2023 Utah Original Writing Competition


The Utah Division of Arts & Museums and the SLCC Community Writing Center have chosen 20 writers in seven categories as the winners of the 63rd annual Utah Original Writing Competition. The winners were selected from a total of 246 entries from Utah-based writers.

Manuscripts were reviewed in an anonymous process by judges who reside outside of Utah. First- and second-place winners are awarded prize money ranging from $150 to $1,000, depending on the category.

Past winners of the Utah Original Writing Competition include four past Utah Poets Laureate, including David Lee, Ken Brewer, Katharine Coles, and Lance Larsen.

2023 Submission Details

Since 1958, the annual Utah Original Writing Competition has celebrated Utah’s dynamic and varied voices and aided Utah writers on their path to publication and broader recognition. Numerous awardees selected by our nationally recognized judges have gone on to significant statewide and national acclaim. Please read through the entire guidelines before submitting.

Deadline: June 30, 2023 at 11:59 p.m.
Late manuscripts will not be accepted.

Sumission Process: Please submit early to avoid technical issues. Submissions will only be accepted online via Submittable. The Submittable portal for submissions will open on May 1, 2023. 

Questions?: Contact the director of the SLCC Community Writing Center at kati.lewis@slcc.edu.

Printable Guidelines (PDF)


Category A: Novel, judged by Liz Kay

  • First Place: The Icelanders by Iris Moulton (South Salt Lake City)
  • Second Place: Rush by Larry Menlove (Payson)
  • Honorable Mention: Poets Never Find Peace by McKenna Jackson (Orem)

Category B: Creative Nonfiction Book, judged by Carolyn Jess-Cooke  

  • First Place: Showdown at Crossfire Canyon by Patricia Karamesines (Blanding)
  • Second Place: The Quiet Burden of Stones by Lin Ostler (Salt Lake City)
  • Honorable Mentions: 
    • Dear You, Love Me by Shannon Masayo Martinez (Ogden)
    • Where Dry Rivers Meet by Dylan Mace (Salt Lake City)
    • Excursions With ScoutMeditations on Nature, Solitude and Community from a Life on the Road by Carly Gooch (Saint George)

Category C: Book Length Collection of Short Stories, judged by Kim Fu 

  • First Place: A Stranger in Your Own Town by Andrea Garland (Salt Lake City)
  • Second Place: How I Learned to Be Haunted and Other Stories by Lesley Hart Gunn (Provo)
  • Honorable Mentions: 
    • Monsoon Country by Samyak Shertok (Salt Lake City)
    • Stray Country by K. Turner (Sandy)

Category D:  Young Adult Fiction Book, judged by Hal Shrieve 

  • First Place: Asynchronous by Andrew Grace (Salt Lake City)
  • Second Place: The Novice by Lynn Buchanan (Orem)
  • Honorable Mention: Mag's Book of Questions by Christi Leman (Provo)

Category E: Poetry, judged by CMarie Fuhrman

  • First Place: "The Last Beekeeper" by Samyak Shertok (Salt Lake City)
  • Second Place: "The Trains Never Stop" by K. Turner (Sandy)
  • HonorableMention: "First Poems After the Stroke" by Shanan Ballam (Logan)

Category F: Short Fiction, judged by Anna Cabe 

  • First Place: "Maybe You Should Start Drinking" by Jean Marie Hackett (Park City)
  • Second Place: "Swim" by Elizabeth Barnes (Santaquin)
  • Honorable Mention:  "Little Owl, Lake Michigan" by Dylan Robinson (Provo)

Category G: Creative Nonfiction Essay, judged by Ira Sukrungruang

  • First Place: "The Moth Effect" by Kylie Smith (Salem)
  • Second Place: "A Brief Examination of Mortality" by McKenna Jackson (Orem)
  • Honorable Mention: "The Blue Bathtub" by Shannon Masayo Martinez (Ogden)

View 2021 & 2020 Winners

2022 Utah Original Writing Competition Judges


Liz Kay

Liz Kay holds an MFA from the University of Nebraska, where she was the recipient of both an Academy of American Poets Prize and the Wendy Fort Foundation Prize for exemplary work in poetry. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Nimrod, Willow Springs, and Sugar House Review. Her debut novel, Monsters: A Love Story (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), was published in 2016. Her most recent book, the poetry collection The Witch Tells The Story And Makes It True (Quarter Press), is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel. It is illustrated by Devin Forst. Liz lives in Omaha, NE with her husband and 3 sons.

Carolyn Jess-Cooke

Carolyn Jess-Cooke is an award-winning poet and novelist published in 23 languages. Her most recent novel, The Lighthouse Witch (published as CJ Cooke), was an international bestseller, and a TV series is in development. She is a professor of Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.


Kim Fu

Kim Fu is the author of the story collection Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, longlisted for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Fu’s first novel, For Today I Am a Boy, won the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, as well as a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. Her second novel, The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, was a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards. Fu’s writing has appeared in Granta, the Atlantic, the New York Times, BOMB, Hazlitt, and the TLS. She lives in Seattle.


Hal Shrieve

Hal Schrieve is a children’s librarian in Manhattan and the best part of hir job is facilitating comics clubs and creative writing workshops with young people. Hir first book, Out of Salem, was longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Hal’s comics are featured in We’re Still Here: an all-trans comics anthology and the zine Very Online. Hal’s next novel, How To Get Over The End Of The World, will be released in 2023. Follow Hal at @howlmarin on Instagram and @hal_schrieve on Twitter and @howlmarin on Instagram.

CMarie Fuhrman

CMarie Fuhrman is the author of Camped Beneath the Dam: Poems and co-editor of Native Voices: Indigenous Poetry, Craft, and Conversations. She has published or forthcoming poetry and nonfiction in multiple journals, including Terrain.org, Emergence MagazinePlatform ReviewNorthwest ReviewYellow Medicine ReviewPoetry Northwest, and several anthologies.  CMarie is a regular columnist for the Inlander, Translations Editor for Broadsided Press, and the Director of the Elk River Writers Workshop. CMarie directs the Poetry Program at Western Colorado University, where she also teaches Nature Writing. She is the current Idaho Writer in Residence and resides in the mountains of West Central Idaho.


Anna Cabe

Anna Cabe is a Pinay American writer living and working in Atlanta. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Slate, Rappler, The Margins, Bitch Media, Vice, The Cincinnati Review, The Masters Review, Slice, StoryQuarterly, The Toast, Joyland, and Fairy Tale Review, among others and has been anthologized by Forward: 21st Century Flash Fiction, Not My President: The Anthology of Dissent, and Unbroken Circle: Stories of Cultural Diversity in the South. She received her MFA in fiction from Indiana University and has been supported by organizations like the Fulbright Program in the Philippines and Millay Arts. She is currently a fiction editor for Split Lip Magazine and is completing a novel set during Philippine martial law. You can find Anna at annacabe.com.

Ira Sukrungruang

Ira Sukrungruang is the author of four nonfiction books This Jade World, Buddha’s Dog & other Meditations, Southside Buddhist, and Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist; the short story collection The Melting Season; and the poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night. He is the recipient of the 2015 American Book Award, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, an Arts and Letters Fellowship, and the Anita Claire Scharf Award in Poetry. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including The Rumpus, American Poetry Review, The Sun, and Creative Nonfiction. He is one of the founding editors of Sweet: A Literary Confection (sweetlit.com), and is the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College. For more information about him, please visit: www.buddhistboy.com.