Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference awards $12,000 in cash prizes for writing competitions

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 07:57
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DENTON (UNT), Texas -- George Bowden of Fort Worth received the top prize of $3,000 and a provisional  book contract with the University of North Texas Press in the Book Manuscript competition sponsored by the 2015 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference.

In "That I must Tread Alone," Bowden tells the true story of a Marine corporal who grew up hunting in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but vowed to not kill any Koreans when he was sent to the Korean War in 1950.

The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference is hosted each July by the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism in UNT's Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism. The conference brings together approximately 300 participants who are interested in writing narrative nonfiction to learn from renowned journalists and storytellers in different genres. This year's conference was July 17-19.

From its first years, the conference has held its Personal Essay, Book Manuscript and Reported Narrative contests to recognize extraordinary literary journalism and creative nonfiction from writers of unpublished work. This year's conference awarded  $3,000 each to the first-place winners of the Personal Essay and Reported Narrative, as well as awarding the first-place cash award in the Book Manuscript competition. The second-place winners in all three categories each received $2,000, while the third-place winners in all three categories each received $1,000. The winners were announced July 18 at the conference's Literary Lights Dinner, which featured Barbara Ehrenreich, author of "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America," as keynote speaker.

The first-place Book Manuscript prize was sponsored by Voice Media Group. The second- and third-place winners of this Book Manuscript competition, sponsored by Joe Dealey Jr., of Dallas, are:

  • Second place -- Seema Yasmin of Rowlett, a staff writer at The Dallas Morning News, for "Epidemic of Fear," which relates the impact of ebola infecting three people in Dallas last fall.
  • Third place -- David McSwane of Austin, a staff writer for the Austin American-Statesman, for "Profane Heroics," a personal memoir. 

All six winning Personal Essay and Reported Narrative entries and four runners up selected from these two categories will be published in Ten Spurs, a literary nonfiction journal published by the Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism. The edition featuring this year's contest winners will be published just before the 2016 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. The winners are: 

Personal Essay:

  • First place, sponsored by The Dallas Morning News -- Tim Miller of Rockwall for "My Encounter with Koresh." Miller, a Seventh-Day Adventist minster, tells of meeting David Koresh at a bookstore in Keene, Texas, before Koresh was the leader of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. Miller wonders if a letter he had written to Koresh, but never mailed, would have prevented the deaths of Koresh and 79 of his followers at the compound in April 1993.
  • Second place, sponsored by Anna and Nick Ricco & Ricco Family Partners and Dorothy Bland, dean of the Mayborn School of Journalism -- Virginia Riddle of Tehuacana, Texas, for "Crossing the Line."
  • Third place, sponsored by Joe Dealey Jr. -- Philip Kelly of Newport Beach, California, for "Candles."

Reported Narrative:

  • First place, sponsored by The Dallas Morning News  -- Amy Burgess of Fort Worth for "Teens Rule," which describes 75 courts where teenagers decide on the punishment of other teens, and includes jury duty in the courts as part of the punishment to give offenders a look at the law from the other side.
  • Second place, sponsored by Anna and Nick Ricco & Ricco Family Partners -- Amanda Ogle of Weatherford for "A River Trickles Through It."
  • Third place, sponsored by Joe Dealey Jr. -- Jonathan Auping of Dallas for "The Fat Blind Man and the Podcast."

The four runners up entries that will be published in Ten Spurs are:

  • "All about the Journey" by Shannon Baker of Denton.
  • "Addicted" by Christen Dennis of Denton.
  • "Living without Water" by Kathy Floyd of Wichita Falls.
  • "The Trip to Nowhere" by Chris Vognar, culture critic for The Dallas Morning News.

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