Every year, hundreds of imprisoned writers from around the country submit poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and dramatic works to PEN America’s Prison Writing Contest, one of the few outlets of free expression for the country’s incarcerated population. Manuscripts come to the Prison Writing Program in a variety of forms: Some are handwritten, some are typed, some are written in the margins of legal documents. Prizes of $250, $150, $100, and $25 are awarded for first, second, third place, and honorable mention, respectively, in each of the following categories:



First Place

Lori Lynn McLuckie, “Trina Marie”

Second Place

Dennis E. Anderson, “Candy Bar”

Third Prize (tie)

Jarvis Maters, “Recipe for Prison Pruno”

Marvin Santamaria, “Mockingbird”


Honorable Mentions

Paul Almaguer, “The Prayer”

Judith Clark, “Panic”

Jack Deal, “Heart of Stone”

Michael Frederiksen, “The Screams of Insanity”

Arthur Glover, “I’ll Say That Again”

J. Lee Hamilton, “Karmic”

James Jennings, “Sunday Morning Sermon Wild”

Heide Wertz-Miller, “Untitled”

Robert Stapleton, “So Long”

Joe Teran Jr., “Glares That Fall”

F.A. Woods, “Inside”

Richard Earl Young, “Profile”



First Place

Lerot James, “High Rise”

Second Place

J.C. Amberchele, “Melody”

Third Place

Paul St. John, “Peeks By the Gnome of the Slums on the Bad Hardened to the Absolute”


Honorable Mentions

Lloyn Foster, “The Leader of the People”

David Nicholson, “The Day the Killer Came Out”

Cardell Shaired, “Maggie’s Child”

Richard Sherrill, “The Adventure”



First Place

William Don Muchleroy, “My First Encounter”

Second Place

Ken Lamberton, “The Anazai of the Bird World”

Third Place (tie)

Marilyn Buck, “Censored Women Speak”

John Daniel, “This We Call Justice”


Honorable Mentions

Raymond C. Alexander, “A Shared Experience of Behavior Between Birds and Humans”

Brian R. Anderson, “Waterwork Parks”

Randolph Bass, “March to Glory”

Charles Doss, “An Elegy for Buster”

William Dutcher, “The House That Tarzan Built”

Joseph Fasciani, “Today Disneyland Tomorrow the World”

David William Finney, “A City of Refuge”

Lance Fleming, “Yoga and Me”

Victor Hassine, “Interview With Toney: An AIDS Tragedy”

William M. Helton Jr., “Air Calvary In Action”

Andre John Heugel, “Waiting for Work Release”

Charles P. Norman, “Pearl Got Stabbed”

William Norma, “Thomas Jefferson: High on Corporate Power”

Gary A. Parker, “Di Di Mao”

Rick Presswood, “The Bird Catcher”

Paul St. John, “Users Labeling and Power Groups”

Norman K. Scott, “The ‘Son of Sam’ Law: Writers and Publisher’s Block!”

Antonio Smith, “Prisons: The Singles Bars of the 90’s”

Mark Thomas, “Magical Thinking”

W.E. Waters, “The Last Word on L.A.”

Richard Earl Young, “Improving the Jury Process”



First Place

Charles P. Norman, “Why Me?”

Second Place

W.E. Waters, “Talkin’ to Parents”

Third Place

Andrew J. Heugel, “The Parole Board”


Honorable Mentions

Lance Fleming, “Disciplinary Action”

Victor Hassine, “Three Boys and a Dog”

Robert Stapleton, “Polarized”