Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Rocks Cry Out

Writing for Peace condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine and calls on all combatants, there and across this wounded globe, to lay down their weapons.

In every war, it is the innocents who suffer and pay the price for the hubris and greed of those in power. If you can help, here are some organizations seeking donations.

The events of this past week bring to mind Maya Angelou’s poem, “The Rock Cries Out to Us Today.”

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more.

Read Maya Angelou’s powerful poem here.

Learn more about Maya Angelou at




Abrazos Update

Dear Readers and Writers for Peace,

I want to thank you again for your patience. Our printer, McNaughton & Gunn, had estimated early December for completion of our journals due to the paper shortage. They actually exceeded that goal and had them printed by the end of November.

The journals shipped on November 29th via YRC Freight and were scheduled for delivery December 2nd. Needless to say, that did not happen. Today, the books were unloaded in a warehouse in Denver and I’ve been assured that they will arrive between 8am and noon tomorrow. We have a crew of volunteers lined up and are doing our best to get these beautiful books to you in time for the holidays.

If you would like to order additional copies through the website, please do that right away. There are still a few left, but not many. To order more than one, you’ll need to do that separately. This is due to a problem with the shipping charges. I apologize for the inconvenience. You can order additional books at

I hope you’ll find, when the Abrazos & Letters from the Self to the World arrives, that it was well worth the wait.

Thank you for your ongoing support of Writing for Peace, and for the many ways you make this world a better place.

Wishing you a peaceful holiday season,

Carmel Mawle
Writing for Peace President and Founder

Natalie Smith Parra Interviews Dr. Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

Natalie Smith Parra

We were deeply saddened to learn of the recent passing of Natalie Smith Parra. Although she declined the official title, we considered Natalie an adviser, mentor, and inspiration. Besides being a wonderful writer, Natalie was a tireless advocate for social justice and prisoners caught in the criminal justice system. Natalie was active behind the scenes in Writing for Peace, even serving as a judge in our Young Writers Contest as she underwent chemo. We are republishing here an interview she did with adviser Patricia Jabbeh Wesley. Natalie was a huge admirer of Dr. Wesley, reading all of her books and many other interviews and publications before putting together her thoughtful questions.

All of us at Writing for Peace send our deepest condolences to Natalie’s family. We will miss her very much.

An Interview with Dr. Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, by Natalie Smith Parra

“In my dream, I’m on the road, flying
Somewhere, stranded at an airport.
I’ve lost my car or lost the keys
In my lost purse
Or I’m in the airport security line
Without my passport, a lone traveler
without a country” 

--From “In My Dream”

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Ph.D.

Dr. Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Writing for Peace Adviser, is a poet, memoirist, and scholar, who was raised in Monrovia, Liberia, and fled her country’s civil war, arriving in her thirties as a refugee in the United States. She has been called one of the most prolific African poets of the 21st century. But her voice is also as American as a voice can be: the voice of the refugee, the displaced, the victim of violence, the immigrant. Her work is a call for peace, for justice, and is timely and essential in our current historical moment. Having to flee the Liberian civil war as a young mother has defined much of her work, and she knew if she survived that war, she would have to tell the story.

The works in her five poetry books play out on a world stage, both personal and universal, and immortalize the Liberian people’s suffering, and through their suffering, the suffering of refugees of the world, “…the simple ordinary world, where people are too ordinary to matter.”

Natalie: At what point in your life did you come to identify as a poet? Was it before or during the civil war? 

Dr. Wesley: Natalie, let me first thank you for this interview, for taking the time to work with me, and for your contribution to Writing for Peace. It is my honor and privilege to be interviewed by you.

I have been writing poetry since I was a child. That was long before the civil war which began when I was already in my early thirties and a mother of 3. Writing began for me early in my life before my teens, but by 14, I was already playing with the writing of short stories and poems. I wrote poetry and short stories from the beginning, but I was more drawn to poetry than to stories. I guess by the time I was a college student, it was clear that I could write poetry better than prose, and during the civil war, I turned more to poetry. I don’t know when others identified me as a poet, but my high school friends knew I was a poet because I wrote poems regularly for my high school newspaper. I wrote my graduating class song and class poem when we were graduating, and continued writing poetry and stories until the war.

Natalie: Why poetry?

Dr. Wesley: Poetry did not really come as a surprise, but I believe that I’m a better poet than a prose writer, first, because I think more in metaphors and images than in details. Another factor that forced me to turn to poetry was the Liberian civil war. When one has to be on the run, be under the constant threat of bombs falling from the skies or being tortured in a camp, poetry is the one genre that works. Poetry does not lend itself to the long details that prose requires, and therefore, it is easier to write poetry in such crisis as war. I realized during the war that poetry has the ability to capture vivid images, to abbreviate suffering and to employ tightness of language to say the same thing that a long story could capture. I therefore began writing poetry on the run, writing whatever horrific situation before us at that moment even as it happened, painfully capturing the horrors in metaphors and images in poetry. During this time, I also realized that with poetry, you can spare everyone the bloody details that prose uses. Poetry also saves the reader or the writer the pain of narration that prose needs by its use of imagery and figurative language. It was the painful experiences of the war my family and I endured, the urgency that war created as we were constantly on the run, and the profoundness of human violence and pain that helped me realize that poetry was the genre I needed to be both an artist and a witness without compromising the story at hand. The decision to use poetry as a medium empowered me to tell not only my own story, but the story of my people, those that were dying daily, the survivors, and the dead.

Natalie: Would you tell us who some of your favorite poets and major influences, both contemporary and past are? 

Dr. Wesley: I have too many favorite poets. My major influences are all within the African oral tradition, the stories my Iyeah (Grandmother) and Bai (Grandfather) told me from the Grebo tradition of storytelling, the oral narratives of our culture as Africans and the traditional dirges, songs, tales and fables. We are a deeply traditional people, so that tradition has influenced my poetics and my storytelling throughout my writing career. Besides, my father was a great motivating force and my first fan. It was his support that influenced whether I would become a writer or not.

Having made that clear, let me also say that there are writers that have helped shape my writing of poetry, and they are also important. I was drawn to writers like e.e. cummings, D. Lawrence, W. H. Auden, and to African poets like John Pepper Clark Bekederemo, Okot p’bitek, and from my country, Bai T. Moore. When I first discovered these authors, I was still in grade school, but there was something in their voices that moved me. Decades later on as I became a writer writing against war and about my own country’s war, I realized that these writers were war poets who cried out against injustice and war, and it was that that drew me without my knowing. But now, I was writing about my own country at war long after these writers influenced me. Most recently, I was drawn to Marie Howe’s use of couplet in her lines, couplets not in the traditional sense. I discovered her during my days in the doctoral program in Creative Writing, and from then on began to write these lines that are different from my first book. My second book’s use of couplets were patterned after her style of couplets. There are many other writers from the US, from around the world and Africa that have influenced me. But the foundation of my writing and what dictates how I arrange my lines, my thought, and the images that impress themselves on me is rooted in the rich African oral tradition I grew up on. Without this influence, I wouldn’t have become the voice that I am today.

Natalie: Do you have any favorite recently read novels? Short stories?

Dr. Wesley: I don’t have any favorite novels or short story collections. I’m currently reading a memoir, however, by a friend, Krystal Sital, and I love it. The book, Secrets We Kept: Three Women of Trinidad is an amazing book. I am often a reader of poetry more than of prose even though I love prose. In other words, Krystal’s book is a favorite, if there is a favorite prose book. As a poet, I read more poetry and have many favorite poetry books.

Natalie: Do you have any advice for young creatives living now as refugees, whether from war, poverty, or political or other violence? 

Dr. Wesley: What do you mean by “young creatives?” Do you mean creative writers or artists? I guess that is what you mean. Well, young writers, whether free or refugee, should continue to write wherever they are writing, and if they are not already writing, they should begin to experiment with writing. Being able to use art as a tool in such a difficult situation is so important because poets can be a “witness” to the violent, turbulence of war and trauma in their writing and help the world heal. They must keep on writing, exploring the problems of war and violence that keep them in their sad situation. Writing about your pain brings healing to the young artist and all those around even while keeping the stories of the dead and survivors alive.

Natalie: First (or most important) memory of your new home after fleeing Monrovia?

Dr. Wesley: None to speak of. I hate to talk about this issue at this point. When you lose all that you have ever worked for, lose family and friends, and are forced to flee your homeland where your mother, father, stepmother, all your siblings and distant relatives are still in the heat of bombs and rockets, when the country you fled is still in a bloody war and you’re worried your family will be wiped out, when you have lost country and your entire world, there is no important memory about your new home where you fled, no comfort in a new home that is strange to you, when you arrive destitute with only the clothes on the backs of you and your children and husband, and when you need strangers to feed you, to give you a place to live, that is not the memory you go to. This was our situation when we fled. A war destitute person who had so much and lost it to become a stranger in a distant land, no matter whether they already knew that land (since we were former graduate students in America from 1983-85), that memory is not comfortable enough to return to. I’m sorry about this, but I believe this question was necessary to help me say what I said.

Natalie: Do you have a most healing or comforting memory of home in Liberia? 

Dr. Wesley: Another difficult question. All of that memory involves my parents and family that were lost in the war or during the war or as a direct or indirect result of the war. I guess the only comforting memory is the time long before the Liberian civil war.

Natalie: I read your recent piece in Harvard Divinity, and I’d like to ask how your faith helped you to not only survive trauma, but thrive in the U.S. 

Dr. Wesley: Well, as stated in that essay, my faith was very important to my and my family’s survival. We are strong believers in God, and pray a lot. We believe that many of the miracles that helped save us from being killed happened because of God’s grace. So glad you asked the question. Many interviewers leave this aspect of our humanity out, and you brought it up. Yes, thank you, faith was the most important and most relevant to our survival. Without prayer, trust in God, the miracles God sent our way, we would not have survived.

Natalie: How did you make the decision to join the board of Writing for Peace? 

Dr. Wesley: This was a very easy decision because the work that Writing for Peace is doing is no different than what I have done for decades now. The use of writing as a tool in healing, finding peace and changing the world is something I have done in all of my books. So, the invitation to be a part was one of the best things that happened to me. I took no time in making that decision, and in fact, I felt so honored, I thought wow, this is such a blessing to meet others who think like you. I also have a blog (not very active now), but a very popular blog I started more than a decade ago called “Poetryforpeace,” therefore, I felt honored when I was asked to join the board. I am proud of all that is being done, and of writers like you who are making the difference. I have a lot to learn from Writing for Peace Advisers and writers though, and I am learning. It is a privilege to be a tiny voice in this powerful vision.

Natalie: Beside art, what is one concrete thing you think could really help bring peace to the world?

Dr. Wesley: I believe that voting for the leaders who have a heart for the world, who have traveled and understand how much damage powerful countries can do by poor leadership to the vulnerable people of the world is the next thing to using art to bring about peace.

Natalie: Do you have any writing projects in the works now?

Dr. Wesley: Yes. I have lots of writing projects I’m working on right now, some, I cannot yet talk about. I’m currently working on another book of poetry, a collection of stories that need lots of work, and I’m trying to get my memoir published and a children’s book published.

Alexis Bernaut Joins Sunday Live with Juniper Moon

Join us this Sunday, May 30 @ 6:00 pm7:00 pm, Mountain Time, when Sunday LIVE resumes with host Juniper Moon. We’re excited to welcome Alexis Bernaut!

Alexis Bernaut is a poet, translator, and musician, born in Paris in 1977.

His poetry has been published in several reviews and anthologies in France and abroad, and translated into English, Korean, Hebrew, and Romanian. In 2016, he was invited to the Seoul International Writers Festival. He is the translator of his late friend Sam Hamill, and Trinidadien novelist Earl Lovelace, among others. His first collection of poetry, Au matin suspendu, was published in December 2012. His latest book, Un miroir au coeur du brasier, was published in May 2020, and was shortlisted for the Prix Apollinaire Découverte awarded to younger poets.”

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 875 2664 6096
Passcode: 757763

Copyright © 2021 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.


Juniper Moon on tonight’s Sunday LIVE Guest, Ian Ramsey

Sunday LIVE Host Juniper Moon

One of the aspects I love about this reading series is the ability to learn more about the writer and how they move through the world, not only from what they share from the page.

This week’s guest has inspired me for years now—how he moves through the world and makes it a better place with not only his presence but what he does and offers others…

Ian Ramsey will read from his soon-to-be-published poetry manuscript “Hackable Animal,” and take us “around the world from Tokyo to Trinidad to Trujillo and wrestling with the inner dimensions of what it means to be a wild human being in the quickly disrupting/globalizing 21st century. Ecology. Climate Change. Wildfires. Technology. Activism. And lots of bears”.

Join us? Tonight, Sunday, March 28th, at 8pm ET/5pm PST. (Zoom link below.)

Ian Ramsey is a poet and educator based in Maine where he directs the Kauffmann Program for Environmental Writing and Wilderness Exploration. His writing has appeared in journals like, Off the Coast, High Desert Journal, Orion, Words & Images, and the Mountain Research Initiative. Ian, who holds an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop, has served as an artist-in-residence across North America and abroad, and he frequently collaborates with scientists internationally to communicate climate-change research in creative ways. He is an ultra-runner, sea kayak guide, and sponsored mountain athlete, and a founding board member of the non-profit Physiology First, which gives students leading-edge tools to manage anxiety and perform at a higher level. As a musician, he has been nominated for a Grammy and has shared the stage with Yoko Ono and Tony Trisha, among others. He is currently finishing a poetry manuscript, Hackable Animal, that will be published in 2022.

Join Sunday LIVE Reading Zoom Meeting at:

Meeting ID: 875 2664 6096   Passcode: 757763

Copyright © 2021 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Our Tenth Anniversary Year Opens with Poet Lauren Camp

Ten years ago, Writing for Peace began with an idea about the power of creative writing to spark empathy in the minds of both the reader and the writer. We challenged young writers to harness that power, and then began collecting work from writers all over the world in our literary journal, DoveTales. We’re celebrating during the month of January with 50% off all our books (while supplies last). Use the Promotion code, YEAR10.

Producer Juniper Moon hosts tonight’s Sunday LIVE.

Tonight, producer Juniper Moon welcomes poet Lauren Camp to our first Sunday LIVE of the New Year. “I’m looking forward to hearing what she decides to share with us tonight and to learn more about her and how she moves through the world,” says Juniper.

Poet Lauren Camp’s latest book is Took House (Tupelo Press, 2020).

Lauren Camp is the author of five books, most recently Took House (Tupelo Press, 2020), which Publishers Weekly calls a “stirring, original collection.” Her poems and interviews have appeared in Witness, Poet Lore, The Rumpus, DoveTales and other journals in the US and abroad. Honors include the Dorset Prize and the National Federation of Press Women Book Prize, and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award, the Housatonic Book Award and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. Her work has been recognized with fellowships from Black Earth Institute and the Taft-Nicholson Center. A visiting scholar/poet at the Mayo Clinic, this year she was selected to be one of 100 international artists for 100 Offerings of Peace. Her poems have been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, and Arabic.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 876 4923 8479
Passcode: 518544

Copyright © 2021 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Exciting News: Things Are Looking Up!

First, I want to say thank you, dear Writers for Peace. On Saturday, the continual state of shock and outrage of the last four years was replaced with hope. I’m grateful to everyone of you who marched and spoke out against countless horrors and injustices. Though you may have despaired, you never gave up on the democratic process. And, though we know full well that there is still work to be done, we can finally breathe a sigh of relief.  For us, at Writing for Peace, this is an opportunity to take stock of what we’ve accomplished in over nine years of literary activism. Together, we’ve grown tremendously.

I’m very excited to tell you about our latest good news. Adviser Robert Kostuck has agreed to take the position of DoveTales Editor-in-Chief. Many of you know Robert from his role as Guest Editor for our February DoveTales, Gardens in the Desert: Cultivating Awareness (available in print on December 1st). Robert also served as Chief Associate Editor for our Resistance DoveTales. He is an excellent editor, and it’s been a pleasure working with him on these books.

As a long-time member of our Panel of Advisers, Robert Kostuck believes strongly in our mission. In his words, “I feel driven to participate more fully with WFP and to embody and act upon the words of the mission statement: ‘Through education and creative writing, Writing for Peace seeks to cultivate the empathy that allows minds to open to new cultural views, to value the differences as well as the hopes and dreams that unite all of humanity, to develop a spirit of leadership and peaceful activism.’ I’ve come to realize that convictions must be put into practice, otherwise they are not convictions, but merely wishful thinking.”

Stay tuned for more good news in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, don’t miss this Sunday’s Live Reading when Robert Wrigley joins host Brad Wetzler. Be sure to invite your friends and family to join us for this special night, Sunday, November 15th, at 8pm ET.

Robert Wrigley’s most recent book is Box (Penguin, 2017).  A collection of essays, mostly on poetry, Nemerov’s Door, will be published next spring by Tupelo Press.  Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Idaho, he lives in the woods of northern Idaho, with his wife, the writer Kim Barnes.

Stay safe and keep on writing,

Carmel Mawle
President and Founder,
Writing for Peace

Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.





Live Reading Moves to Sundays with Brad Wetzler

Beginning, Sunday, October 18th, the Writing for Peace Live Reading Series (held previously every other Friday) moves to every Sunday at 8pm ET with host Brad Wetzler.  Author, journalist, and teacher Brad Wetzler has served as Guest Editor of the Resistance edition of DoveTales and as co-host of our Friday Live Readings. His vision takes our reading series to exciting new heights.

Says Brad, “My hope is to continue the Writing for Peace tradition of having strong representation by black writers, people of color, LGTBQ+, international writers, etc. Since we are living in challenging times both politically and personally, I hope to devote time to the issues of artists’ responsibilities to use their voices, as well as issues around writing process, and, of course, matters of using our art and voices to promote inner and world peace. I also hope to occasionally invite important voices from the spiritual community to discuss how we maintain inner peace and serve our fellow humans.”

His first show, on Sunday, October 18th, will feature author BK Loren to read both new and familiar work and discuss her views on a writer’s social responsibility and the path of the writer during difficult times. BK Loren is the author of Theft: A Novel and Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food.

Meeting ID: 828 9897 7722

On Sunday, October 25th, author David Gilbreath Barton will join us to read from his new book Havel: Unfinished Revolution, a biography of Vaclav Havel, Czech statesman, writer, and former political dissident, who served as the last President of Czechoslovakia from 1989 until the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1992 and then as the first President of the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003. David Gilbreath Barton is a Jungian psychotherapist, with 25 years of experience in working with dreams, myths, and the collective unconscious. He’s an Associate Professor of Humanities at Northern New Mexico College and the founder of The Salt Journal and the Salt Institute.

Meeting ID: 828 9897 7722

So, beginning October 18th, be sure to set aside an hour in your Sunday evenings to be enlightened and inspired with Brad Wetzler and his guests.

If you missed any of our readers, you can watch them in full here.

An Important Message from W4P President, Carmel Mawle

I would never presume to tell you how to vote. That said, November is sneaking up on us (like a Mack Truck), so this is a friendly reminder to make a plan now to get your votes in as early as possible. As writers, ink on a page is the beginning of endless possibilities. The same may be true of inking in the little blank boxes on your ballots. If you need help getting to the polls or mailing your ballots, there is help available. If you go to the polls in person, wear your masks and stay safe. Whatever happens after this election, we will still need your voice. Thanks for all you do.

Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Resistance Coming Soon, James Scott Smith Reading, and Robert Kostuck Reviews Water, Rocks and Trees

Resistance Available Soon!

After some technical difficulties and delays, the print edition of Resistance is nearly finished and will be available for purchase this coming weekend, September 12th. (Post has been updated to reflect changed date.) Thank you for your patience!

Friday Live with James Scott Smith

This Friday, September 4th, at 8pm ET, James Scott Smith will read from his books, The Expanse of All Things and Water, Rocks and Trees, published by Homebound Publications.You can find the Friday Live Zoom link at the end of this post.

James Scott Smith lives on a creek on the front range of the Colorado Rockies. Working at home for the last 15 years, James is co-founder of Tava Creative Studios. He reads and writes when he isn’t capturing images or fishing the waters of hidden canyons. His award winning collections of poetry include Water, Rocks and Trees and, The Expanse of All Things, published by Homebound Publications. Check out his website here.

Robert Kostuck’s Review of Water, Rocks and Trees, by James Scott Smith

Is it the passing of time? Or is it the realization that time has passed? We reach a certain age and glibly speak of the ‘downslope’ or the ‘other side of fifty’, assured momentarily that those who went before always left something behind. And then we realize we are living our own ‘leave behind’ moments. This is the mature poet’s self-administered task—to elucidate clearly those moments that of insight. The day-to-day, the commonplace, the ordinary, the seemingly repetitive motions and words. James Scott Smith teaches us to dig down, sit or stand still, and allow those moments to supersede everything else.

The wildflowers
are striving into October as
sunlight still conspires with the
soil, with the
hidden in dark places. (“Wildflowers” 1-5)

Standing ’mongst the dogs all
squint of eye and crane of neck until I named the
circling turkey buzzard speck of cumulus nimbus.
Such scavengers bring me pause. (“Sky Burial” 1-4)

The ease and excellent use of alliteration and rhyme throughout these poems highlights how they are meant to be read aloud. There is the hint of a melody, reminiscent of singing and songs, for after all poetry preceded writing and words were sung before they were written. Nothing worse than a lifeless poem reduced to mere ink and paper – or an electronic file; fortunately this work lifts from the page and takes life just where the pen or keyboard stops.

To the one who remembers Pangaea
to the soul dredged deep of a
land before God broke bread of it with
mighty works of root and cause to christen
the continents cast across the waters; be strong. (“Old Soul” 1-5)

Three black crows on
blue borne sky.
One with crust of
bread in beak.
Two with crust of
bread in eye.
I to hear the
matter speak. (“Crows” 1-8)

In last light
I walked to the creek
to throw a line and
breathe easy. I have
fished from tundra to
tidewater. I have stood
by still waters since
my first years. (“In Last Light” 1-8)

Also an accomplished nature photographer, James Scott Smith incorporates what he sees into his writing. These poems are about observing, interpreting, and translating the reality of the natural world. These are the magic tricks—simplifying a complex ecosystem into an intense gaze, and making the moment mean everything. That moment is like the hottest molecule at the heart of a star, unique and singular, yet surrounded by literally everything that makes it what it is.

for weed, it is scab on
wound. It binds, holds,
seeds, dies, feeds. Rising
against the blight of
propriety, joining the
ways of the killdeer (. . . .) (“Alfalfa” 4-11)

It is morning
and the fitful dreams are rinsing out into the
one reality within the seen things. (“Tenalach” 11-13)

Good writing comes from the inner imagination, worldly experience, or a combination of both. James Scott Smith reaches that sweet spot by attending to the outer world which will go on without us. The cycle of the seasons, the ballet of birth, life, and death—every moment unique, and spellbinding for those who can see clearly and return to tell the tale.

Robert Kostuck is an M.Ed. graduate from Northern Arizona University. Recently published fiction, essays, and reviews appear or are forthcoming in the anthologies Everywhere Stories, Vols. II and III, Manifest West, Vol. VI, and DoveTales Vols. IV—VII; and many print and online journals including Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Southwest Review, Louisiana Literature, Free State Review, Zone 3, Saint Ann’s Review, Bryant Literary Review, Concho River Review, Flyway: A Literary Review, Clackamas Literary Review, Silk Road, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Crab Creek Review, Takahē Magazine, Roanoke Review, EVENT, and Tiferet. He is currently working on short stories, essays, and novels. He lives near an ocean; his heart belongs to the Chihuahua and Sonora deserts, and certain parts of Nova Scotia.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 824 7550 9386
Passcode: 689879

Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

2020 Young Writers Contest Results

We are excited to announce the winners of our 2020 Young Writers Contest, a challenge designed to develop empathy in our future leaders and introduce emerging young voices from all over the world. Our Young Writers Contest requires a commitment to research and the craft of writing, as well as a willingness to challenge personal assumptions. Entries from nearly every continent exemplified this commitment, and many of our young writers are working in a second language. This year we have added a $200 award for our Grand Prize Winner. We welcome writers from Cambodia, Kenya, Nepal, Romania, and Brazil, joining other young writers from a total of 30 countries. It has been an honor and privilege to read their work.

Completing this challenge is no small achievement and this year we received a record number of outstanding entries. 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 with an invitation to continue refining your craft through our Friday Live Readings, Young Writer Resources, and Youth Summits. We hope you will take advantage of our more accessible DoveTales Literary Journal online, reading the work of contributors hailing from all over this beautiful globe.

Additionally, we would like to thank the teachers and mentors who encouraged their students to take our challenge, and then guided them to prepare their best work. We would also like to thank the many volunteer readers who made this contest possible.

Our Grand Prize Winner, as well as first, second and third place winners’ work will be published on August 1st, 2020 online in our “Resistance” themed edition of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, Guest Edited by Brad Wetzler. Finalists will be published here in our blog during the month of July.

2020 Young Writers Contest Winners

In Poetry~

First Place: Amy Liu from Warrington, Pennsylvania, United States, for “Confessions from Forgotten Fields.” Amy attends Central Bucks High School South and is in 11th Grade.

Second Place: Lauren Young from Stamford, Connecticut, United States, for “Burn.” Lauren attends Trinity Catholic High School and is in 12th Grade.

Third Place: Mariana Kovalik Silva from Curitiba, Brazil for “Tank Man.” Mariana attends Phillips Academy and is in 12th Grade.

Finalists: Giuliana Spanarelli from Fairfield, New Jersey, United States, for “I Am” and Adler Schultz from Newton, Massachusetts, United States, for “Thunder Over Warsaw.”

In Fiction~

First Place: Sofia Perez from Warwickshire, United Kingdom, for “The Atlas.” Sofia attends King’s Highschool for Girls and is in the 10th Grade.

Second Place: Maryam Muheeb from Lagos, Nigeria, for “Aster Street.” Maryam attends Livingstone Model College and is in 12th Grade.

Third Place: Lulu Griffin from La Grange, Illinois, United States, for “By the Light of a Lantern.” Lulu attends Lyons Township High School and is in 12th Grade.

Finalists: Sophia Fang from Sandiego, California, United States, for “Zongzi” and Karen Umeora from Jonesboro, Arkansas, United States, for “Beloved.”

In Nonfiction~

First Place: Aim Poonsornsiri, from Bangkok, Thailand for “Twisted Roots.” Aim attends Deerfield Academy and is in 11th Grade.

Second Place: Lydia Qin, from Los Angeles, California, United States, for “Silent Isolation.” Lydia attends North Hollywood High School and is in 10th Grade.

Third Place: Maxine Magtoto, from Pasig City, Philippines, for “Braving A New Frontier: The Case for Moroccan Linguistics.”  Maxine attends Brent International School Manila and is in 11th Grade.

Finalists: Se Eun Pak (Grade 10), South Korea, for “A Bloody Battle” and Seohyun Yoon (Grade 11), Virginia, United States, for “The Flower of Egypt.”

And the 2020 Grand Prize of $200 goes to…

Grand Prize Winner

Anya (Anna) Trofimova from London, United Kingdom, for her passionately astute poem “Observations Inspired by Rising Sea Levels.” Anna attends St. Paul’s Girls’ School and is in 10th Grade.

Congratulations to one and all!

Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.