Every year hundreds of inmates from around the country submit poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and dramatic works to PEN’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 $200, $100, and $50 are awarded for first, second, and third place, respectively, in each of the following categories:
 

Poetry

First Place
Catherine LaFleur, “Gardener’s Memory

Second Place
Edward Ji, Random Tuesday

Third Place
Brian Batchelor, Walking Yard

Dawson Prize
Rufus Rodolph, Hopeless

Honorable Mentions
Hal Cobb, Applause

Jennifer K. Prince, Untitled

C. Fausto Cabrera, A Ladybug’s Visit

Terry W. Loessin, Rare Winters When

Fernando Rivas Martinez, “300 Min.”

 

Fiction

First Place
Arthur Fitzgerald, Saturn Rising

Second Place
Lawson Strickland, September

Third Place
Timothy James Burke, Victoria’s Secret

Dawson Prize
Malakki, Bless

 

Honorable Mentions
Scott Gutches, “The Breakers”

Steven H. Hummert, “The Book”

Arthur Longworth, “The Ocean”

 

Essay

First Place
Gene Walker, East Texas Machinery

Second Place
John J. Lennon, College in the Can

Third Place
Arthur Longworth, The Yard

Honorable Mentions
Ralph Bolden, “Living Grave”

Jeremy Mulligan, “Mr. Levi”

Ben Wilson, “Contemporary Street Literature”

 

Memoir

First Place
Tommy Winfrey, The Stray

Second Place
Elizabeth Hawes, Warranted

Third Place
Nate McKowen, The Setting Sun

 

Honorable Mentions
Michael A. Cooke, “Who’s Who in the Zoo”

Burl N. Corbett, “A Short History of the ‘Hill'”

Catherine LaFleur, “A True Tale of Love and Laundry”

 

Drama

First Place
Keith Sanders, Closure

Second Place
Matthew Mendoza, Isla Mujeres

Third Place
Stephen J. Matthews, The Greatest American Patriot from Puducherry

Dawson Prize
William Myrl Smitherman, A Midsummer Night’s Dungeon

Honorable Mentions
Sandra Brown, “I’ve Met My Match—A Drama in Five Acts”

Avis Lee (et al.), “Chin to the Sky—The Life Sentence of Avis Lee”

 

The Prison Writing Contest Prizes are sponsored by the generous support of the Greenburger Center for Social & Criminal Justice.