On February 1, 2018, Knoxville Writers’ Guild was pleased to announce the winners of the Fall 2017 Writing Contest. The Contest received sixty-six entries in four categories: Poetry, Short fiction, Nonfiction, and Young Writers.

Heather Davis was awarded first prize for her short story “My Thank You Letters.”

Author and YouTube producer Joseph Beaubien judged the Fiction contest. Joseph had this to say about Heather’s work:

“I could go on about how ‘My Thank You Letters’ has a good opening and closing line, how it captures the often tenuous and temporal nature of human relationships, how sometimes it veers off into deconstructionist territory, or how funny it is, but instead I think I will just list a few of my favorite lines…”

One of our screeners noted the following about Ms. Davis’s story:

“I enjoyed the highly readable pace and the humorous, self-effacing and very human first-person character.”

Celtic Cat Publishing sponsored the Fiction Category.

Daniel Roop is the winner of the first prize in the Poetry category for his poem “Call It Painted Trillium.”

Poet Erin Elizabeth Smith judged the Poetry contest. Erin made these comments about Daniel’s poem:

“‘Call It Painted Trillium’ winds its way through personal history, religion, Knoxville, and so much more to construct an elegy not just of the narrator’s father, but of the loss of a world that ‘overflow[ed] with wildflowers,’ a time where life had ‘a stomach so full’ that you couldn’t believe hunger could exist. This poem is nostalgic, but only in the true sense of the word, whose roots come from words meaning ‘homecoming’ and ‘grief.’”

Knoxville Writers’ Guild sponsored this year’s Poetry category.

Katherine Paul from Oak Ridge High School is the winner of the Young Writers’ contest for her short story “M&Ms.” Linda Barnes, English Language Arts Curriculum Supervisor of Knox County Schools, judged the Young Writers’ category. Linda had this to say about Katherine’s story:

“The author created a believable story that accurately described life inside the adolescent mental wing of a hospital. The characters were surprisingly well developed for such a short story. The writer’s craft was highlighted by the juxtaposition of the narrator’s internal monologue with the activities and conversations happening around her. Finally, the way the story was brought full circle by the patient’s yearning for M&Ms was well done.”

Test Prep Experts sponsored the Young Writers’ category.

Due to insufficient entries in the Nonfiction category we were unable to award a winner for this contest.


  • Fiction
    • “And Christmas Yet to Come” Greer Fox
    • “Back and Forth” Heather Davis
  • Poetry
    • “Leaving” Lela E. Buis
    • “Make No Mistake” Carla Brunty
  • Young Writers
    • “A Letter to Myself” Meagan Whitney
    • “Mrs. Stridewell” Tristan Tucker

About Our Judges

Linda Barnes is the curriculum supervisor for Knox County Schools English Language Arts 6-12. Mrs. Barnes has been responsible for engaging students in creating and publishing their writing through the promotion of regional writing contests including UT’s “Austen Fest”, Knox County’s poetry initiative “Latitude 35”, and KWG’s annual contests.

Joseph Beaubien is a member of the Knoxville Writers’ Guild’s Science Fiction and Fantasy group.  Has published digital artwork for World Works Games Inc. His current project is a book series named Aeon Legion available on Amazon. Joseph is also the mastermind behind the popular YouTube parody channel “Terrible Writing Advice.”

Erin Elizabeth Smith is the Creative Director at the Sundress Academy for the Arts and the Managing Editor of Sundress Publications and The Wardrobe. She is the author of two full-length collections and the editor of two anthologies, Political Punch: Contemporary Poems on the Politics of Identity and Not Somewhere Else But Here: Contemporary Poems on Women and Place. She teaches in the English Department at the University of Tennessee.

The Annual KWG Contest opens this spring on March 31 at midnight. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for opportunities to become involved as a screener for the contests.

Read all the winning entries here.

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