The editors are pleased to announce that judge Daisy Hernández has chosen Rhonda Zimlich’s essay “The Ritual of Smoking” as the winner of this year’s Dogwood Literary Award in Nonfiction. Ms. Zimlich will receive $1,000 and her essay will be published in Dogwood’s 2020 edition. Finalists for the award were Madeline Kramer and Tatiana Schlote-Bonne, whose work will also appear in Dogwood 2020, due out in late May.
Of Zimlich’s essay, Judge Daisy Hernández wrote, “The essay is a compact and moving exploration of the body and childhood and the complicated sanctuaries we seek. I particularly loved the author’s attention to detail and language as this underscores that rituals often evoke an intense sense of intimacy and power. While this essay contemplates the nature of one particular ritual, it speaks, in its specificity, to a deeply collective experience.”
Rhonda Zimlich lives in the Pacific Northwest where she teaches writing at the University of Oregon. She writes about inter-generational trauma and the unbreakable spirit of youth. Her work has appeared in Brevity, Past-Ten, Ink Stains, and others. She holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Follow her on Twitter @rhondazimlich
Judge Daisy Hernández is the author of A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir and coeditor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism. A journalist, she has reported for National Geographic, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Slate, and her writing has been aired on NPR’s All Things Considered. Her essays and fiction have been published in Aster(ix), Dogwood, Fourth Genre, Gulf Coast, Iowa Review, Juked, The Pinch, and Rumpus, among others. She is a contributor to the Buddhist magazine, Tricycle, and Assistant Professor in the Creative Writing Program at Miami University in Ohio.
The editors thank the hundreds of writers who entered the contest, and encourage all writers to consider entering again in the late summer, when submissions reopen. Please return to this site in the coming weeks to learn the winners of the 2020 Dogwood Literary Award in Fiction.