the speaker's father calms his dying wife by placing a ring on her finger, a replacement for the wedding band she lost 'as dying belittled every part of her.' The image is striking and tender, deeply moving."

Jude Nutter will be awarded the $1,000 prize and "The Shipping Forecast" will be published in issue 34.2 of Mid-American Review, due this spring.

We are happy to announce these five additional poems and authors, also submitted as finalists:
"The Autopsy, a Love Poem," by Carol V. Davis
"Recent Dispatch," by Benjamin Landry
"Siege," by Nate Liederbach
"[It wasn't a fast break]," by Cate Lycurgus
“To Do List," by Janet Smith

About Our Judges

Benjamin S. Grossberg's books are Sweet Core Orchard (University of Tampa, 2009), winner of the 2008 Tampa Review Prize and a Lambda Literary Award, and Underwater Lengths in a Single Breath (Ashland Poetry Press, 2007). His poems have appeared widely in journals, and in both the Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies. His third book, Space Traveler, will be published by the University of Tampa Press in late 2013. He is an editor and regular book review for The Antioch Review, and works as Director of Creative Writing at the University of Hartford.

Lance Olsen is author of more than 20 books of and about experimental fiction, including, most recently, the novel, Calendar of Regrets (2010) and the anti-textbook, Architectures of Possibility: After Innovative Writing (2012). A Guggenheim, Berlin Prize, and N.E.A. fellowship recipient, he teaches narrative theory and practice at the University of Utah.

Additional Information

All queries regarding the contests can be directed to the MAR Staff.

For full results and information on our 2012-2013 competitions, click here.


We are now accepting submissions for the 2014-2015 James Wright and Sherwood Anderson competitions.The deadline is November 1, 2014! $10 entry fee for 1 story up to 6000 words or up to 3 poems. You may submit online or by post. If submitting online, please be sure to select the correct contest for your genre designation (Sherwood Anderson or James Wright), rather than selecting Poetry or Fiction. If submitting by post, please make checks and money orders payable to Mid-American Review. Our prize for each contest is $1000 and publication of our winner. All participants receive the issue in which our winners are printed!

The contests are for previously unpublished work only--if the work has appeared in print or online, or has been contracted for such, it is ineligible and will be disqualified. Manuscripts and intro material need not be left anonymous. Close contacts (students, friends, family) of the judge in a particular contest may not submit to that contest.

The Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award
First Prize: $1,000 and publication
Four Finalists: Notation, possible publication
2014-2015 Judge: TBA

The James Wright Poetry Award
First Prize: $1000 and publication
Four Finalists: Notation, possible publication
2014-2015 Judge: TBA