Winner Announced: The Remember in November Contest for Creative Nonfiction 2017

This was far more difficult than I imagined! There were outstanding elements to each and every piece, whether it was structure, language, or theme itself. Each essay revealed itself in more depth each time I read it.

— Dina Honour, one of our two guest judges on the selection process


Hippocampus Magazine’s 2017 Remember in November Contest for Creative Nonfiction drew a record number of submissions, and, after months of reading, narrowing down, and hearing from our guest judges, we’re pleased to share this year’s results. It was perhaps our closest contest yet.

* * *

Beautifully written, lyrical, and tragic.

Gorgeous and tragic.

I’m stunned. Everything about this piece is beautiful. The carefully rendered form, the delicate emotion, the insightful imagery, the sonic quality… just wow!

Beautifully written and imagined. Haunting repetitions that weave together a singular, unique voice.



Those were words and comments found in notes from reading panel members as they read the winning story for the first time.


We’re pleased to share with you this year’s grand prize winner, Anne Gudger. Here’s what our judges had to say about her award-winning essay, “Helix”:


“Helix’s delivery and pacing . . . pitch perfect. I left this narrative completely satisfied.” — Laurie Jean Cannady

“…’to allow her shadow self to breathe’–beautiful; lovely language…scar on hand, carried from a former life; not wanting her depression on her sister’s chart; the whole theme of unhealed wounds was handled really well; simultaneously sad and uplifting; binds and binding (of lives and wounds)…” — Dina Honour


Congratulations, Anne! We’re honored to publish “Helix” in our special contest issue, and we hope our readers enjoy it as much as we did.

Anne Gudger is an Oregon/Montana/Oregon writer. Sea and sky flood her cells. She’s been lucky to have words in Real Simple Magazine, The Rumpus, Slippery Elm, Pithead Chapel, Entropy, and more. [Read her winning essay here.]



We’d also like to congratulate Yvonne Fein. Her essay “Taunting the Abyss” is this year’s runner-up. Members of our reading panel called this piece “riveting” and “breathtaking.”

Yvonne Fein, daughter of Holocaust survivors, was driven to write about the fallout creatively, investigate it academically, and seek religious answers unsuccessfully. Past lecturer at Australian Jewish Museum, she holds an MA from Monash University and diploma in creative writing from Prahran College. [Read her story here.]



We’d also like to recognize the following four writers, our other finalists; their stories stuck with us as well, and you can read them in this issue:

Congratulations again!


Graphic collage of finalist headshots and name ribbon beneat each - Nina Boutsikaris – “Some Sort of Union” Gwen Erkonen – “Baptism by Fire” Yvonne Fein – “Taunting the Abyss” Blake Fluger – “Winter and Other Seasons” Anne Gudger – “Helix” Sarah Morris – “Pulp”


Semi-Finalists & Short List

We had a short list of about 25 stories, and 14 made it to our semi-final round:

  • Lisa Chavez – “Suicide Note”
  • Blair Donahue – “Powerlines”
  • Natalie D-Napolean – “Crossing”
  • Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons – “Construction with Benefits”
  • Rosanna Gargiulo – “Rite of Passage” (Semi-Finalist)
  • Alle Hall – “Crashing”
  • X Hanna – “The Metaphysics of Us”
  • Terri Kiral – “Humbled”
  • Claire Kortyna – “Waitressing and the Cosmo”
  • Evelyn Krieger – “Who By Fire” (Semi-Finalist)
  • Tyler Lacoma – “Xerocole”
  • Christy Lynch – “Vee Dubya” (Semi-Finalist)
  • Michael Nixon – “Consequences” (Semi-Finalist)
  • Jon Shorr – “Beats” (Semi-Finalist)
  • Sharon Silver – “Trick Shot”
  • Stephany Wilkes – “Personal Effects” (Semi-Finalist)
  • Hannah van Didden – “Water and Light” (Semi-Finalist)
  • Kirsten Voris – “Swimming with Headscarf Ladies” (Semi-Finalist)



Running an annual contest, one that draws several hundred entries, would not be possible without an outstanding and dedicated team of volunteer readers; so many members of our reading panel ramped up their efforts during the contest period. A sincere thank you to our reading staff and copy editors for their hard work on this (and every) issue.

We’d also like to especially thank our guest judges this year: Laurie Jean Cannady and Dina Honour. We’re so grateful for the time and careful consideration you gave to our six finalist stories.

To our readers, thank you for always being there for us. We hope you enjoy this contest issue as much as we enjoyed building it.

Congratulations to all of our finalists!


[Editor’s note: we updated this story on 11/4 to correct a misspelling of a writer’s name; Kirsten Voris was mistakenly listed as “Kristin”.]

  1 comment for “Winner Announced: The Remember in November Contest for Creative Nonfiction 2017

Share a Comment