Category Archives: Contests

2018 Young Writers Contest Winners

Gandhi gentle way quill

2018 Young Writers Contest Winners

Judges: Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, poetry; Adriana Páramo, nonfiction; and Djelloul Marbrook, fiction

Participating in the Writing for Peace Young Writers Contest takes a commitment to research, an open mind, and refining the craft of writing. The work that came in from young writers across the globe exemplified this commitment. It has been an honor and privilege to read them. In the words of Writing for Peace Adviser and Judge Djelloul Marbrook: “First, it has been a privilege and a pleasure to read these stories, not a chore. All of them are well written, poignant and eye-opening…I urge each of these writers to continue blessing us with their work.”

We would like to thank our judges for taking the time to read and consider our young writers’ entries. We would also like to acknowledge all of the young writers who took the time to research a new culture and write a story, essay, or poem for the Writing for Peace Young Writers Contest. Completing this challenge is no small achievement, and we salute your commitment to expanding your knowledge base and developing your craft. We would also like to thank the teachers and mentors who encouraged their students to take our challenge, and then inspired and guided them to prepare their best work.

In Poetry~

First Place: Anna Yang from Saratoga, California, for “I Remember.”

Second Place: Booyeon Choi from Concord Massachusets, for “Fragments.”

Third Place: Lisa Zou from Chandler, Arizona for “Bodhisattva.”

In Fiction~

First Place: Sarah Ryu from Exeter, New Hampshire, for “The Hummingbird (Huitzilli).”

Second Place:  Chang Hyeon Park from Seoul, South Korea, for “Just A Little bit of Patience.”

Third Place:  David Gorodetsky from Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, for “Bleached Flour in Unbleached Hands.”

In Nonfiction~

First Place: Carolyn Qu from Smithtown, New York, for “The South Korean Suicide Epidemic.”

Second Place: Sally Liu from Holzheim, Bayern, Germany, for “Where Do You Come from?”

Third Place: Yu-Chen Lim from Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada for “The Merchant.”

Finalists~

Poetry: Michael Pieruccini & Jasmine Dhaliwal

Fiction: Minsung Kim & Alex Kim

Nonfiction: Lily See

Congratulations to one and all!

Copyright © 2018 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

First Amendment Essential to Peaceful Activism, by Andrea Doray, Plus Young Writer Contest Results

President’s Corner:

A free press, and freedom of speech, are essential to peaceful activism

by Andrea W. Doray

Andrea DorayI am a writer. And – as far as I know – no one is offering a bounty for one of my ears.

Not so for Akram Aylisli, a highly regarded writer, poet, and scriptwriter from Azerbaijan who once received that country’s most prestigious literary prize. However, in 2013, the leader of the Modern Musavat party announced that he would pay a bounty equivalent to $12,700 USD to anyone who cuts off Aylisli’s ear.

The impetus for this threat was Aylisli’s novel, Stone Dreams, which provides a sympathetic view of Armenians in Azerbaijan’s ongoing ethnic disputes. Aylisli is accused of describing only Azeri abuses against Armenians, and not addressing attacks by Armenians on Azeris.

Azerbaijan’s president also stripped Aylisli of the title of “People’s Writer.” And although the Minister of the Interior has announced that calls for violence are unacceptable, the threat to Aylisli remains.

Although he was already 75, Aylisli began contemplating seeking asylum abroad with his family. A writer, he says, has the right to express his thoughts without being considered a traitor. However, government officials in Azerbaijan have labeled Aylisli’s book as treasonous.

A year ago in 2016, Aylisli said that he had been stopped from travelling to a literary festival in Italy by border police when he arrived at Baku airport. His bags, which had already been checked in, were taken off the plane and searched. He was taken into the custody of the airport police and falsely, he says, accused of creating a public disturbance. He was interrogated and held by the police for more than 10 hours.

Aylisli, self-described as a 78-year-old writer in poor health and suffering from a heart condition, allegedly punched a border guard, a claim that was later used by the border service as an explanation for denying the border crossing.

Index on Censorship later released part of the speech he had been due to make at the Venice festival. In it, Aylisli writes: “I was a hero for some and a traitor for others. I never for a moment felt I was a hero or traitor, just a regular writer and humanitarian who is able to feel the pain of others.”

The editor of Index on Censorship Rachael Jolley told The Guardian that the Index on Censorship translated and published extracts from the speech because they felt it was important for the public to read what he was planning to say about the role of the writer and the right to criticism.

The situation, as I see it, is suppression of a perspective that does not support the nationalist stance on the Azerbaijani/Armenian conflict. And that is called censorship, even though, in Azerbaijan as in other countries – including the United States where I live – authors have a constitutional right to write what they want without pressure or government interference. Book bans and book burnings notwithstanding, American constitutional rights fare better than those in Azerbaijan.

Yet, even in a country where freedom of the press is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, writers are under siege. Just yesterday, April 30, 2017, Reince Priebus, Chief of Staff for the current administration under Donald Trump, said and repeated on the record that abridging or abolishing the First Amendment is something the Trump White House is currently considering.

It’s taken much of the USA’s 200+-year history to give voice to differing perspectives about events surrounding Native Americans, slavery, immigration, child labor, internment camps, McCarthyism, Kent State, Iran Contras, waterboarding, WikiLeaks, extraordinary rendition, and others, and one man is threatening to sue news outlets – not just in the United States – and jail individual writers and journalists on vague charges of treason. All because the sitting president doesn’t like his press coverage.

I personally have written, with critical opinions, about many of these subjects. And, to date in my country, no matter what I write, how I write it, or who I please or offend with my writing, I’m reasonably assured of keeping both my ears. And if that should ever change, we all have a much larger problem.

I do, however, have some words of advice for the White House, and for regimes around the world, that want to try. As Edward Bulwer-Lytton famously wrote in 1839 – and as systematic oppression against writers has proved since antiquity – the pen is mightier than the sword.

Let’s all pick up our pens and wield them as swords against any who would suppress and oppress free speech. Let’s accept our roles as writers and humanitarians who are able to feel the pain of others. And let’s teach our coming generations that peaceful activism begins on the page.

To this end, we at Writing for Peace are pleased to announce the winners of our 2017 Young Writers Contest. These young people from around the globe submitted their unique perspectives in poetry, essays, and fiction, and we are enriched through their wisdom. You will find last year’s winning entries in the latest edition of DoveTales, our international journal of the arts, which is now available for purchase.

If I may paraphrase Russian-based bestselling author Boris Akunin’s comments from one of his blog posts about Akram Aylisli, “Don’t you know that the state cannot win in a war with a writer?”

I couldn’t agree more.

###

Andrea W. Doray is an award-winning journalist, author, poet, and essayist in Denver, CO, and is occasionally a columnist for The Denver Post through their Colorado Voices panel. Her weekly opinion column, Alchemy, which appears in Colorado Community Media newspapers, has received a first-place award from the Colorado Press Association.Learn more about Andrea and her work here.

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2017 Young Writers Contest Results

Judges: Chip Livingston, poetry; Bradley Wetzler, nonfiction; and Nick Arvin, fiction

Poetry~

First Place: Lisa Zou from Chandler, Arizona, for “Bowls.”

Second Place: Jacqueline He from  San Jose, California, for “狐狸精 // Fox Spirit.”

Third Place: Cindy Song from Rockville, Maryland for “Scaffold.”

Fiction~

First Place: Wajudah Muheeb from Lagos, Nigeria, for “Rainbow Nation.”

Second Place: Jessica Hansen from Burwell, United Kingdom, for “The Exodus.”

Third Place: McKinsey Crozier from Cadillac, Michigan, for “Breath Free.”

Nonfiction~

First Place: Euijin Oh from Seoul, Gangnam-go, South Korea, for “The (Un)Fair Trade Culture: Piracy in the Caribbean.”

Second Place: Riley Mayes from Portland, Maine, for “Smiling at Strangers .”

Third Place: Brandon Sklarin from Smithtown, New York, for “Cuba, My Grandmother’s Journey.”

Finalists~

Poetry: Laura Hinkle & Soo Young Yun

Fiction: Andrew Kim & Ye Joon Han

Nonfiction: Celine Lee & Danielle Zarcone

Congratulations to the winners and finalists. First, second, and third place winners’ work will appear in our 2018 edition of DoveTales, edited by Andrea W. Doray. Many thanks to our judges for the time and thought they put into these decisions.

Writing for Peace would like to thank all of the writers who submitted poetry, fiction and essays for our 2017 Young Writers Contest. We understand it is no small thing to commit to a themed work and then send it out. All participants will shortly receive printed certificates. We hope you will continue to write, research, explore, and ask the questions that need to be asked. The 2018 contest will open on September 1st, 2017 and run until March 1st, 2018.

2017 DoveTales, “Refugees and the Displaced” Now Available

2017 Front CoverThe fifth edition of our annual literary journal, DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, will be shipped on May 1st. Our “Refugees and the Displaced” themed DoveTales is a timely affront to a status quo comfortable with the suffering of others. With contributors from every continent on the planet except Antarctica (we’re working on that), this is a book that is meant to challenge assumptions and explore issues of peace, social justice, and our responsibility to our fellow man. Cover art is by Canadian artist, Allen Forrest. You can purchase your copy here.

 

Copyright © 2017 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Famine, by Djelloul Marbrook

 riding-thermals

Famine

I’ve kicked my ass all over the world
for sipping poisons like an oenologist,
but it’s not without its rewards:
the cracks in buildings speak
and I’m the plenipotentiary
of a foreign power whose name I forget.
I enjoy name recognition
among the ghosts of certain places
because they recognize a fellow taster,
one who let the invaders settle in
before levying a dhimmi tax on them.
This is my Islam, that I died
so often standing up, stepping out
to get a breath of air and going in
for all that crap about genetics;
my Islam is noticing what’s going on,
burning the authorized version in oil drums
under bridges, growing abutments
to support my Queensboros
over rivers of shifting wrecks
& vortices of forgiveness not so much
as a famine of the eye.

djelloul-marbrook leaningDjelloul Marbrook is the author of five published poetry books: Far from Algiers (2008, Kent State University Press, winner of the 2007 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and the 2010 International Book Award in poetry), Brushstrokes and Glances (2010, Deerbrook Editions), Brash Ice (2014, Leaky Boot Press, UK) , Shadow of the Heron (2016, Coda Crab Books), and Riding Thermals to Winter Grounds (2017, Leaky Boot). Forthcoming in 2017 from Leaky Boot are four more: Nothing True Has a Name, Even Now the Embers, Other Risks Include, and Air Tea with Dolores. His fiction includes Saraceno (Bliss Plot, 2012), Mean Bastards Making Nice (2014, Leaky Boot), and two books of short fiction forthcoming in 2017 from Leaky Boot: A Warding Circle: New York Stories and Making Room: Baltimore Stories. He won the 2008 Literal Latté fiction prize for “Artists Hill,” an excerpt from Crowds of One, Book 2 in the Light Piercing Water trilogy, forthcoming in 2018 from Leaky Boot. A U.S. Navy veteran and retired newspaper editor, he lives in the mid-Hudson Valley with his wife Marilyn and maintains a lively presence on Twitter and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/djelloul.marbrook.5

Small Writing for Peace logoWriting for Peace News

2017 Young Writers Contest

2013 Writing for Peace Young Writers Contest

Our March 1st deadline is quickly approaching! Writing for Peace challenges young writers (ages 13-19) to expand their empathy skills by researching an unfamiliar culture and writing from the point-of-view of a character within that new world, while exploring social, political, and environmental pressures, and universal themes. There is no fee for participation. Spread the word!

Check Out The Latest From Adviser Dr. Margaret Flowers:

Dr. Margaret Flowers, Writing for Peace AdviserNewsletter: Being Prepared To Turn Crisis To Our Advantage

“What lessons should the protest movement of today take from the 9/11 experience and similar events that have occurred, e.g. the 1933 burning down of Reichstag under Hitler, which turned him into a dictator even though his party did not have a majority in the legislature?”

Copyright © 2017 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Important Writing for Peace News:

Writing for Peace, Lennon Imagine PeaceCall for Participants:
2016 Writing for Peace Inaugural Online Youth Summit

Join young artists and writers, ages 18-30, your peers from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, in conversation about the matters you care about in this online Youth Summit.

Form of Submission: Online

Summit Dates: April 29th, 30th and May 1st

Submission Deadline: April 15th

Topic:
“What I Would Say If I Knew They Were Listening, Conversations on Peace”

Fees: There is no fee for participation in this summit, with thanks to a generous grant from Longwood University in Virginia, United States of America.

Participation:  In order to provide a safe environment for participants to express themselves, this event is closed to the public. Participants are invited guests, ages 18-30, and will be given the password for admittance to the Summit following the acceptance of their submissions.

Description: In this online summit, 100 invited participants from schools and colleges in the US, Mexico (through Colectiva Poéticas), and Canada will have the opportunity to submit and present their creative work on the following theme: “What I Would Say If I Knew They Were Listening, Conversations on Peace”.

Submissions will be accepted in the following areas: Creative Writing, Visual Arts, Music, Theatre, and Dance, and will be accepted via Submittable link above in the following specific formats:

  • Photos: Please submit high‐resolution images as JPGs or PNGs. Maximum file size is 5MB.
  • Creative Writing: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Genre X, in written (PDF, DOC, or DOCX) or video format, as a reading (see below).
  • Videos: to submit videos, participants should upload videos to YouTube as a private video and send the unlisted link to SubmissionsForWFP@gmail.com . That link will then be embedded on the WFP site. Please use your first name last name and the title of your film in the subject.
  • Submit Here

Participants work will appear on the closed summit website for the conference weekend, and then will remain only if the participant desires to include it in the post‐summit open website. Participants in the conference will have the opportunity to hear live‐stream TED‐style keynote speakers—young people from their generation from around the world—talk about what it’s really like growing up globally, living in the midst of war, and becoming 21st century young activists. Participants will also have the opportunity to engage in threaded and real time online discussions with their global peers on topics including the impact young artists can have on Women’s Issues, LGBTQ Issues, Sustainability and The Environment, Hunger, Education, Using the Arts for Social
Change, and Using Social Media for Real Change.

Keynote Speakers include:

Lyla June Johnston, Writing fr Peace Young AdviserLyla June Johnston is a Navajo poet and peace activist from Taos, New Mexico, who has found her home in the service of humanity. After studying Human Ecology at Stanford University, Lyla founded Regeneration Festival, an annual celebration and honoring of children and young adults worldwide.

Natan Blanc, Writing for Peace Young AdviserNathan Blanc is an Israeli who refused to serve in the IDF (Israeli army) “because of its actions against the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.” Nathan held fast to his convictions, despite being sentenced 10 times, to a total of 178 days in jail. Nathan’s struggle was first of all a struggle for the freedom of conscience, but it was also a struggle for peace between the Jews and the Arabs in Israel.

Amal KassirAmal Kassir is a 20 year old Syrian‐American spoken word artist. Born and raised most her life in Denver, CO, she came from a dinner table of tabouleh and meat loaf, Arab father and American mother, best meals of both worlds. She runs a project called More than Metaphors that focuses on the education initiative for displaced Syrian children, but uses the grass roots to bring communities together for all conversations.
Malaka Mohammed, Writing for Peace AdviserMalaka Shwaikh is a Palestinian activist and freelance writer living in Sheffield. She is a graduate with a Masters in Global Politics and Law from the University of Sheffield.

Writing for Peace is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating empathy through education and creative writing in order to develop a foundation of compassion on which to build a more peaceful world. Our goal is to inspire and guide young writers to refine their craft and to consider the many ways their writing focus
can bring us closer to nonviolent conflict resolution, a society that values human rights, as well as environmental and economic sustainability.

 

Writing for Peace AdvisorsYoung Writers Contest

Our Young Writers Contest deadline is just around the corner. Be sure your submissions are in by the end of April 15th. We experienced some difficulties with the form earlier, so if you submitted and didn’t receive confirmation of your entry, please check with us, or re-submit at Young Writers Contest.

 

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for Peace

2016 DoveTales

“Family and Cultural Identity” Edition

Our fourth edition of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts will be released on May 1st! Links will go up soon, and if you are in the Fort Collins area we hope you will join us for our Book Release Celebration Reading! Check out the details and RSVP at Book Launch Celebration.

Copyright © 2016 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

DoveTales “Nature” Release, and 2015 Contest Winners

2015 post Header2015 Book Release

Our 2015 DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts, “Nature” Edition is now available for purchase! The “Nature” edition is our largest undertaking to date, with 82 wonderful contributors, plus our nine Young Writers Contest Winners from 2014. The book is 398 glorious pages. Special thanks goes to Colgate University Research Council for their generous sponsorship.

DoveTales "Nature" Cover

Contributors include:

Jordi Alonso, Pilar Rodríguez Aranda, Jasmine V. Bailey, Pratima Annapurna Balabhadrapathruni, Danny P. Barbare , Zeina Hashem Beck , Sarina Bosco, Elena Botts, Bredt Bredthauer, Lauren Camp, Hélène Cardona, Ariella Carmell, Mary Carroll-Hackett, William Cass, Yuan Changming, Jennifer Clark, Edward D. Currelley, Lorraine Currelley, Darlene P. Campos, Maija Rhee Devine (이매자), Virginia Bach Folger, Stuart Friebert, Eve Gaal, Kelle Grace Gaddis, Frederick Glaysher, Sharon Goodier, Ben Gunsberg, Sam Hamill, William Haywood Henderson, Jane Hertenstein, Don Hogle, Qumyka Rasheeda Howell, Elizabeth Hoyle, A.J. Huffman, Lauren Kessler, Ross Knapp, Page Lambert, Charles Leggett, Vicki Lindner, Cory Lockhart, Shannon K. Lockhart, John C. Mannone, Mark Mansfield, Jeremy Nathan Marks, Kevin Patrick McCarthy, Sandra McGarry, Dean K. Miller, Mark J. Mitchell, Roseville Nidea, Stephanie Noble, Barry W. North, Cheryl Pearson, Adrienne Pine, Jeannine Pitas, Jessica Placinto, David S. Pointer, Laura Pritchett, Claudia Putnam, Lisa Rizzo, Nicholas Alexander Roos, Sy Roth, Elizabeth Schultz, Tshombe Sekou, Alan Semrow, Annette Marie Smith, Patty Somlo, Howard F. Stein, Fred Tarr, Samantha Terrell, Jari Thymian, Debra Lynn Turner, Smriti Verma, Wang Ping, Jing M. Wang, Mercedes Webb-Pullman, Laura Grace Weldon

Art and Photography by

Chrystal Berche, Sylvia Freeman, Kevin Houchin, Paula Dawn Lietz, Carl Scharwath, Christopher Woods

Plus 2014 Young Writers Contest Winners:

Fiction: Angela Yoon, 1st; Jiace Cai, 2nd; Cassidy Cole, 3rd
Nonfiction: Ben Gershenfeld, 1st; Evan Kielmeyer, 2nd; Yen Nguyen, 3rd
Poetry: Dashiell Yeatts-Lonske, 1st; Matthew Rice, 2nd; John Vernaglia, 3rd

Editor: Carmel Mawle
Associate Editors: Craig Mawle, Phillip M. Richards, Willean Denton Hornbeck, Le Hornbeck, Michelle Catherine
Contributing Editor: Andrea W. Doray

Small Writing for Peace logo2015 Young Writers Contest Winners

2015 Young Writers Contest Judges2015 Contest Judges

We would like to acknowledge all of the young writers who took the time to research a new culture and write a story, essay, or poem for the Writing for Peace Young Writers Contest. Completing this challenge is no small achievement, and we salute your commitment to expanding your knowledge base and developing your craft. We would also like to thank the teachers and mentors who encouraged their students to take our challenge, and then inspired and guided them to prepare their best work. We were tremendously impressed with the quality of all the entries this year.

In Fiction

First Place: “Haozhen” by Tiffany Wang
Denton, Texas, USA

Second Place: “Between Islands” by Janghwan Bae
Bundang-gu, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

Third Place: “Ronin: the Fallen Samurai” by Moon Hyung Lee
Seoul, South Korea

In Nonfiction

First Place: “A Reason for Hope” by Min Seong Kim
Fairfax, Virginia, USA

Second Place: “Jews and the Black Death” by Hannah Rosenthal
Hauppauge, New York, USA

Third Place: “The Problems of Stressful Educational System in Singapore” by Vincent Yohanes, Indonesia

In Poetry

First Place: “The Third Daughter” by Allie Spensley
Avon Lake, Ohio, USA

Second Place: “A Red Eulogy” by Lisa Zou
Chandler, Arizona, USA

Third Place: “Terrorism, an unknown entity” by Moiz Khan
Roanoke, VA, USA, Pakistani exchange student

2015 winning entries will be published in our 2016 DoveTales. Participation Certificates and Awards will be sent out next week. Be sure to watch our blog and Facebook page to learn more about these talented young writers, and what our judges had to say about their work. We would like to thank our prestigious panel of judges: Antonya Nelson, fiction; Steve Almond, Nonfiction; Stephen Kuusisto, poetry.

Congratulations to all our contest winners!

Copyright © 2015 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

2014 Young Writers Contest Winners

Writing for Peace quill and ink2014 Young Writers Contest Winners

In Fiction

 First Place

“The Best of Both Worlds” by Angela Yoon, Age 16

Gangnam-gu, Seoul-si, South Korea

Seoul International School, Grade 10

In a sense” The Best of Both Worlds” is itself the best of two worlds, one the universal coming of age story, a loss of innocence we all recognize, but in another the very specific story of leaving a childhood in the Shanxi Province for a harsh adult reality in Beijing. I admire the compression and the urgency of this story, the poignancy of it, and the circular structure, the end and beginning mirroring one another in this journey of growth and of loss. A beautiful piece.

~Robin Black

Second Place

“Home” by Jiace Cai

Voorhees, New Jersey, United States

Eastern Regional High School, Grade 11

“Home” is a clear, eloquent depiction of the difficulties of living a dual identity, Chinese at home, American at school, lying and covering up in both places. The feelings of shame and of pride that reside inside the narrator are rendered with heartbreaking simplicity. “I changed my name from Xiaofei to Jennifer. . .” The journey to an acceptance of an identity woven of both “homes” is a powerful one.

~Robin Black

Third Place

“Face Me” by Cassidy Cole

Denver, Colorado, United States

Girl’s Athletic Leadership School, Grade 8

“Face Me” is a portrait of a very young woman living under the Taliban regime who feels unseen, faceless, powerless, because of she was born female. It is a uncompromising, harrowing depiction of the kind of rage that being treated like offensive “lesser” property engenders, a glimpse at societal abuse, and worse, through the eyes of one hidden girl who has not given up a dream of power, whatever it takes. A painful and deeply moving piece.

~Robin Black

 Small Writing for Peace logoIn Nonfiction

First Place

“Cultural Obstacles” by Ben Gershenfeld

Voorhees, New Jersey, United States

Eastern Regional High School, Grade 11

I admire how the author combines the personal – holiday schedules at his school – with the wider view, such as his father’s workplace, the corporate world beyond, and the US House and Senate, to reveal deeply ingrained inequity in how we treat religions and religious holidays.

~Dinty W. Moore

Second Place

“The Health Care Struggle of the Australian Aborigines” by Evan Kielmeyer

Smithtown, New York, United States

Smithtown High School West, Grade 10

The author’s well-researched and compassionate look at the many obstacles – cultural, economic, geographical – that aboriginal citizens face in obtaining quality healthcare is compelling and important.

~Dinty W. Moore

Third Place

“1000 Years” by Yen Nguyen, Age 16

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Tran Dai Nghia, Grade 10

 A fascinating historical look at the ancestors of the Vietnamese people, and how the members of the ancient Au Lac culture thwarted attempts at cultural obliteration to preserve their selves and their society.  An important bit of history still, sadly, relevant today.

~Dinty W. Moore

Small Writing for Peace logoIn Poetry

First Place

“A Pashtun Girl in Northern Pakistan” by Dashiell Yeatts-Lonske

Rockville, Maryland, United States

Richard Montgomery High School, Grade 10

This poem is deeply intelligent, with stanzas arranged in order of the daily calls to prayer. The writing is clear and unaffected and subtle in its irony and grief. The work of a real poet.

~David Mason

Second Place

“Milk and Honey” by Matthew Rice, Age 16

Buffalo Grove, Illinois, United States

Adlai E. Stevenson High School, Grade 11

The poem is vivid in its writing, with wonderfully specific touches about life in a divided land. The poet shows real structural intelligence in the movement between two columns of verse, and the verse itself is strong.

~David Mason

Third Place

“Shalom, Salaam” by John Vernaglia, Age 14

Medford, Massachusetts, United States

Cambridge Friends School, Grade 8

With its ironic formal symmetries, this poem simply and beautifully underlines the absurdity of a situation in which people who are culturally tied become enemies because of bigotry and mistrust.

~David Mason

Small Writing for Peace logoCongratulations to all the winners of our 2014 Young Writers Contest! First, second, and third place winners will receive cash prizes, as well as publication in our 2015 issue of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts. Author picture and bio pages will be added to our website as available. Contest finalists will be notified individually, and may be considered for future publication. All young writers will receive a certificate of participation.

  2014 Young Writers Contest Judges

Photo Credit: Nina Subin

Photo Credit: Nina Subin

Robin Black, Fiction

Robin Black’s story collection, If I loved you, I would tell you this, was published by Random House in 2010 to international acclaim by publications such as O. Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Irish Times and more.
Robin’s stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications including The Southern Review, The New York Times Magazine. One Story, The Georgia Review, Colorado Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Freight Stories, Indiana Review, and The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. I (Norton, 2007). She is the recipient of grants from the Leeway Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, the Sirenland Conference and is also the winner of the 2005 Pirate’s Alley Faulkner-Wisdom Writing Competition in the short story category. She was the 2012-13 Distinguished Visiting Writer at Bryn Mawr College and her first novel LIFE DRAWING is forthcoming from Random House, in Spring 2014. She lives in Philadelphia with her family. Website: http://robinblack.net/

Dinty W. Moore, Writing for Peace Adviser

Dinty W. Moore, Author, Educator, Editor

Dinty W. Moore, Nonfiction

Dinty W. Moore is author of The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life, as well as thememoir Between Panic & Desire, winner of the Grub Street Nonfiction Book Prize in 2009. He also edited The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction: Advice and Essential Exercises from Respected Writers, Editors, and Teachers. Moore has published essays and stories in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harpers, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, Gettysburg Review, Utne Reader, and Crazyhorse, among numerous other venues. A professor of nonfiction writing at Ohio University, Moore has won many awards for his writing, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction. He edits Brevity (http://brevitymag.com/), an online journal of flash nonfiction, and serves on the editorial boards of Creative Nonfiction and New Ohio Review. Links to work here: http://dintywmoore.comUpload/Insert /essays/

David mason, 2014 Writing for Peace Young Writers Poetry Contest JudgeDavid Mason, Poetry

David Mason’s books of poems include The Buried Houses (winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize), The Country I Remember (winner of the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award), and Arrivals. His verse novel, Ludlow, was published in 2007, and named best poetry book of the year by the Contemporary Poetry Review and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. It was also featured on the PBS News Hour. Author of a collection of essays, The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry, his memoir, News from the Village, appeared in 2010. A new collection of essays, Two Minds of a Western Poet, followed in 2011. Mason has also co-edited several textbooks and anthologies, including Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry, Rebel Angels: 25 Poets of the New Formalism, Twentieth Century American Poetry, and Twentieth Century American Poetics: Poets on the Art of Poetry. His poetry, prose and translations have appeared in such periodicals as The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Nation, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry, Agenda, Modern Poetry in Translation, The New Criterion, The Yale Review, The Hudson Review, The American Scholar, The Irish Times, and The Southern Review. Anthologies include Best American Poetry and others. He has also written the libretti for composer Lori Laitman’s opera of The Scarlet Letter and her oratorio, Vedem. He recently won the Thatcher Hoffman Smith Creativity in Motion Prize for the development of a new libretto. A former Fulbright Fellow to Greece, he serves as Poet Laureate of Colorado and teaches at Colorado College. For David Mason links, click here.

 

Copyright © 2014 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

My Mother’s Funeral, A Review by Robert Kostuck

Adriana Paramo, Writing for Peace AdviserMY MOTHER’S FUNERAL

by Adriana Páramo

CavanKerry Press, 2013, 258 pp., $21.00, ISBN 1-933880-39-2

A Review, by Robert Kostuck

In My Mother’s Funeral, Adriana Páramo slips between her mother Carmen’s life before children, her own childhood memories, and the present—wake, funeral, cremation. Woven into these personal experiences is an omnipresent Columbia: the open spaces of Mariquita, the squalid poverty of Medellín and Bogotá, rival drug gangs, politics, Catholicism, the Communist Party revisited.

Objectivity is difficult to achieve in a book-length essay; Ms. Páramo, however, succeeds admirably—she gently and firmly pieces together the tapestry of the mother and daughter relationship; readers will find common themes presented in even-handed and sometimes startling prose. Her writing is educational without being didactic; emotional without being sentimental.

Politics in Colombia were harsh in the 1950s. Her rarely-seen father, ‘Mr. B’, a cachiporro (liberal), seduces the innocent Carmen, and after the wedding rushes her away from her home—a few hours ahead of the godos (conservatives). First night together is spent in a whorehouse; for the remainder of the marriage Mr. B comes and goes as he pleases, impregnating Carmen and then vanishing for months or years at a time. At one point her sister Dalila acquires a partially-decomposed adult male human skeleton—courtesy of a ‘snatcher’, recommended by the nuns—and together sister and mother boil and clean the bones. Assembled, Dalila receives her coveted A+ in anatomy and the unnamed skeleton literally hangs around the house, a possible replacement for the missing Mr. B.

The baby of the family, Adriana curls up with her mother in the kitchen or in bed, listening to the stories of the world filtered through a tabletop radio: sports, agony aunties, soap operas, tangos, boleros; Carmen singing along with the radio, Adriana, watching her mother “morph into a woman”.

“Tal vez mañana puedas comprender / Que siempre fui sincera / Tal vez por alguien llegues a saber / Que todavia te quiero. Maybe later you might understand / That I was always sincere / Perhaps someone will help you see / That I still love you.”

Childhood for Adriana, is a combination of head-long curiosity and goofy naiveté. Carmen, and to a lesser extent, her sisters, guide and guard the young Adriana. Memory is selective; what Adriana shows us is how this mother shapes her daughters: strict, efficient, economical—she maintains a poor but tidy home and life for her children. Lessons by word or example are rarely repeated; they become the very fibers of her daughter’s body and personality. Toward the end of the memoir, Adriana writes,

“Our financial situation started to improve when we moved to Medellín, and Dalila, Amanda, and Ligia got secretarial jobs that required them to wear nylons, high heels, and modest suits. Eventually they began going back to school at night, but they never stopped working, never stopped rescuing Mom and their two younger sisters from the constant panic of uncertainty. I owe everything I am to the women in my family—to my sisters and Mom. Nobody else.”

This is the heart of the memoir: what a daughter learns from her mother: how to be a girl, how to become a woman; and when that mother begins to fade from autumn into winter, how to become her mother. When Carmen, beset by Alzheimer’s, visits Adriana the wife and mother at her new home in Alaska, she relates a story about her pregnancy with Adriana so at odds with the life lessons she’d imparted over the years that her daughter feels an urge to “. . . jump into the lake and sink slowly into its frigid waters.” The fantastic and heartbreaking revelation adds another thin, sharp layer to this complex mother and daughter relationship.

Returning to Colombia in torn jeans and a gypsy blouse, Adriana arrives at the wake, faces somber and seemingly more mature sisters and a brother. Funerals are holidays for the dead, a time when far-flung family reunite and wonder aloud what went right and what went wrong. Her sisters and brother are emotional but methodical—Adriana feels like the only one with an incomparable loss—the woman who as a child promised her mother that she would always remain her little girl. A few days stretches into a painful eternity, and when the siblings return home to divide Carmen’s possessions, Adriana is nostalgic, then practical:

“I imagine landing in Miami, trying to make it through customs with a fern, a plastic chair, a flyswatter, a river stone, and a broom, and I have to laugh at my childishness. I discard my mental list. Instead I take a pair of earrings that belonged to my grandmother, (. . .) a photo of the six women—my four sisters, Mom, and me—that my brother took the day I left Colombia; the locket with a photo of my daughter that Mom wore around her neck like an amulet. I also seize the printout of Mom’s last EKG, taken two days ago.

“(. . .) I don’t know this yet but in six years I will look at this EKG and realize that the ink is fading away and with it the only existing traces of Mom’s heartbeat. I’ll have it tattooed around my left bicep, much to my family’s dismay, so that her heartbeat and mine will always be together.”

My Mother’s Funeral is the literal translation of that EKG tattoo, spanning decades, continents, and lives; a heartbeat that remains long after we scan the final page and move on into the days to come.

Robert Kostuck, Writing For Peace Guest WriterRobert Kostuck graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Masters in Education. His published work appears in the Kenyon Review, Concho River Review, Zone 3, Tiferet: Literature, Art, and the Creative Spirit, Silk Road, and others.

Writing for Peace News

Onward Into 2014!

Last year brought growth and many exciting firsts for Writing For Peace. Here’s a brief overview of 2013:

In 2013 our Advisers continued to demonstrate a commitment to peace and the power of writing through their work, their inspirational blog posts, brilliant ideas such as Mary Carroll-Hackett’s educational Facebook page for young writers, MCH-What’s Going On? and Pilar Rodriguez Aranda’s efforts to reach Spanish speaking young writers by translating our 2014 contest guidelines. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Sam Hamill‘s new and revised translated collection of Chinese poetry, Crossing the Yellow River is being published by Tiger’s Bark Press. His Selected Poems (not yet titled) will be published by Lost Horse Press in September 2014.
  • Lorraine Currelley was selected as an Artist-in-Residence for the 2014 Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide (SPARC) and as a new member of the Pearls of Wisdom Storytellers. Her Poets Network & Exchange will publish their first poetry anthology in 2014.
  • Veronica Golos is working on a new book, Root Work: The Lost Writings of John Brown and Mary Day Brown. “Of course John Brown was a great abolitionist and so was his wife, Mary and she also had 13 children. I have Ghost Code poems and Runaway poems also in the book. This is a way to make history live again, to get inside it so to speak.”
  • Richard Krawiec supports a community of writers and activists through education and his ever expanding Jacar Press.
  •  Maija Rhee Devine spoke with young people in South Korea and the United States about her award-winning books, The Voices of Heaven and Long Walks on Short Days, her experiences as a young girl during the Korean War, and her work with Korean Comfort Women.
  • Dr. Margaret Flowers continues her peace and healthcare activism. She currently serves as Secretary of Health on the Green Shadow Cabinet. Her recent article, Major Social Transformation Is a Lot Closer Than You May Realize — How Do We Finish the Job?, is also co-written with Kevin Zeese, and published on AlterNet.
  • Adriana Paramo‘s new memoir, My Mother’s Funeral, explores the volatile relationship with her mother, and their love that defies cultural forces, Bogotá street violence, and Medellin drug lords.

This is just a sampling of the wonderful work all our advisers do. Please watch our blog for their posts, follow their work, and support the poets and authors whose writings and activism encourage a more thoughtful and peaceful world.

In 2014, we look forward to hearing from Board Member Andrea W. Doray, who recently returned from Nepal, and to continued growth – including the occasional review on our blog! On this first day of the New Year, we welcome guest writer, Robert Kostuck, who reviews Adriana Paramo’s memoir, My Mother’s Funeral.

Happy New Year, Writers for Peace! And thank you for your ongoing support!

 

Copyright © 2014 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012 Young Writers’ Contest Winners

On this special May Day, we are delighted to announce the winners for the 2012 Writing for Peace Young Writers’ Contest. The contest challenged writers, ages 13-19, to research and write in the voice of a character from another culture, digging beneath the surface to explore common humanity and universal themes. Young writers from all over the United States took up our short fiction challenge, and their stories reflected a broad spectrum of cultures. Our editors were amazed at the quality of work submitted across the board, but our three winners stood out in not only the beauty of their prose, but in their cultural insights.

Learn more about these talented young writers by clicking on their links (below).

 

Shadia Farah, 1st place 2012

Shadia Farah

First Place Winner

“A North Korean Perspective”

Shadia Farah, 11th grade, Brooklyn Technical High School New York
Our Fiction Judge, William Haywood Henderson, had this to say about Shadia’s short story: “A North Korean Perspective” is a sharp, intense glimpse into the personal consequences of living under a totalitarian regime. We’re left with haunting images—the blisters on a girl’s fingers as she practices her string instrument for an upcoming ceremony, a photo of a ballistic missile slowly fading on a computer screen, the beautiful dress the girl has hidden beneath her bed, a dress she feels compelled to destroy. Shadia Farah has beautifully evoked a girl’s struggles to contain her emotions, to do the right thing, to conform, and in that the story is universal. “The U.S.A. has its flaws, but those are minor scratches compared to the deep wounds of North Korea.” ~Shadia Farah  
Caroline Nawrocki, 2nd place 2012

Caroline Nawrocki

Second Place Winner

“Unparalleled Freedom”

Caroline Nawrocki, 10th grade, Germantown Academy, Pennsylvania

“There is something so nomadically beautiful about the Romani people that it seems like a crime for them to be oppressed as much as they are.  Awareness needs to be spread about their cause, and through the written word I hope that can be accomplished.”  ~Caroline Nawrocki

 

Tait Rutherford, 3rd Place 2012

Tait Rutherford

Third Place Winner

“Women are Women the World Over”

Tait Rutherford, 12th grade, Fort Collins High School, Colorado

 “Compassion is a beautiful thing, possibly the most beautiful thing in the world, especially when combined with initiative and ingenuity, and a will to create peace where none now exists.” ~Tait Rutherford

2012 Writing for Peace Young Writer’s Contest winners will receive $250 for first place, and $75 for second and third places.  You can read their award winning short fiction in our upcoming journal, DoveTales, appearing online on January 1st, 2013. General submission guidelines will be posted June 1st, as well as guidelines for the 2013 Writing for Peace Young Writers’ Contest.

Happy May Day, and Congratulations to all our 2012 Young Writers!

 

Copyright © 2012 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.