It’s time to share the results from Hippocampus Magazine‘s 2020 Remember in November Contest for Creative Nonfiction. This year’s contest drew more than 350 submissions, so so many of which wowed our volunteer reading team. It was truly a pleasure to spend much of our fall reading these selections.
Update for 11/6/2020
Claire O’Brien Named Winner of 2020 Contest for Creative Nonfiction
Claire O’Brien’s essay “Dead Weight” was selected by our guest judge Janna Marlies Maron as the grand prize winner in our 2020 contest.
A Note from Our Judge
“It’s been a privilege to read this year’s contest finalists. I always consider it a sacred honor to receive personal stories, so thank you, Hippocampus, for trusting me with the opportunity, and thank you, writers, for sharing.
Each of these finalists share a special and important story, and selecting a winner was a challenge—the scores are so close! They each should be incredibly proud of their work and the impact it will have on others.
Ultimately “Dead Weight” came out ahead as it is not only fascinating, but exquisitely written. The voice is compassionate, compelling, and expertly conveys the heaviness of the metaphor consistently throughout the piece.” — Janna Marlies Maron
About Our Winner
After 15 years as a forensic expert, Claire O’Brien hung up her crime scene gear to write. Soon she was leading the copywriting team at a major travel brand. Now, when not crafting headlines from her home in Costa Rica, she’s pursuing an MFA at Queens University of Charlotte. “Dead Weight” is part of her larger project, “Tomorrow, We Might Wake Up Dead,” about her career in human identification. Her travel writing has appeared in Wanderful, Go Abroad, Matador Network, RepCo, We See magazine and others.
Our original finalist announcement continues here:
Meet Our Finalists
We’re pleased to introduce you to our six finalists. These stories will appear in our November issue, set to go live the afternoon of November 9, 2020, on which we’ll also announce the grand prize winner ($1,000). (We will return to this post and link up these stories once they’ve published.)
|“Dead Weight”||Claire O’Brien|
|“Exodus”||Darby Shea Williams|
|“The Honey Bucket”||Laura Joyce-Hubbard|
|“I’ll Be Seeing You: A Black Woman Travels in 2017”||DW McKinney|
|“The New Pretty”||Nicole Graev Lipson|
|“Say You Want to Live and Be Beautiful”||Lori Jakiela|
Our Guest Judge
We’re thrilled to partner with Janna Marlies Maron, whom many of you may know as founder of Under The Gum Tree, a beautifully designed magazine of creative nonfiction and art. Janna and her UTGT team also organize what has become a much-awaited off-site event each year at the AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) conference: a joint reading with contributors from a handful of CNF literary magazines. Hippo has been honored to be a part of it for the past several years. So, please, big round of applause for our judge… and allow us to introduce Janna:
Janna Marlies Maron (she/her) is a professional editor with nearly 20 years of experience helping writers to complete their projects and produce the best work possible. Her experience includes time as a magazine editor, college professor, agency editorial direction, and content director for a popular internet brand.
Her life’s work began when she was a kid writing in a spiral bound notebook, and she has since turned an MA in creative writing into a successful career as an editor, publisher, and director of her own business supporting women authors writing nonfiction. She is the founding editor and publisher of Under the Gum Tree, a literary arts magazine publishing creative nonfiction and visual art, and she hosts a private online community for nonfiction writers called More to the Story.
We’d also like to say congratulations to our six semifinalists. This year, for the first time, we’ve decided to showcase the top 10 stories of the contest rather than only the six finalists. So that means we’ll also share a selection (4) of the semifinalist stories in the contest issue.
- “Brothers in Arms” by Jessica Ripka
- “In the River I Saw Him Again” by Catherine Young
- “Precedent” by Zachary Ostraff
- “Scars Fist Watch Kiss” by Jonathan Winston Jones
- “Life Lines” by Jeanette Geraci (honorable mention)
- “How to Begin” by Susan Meyers (honorable mention)
As we read through our more than 350 blind-entry submissions, we first narrowed down our stories to a long list of just shy of 50 entries, and then a few dozen moved on to the short list. This was a challenging process, and we would like to acknowledge these fine writers for making it near the top in this year’s contest. You just might even see a couple of these in future issues of Hippocampus Magazine.
This contest would not have been possible without the efforts of our volunteer reading panel and a few guest readers who came on board for contest season. Gratitude to Abigail, Amy B, Andre, Anthony, Campbell, Danah, David, Denise, Dorothy, Eli, Faith, Jenn, Jodi, Kayti, Kelsey M, Kelsi S, Kevin, Kristen, Lara, Laura, Lauren, Michael, Nancy, Natasha, Pamela, Pietra, Rae, Sarah K G, Sarah P, Steph, Tracy, Vicki, Vonetta, Wendy B, Wendy F, and Whitney.
We can’t wait to share these six finalists and the four bonus stories with you next week!