Dogwood 2014 Contest Winners

Dogwood is pleased to announce the contest winners of the upcoming 2014 issue, which is available in print and via LitRagger.

Dogwood is an annual journal of poetry and prose sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and the English Department at Fairfield University. From August 1st-October 15th each year, the Dogwood staff collects works from both new and acclaimed writers across the country, and publishes a new issue every May. Dogwood is named for the area of Fairfield, CT, which is covered in flowering dogwood trees each spring.

DogwoodCover2014This volume is a shape-shifter, beginning with our cover, which a still from an animated movie, “I Was A Teenage Girl, Apparently.” Illustrator Nina Frenkel created the drawing for the movie in collaboration with writer/filmmaker Lyn Elliot. Like much of our content, the movie draws from personal experience, steeped in details of an ordinary life and made meaningful through reflection, all sparked by the discovery of an old diary.

The element of self-discovery triggered by clues from the past finds common theme with our nonfiction selections, the smashing and original stories that will take you to the edges of your dinner table in the fiction section, and the poetry featured here strains for empathy in the extreme and intimate moments of life; all of which make up the essential components of the current 13th issue of Dogwood. See the full table of contents.

2014 Dogwood Award Winners

We are so pleased to announce our $1000 prize winner for this issue:

Grand Prize and First Prize, Fiction: “Junk Food” by Sarah Harris Wallman

Sandra Rodriguez Barron writes of “Junk Food”: “The foggy, hormonal blur that is life in the neonatal unit is difficult to capture, and this author did this exceedingly well. The point of view of the young mother works so well, from her impulse to check and post to Facebook while attached to a breast pump, to her perception of the nurses’ banter and the ever-beeping machines. The story ends with the baby in crisis and the dawning of the mother’s lifetime of worry. Will the baby’s life be long or short, we don’t know, but this story is about the transformation to the selfless state of parenthood.”

Sarah Harris Wallman teaches writing at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut, where she lives with her husband and son. She studied writing at the University of Virginia, the University of Pittsburgh, and all the terrible jobs she had in her twenties. She recently won Prada Journal’s international short story award.

First Prize, Poetry: “How it Starts” by Rebecca Olson

Carmen Giménez Smith writes: “’How It Starts’ is dense with sensual detail. I appreciate the speaker’s great tenderness and innovative approach to language.”

Rebecca Olson is a poet and editor from Minnesota. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Oregon State University and her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in cream city review, PANK, Paper Darts, and other literary journals. She lives in Portland, Oregon. You can learn more about her work at

First Prize, Nonfiction:  “One Way to Shut Her Up” by Ester Bloom

Heather Kirn Lanier writes: “‘It was fantastic, hilarious, original.”

Ester Bloom is a Brooklyn-based writer whose features, essays, and stories have appeared in Slate, Salon, Bite: An Anthology of Flash Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, the Hairpin, the Awl, the Toast, the Morning News, Nerve, PANK, Bluestem, Phoebe, and numerous other venues. She blogs on culture for the Huffington Post, reviews books for Trachodon and the KGB Bar Literary Magazine, and is a columnist at the Billford and Lilith—for which she also writes the advice column “Aunt Acid.” Follow her @shorterstory.

Dogwood 2014 Judges

Our judges’ roster this year offers a dynamic group of three gifted writers, and we are glad they took time to be part of our contest.

Fiction judge Sandra Rodriguez Barron holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University. Her debut novel, The Heiress of Water, was a Borders “Original Voices” selection and won first place at the 2007 International Latino Book Awards. Her second novel, Stay with Me, was a finalist for the 2011 Connecticut Book Award. She is the grateful recipient of grants and fellowships from The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The Greater Hartford Arts Council, the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, and the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism. Sandra was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in El Salvador. She currently teaches in the MFA in Creative and Professional Writing Program at Western Connecticut State University.

Nonfiction judge Heather Kirn Lanier is the author of Teaching in the Terrordome: Two Years in West Baltimore with Teach For America and The Story You Tell Yourself, winner of the Wick Poetry Open Chapbook Competition. Her work has appeared in dozens of places, including Salon, The Sun, and The Threepenny Review. She lives in Bennington, Vermont.

Poetry judge Carmen Giménez Smith is the author of a memoir, Bring Down the Little Birds, and four poetry collections— Milk and Filth, Goodbye, Flicker, The City She Was, and Odalisque in Pieces. She is the recipient of a 2011 American Book Award, the 2011 Juniper Prize for Poetry, and a 2011-2012 fellowship in creative nonfiction from the Howard Foundation. Formerly a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she now teaches in the creative writing programs at New Mexico State University, while serving as the editor-in-chief of the literary journal Puerto del Sol and the publisher of Noemi Press.

After a one-year hiatus from 2010-2011, Dogwood resumed publication and its annual contest with new editor Sonya Huber. In addition to being the editor of Dogwood, Sonya is an Associate Professor at Fairfield University, where she teaches creative nonfiction, publishing, editing, and composition. To contact Sonya, e-mail, and for general Dogwood inquiries, e-mail


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