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red-haired, smiling young man in a blue collared shirt

The Unknown Writing Contest Winner

By Jack Vandeleuv
5
Rated by Helen H.
May 18, 2022

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Jack Vandeleuv has won our writing contest on the theme of The Unknown with his piece "Exhibit."


Jack Vandeleuv is a longtime Kansas City resident and former employee of Johnson County Library. He has not yet published any works of fiction.


Exhibit


Natalie was uncharacteristically quiet. Her classmates stomped their feet in anticipation, but she was careful with each step, almost reverent. The hall was simply designed, with black marble walls and a high ceiling. Spherical chandeliers cast light on the sea of craning heads above

woman with blonde bangs and red lipstick

The Unknown Writing Contest Winner

By Claire McMurray
5
Rated by Helen H.
Apr 6, 2022

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Claire McMurray has won our essay writing contest on the theme of The Unknown with her piece "Who Is She?" 


Claire McMurray has a doctorate in French from Yale University and runs a blog about special needs parenting at: www.idontknowhowyoudoit.org.


Who Is She?


Most parents of a four-year-old know a good deal about their child—everything from favorite colors and television characters to deep-seated fears and hopes for the future. Yet I know none of these things about my four-year-old. She is our family’s mystery.


When JJ was

smiling woman with short, wavy brown hair

The Unknown Writing Contest Winner

By Molly Hopkins
5
Rated by Helen H.
Mar 17, 2022

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Molly Hopkins has won our short story writing contest on the theme of The Unknown with her piece "Kerplunk." 


Molly Hopkins is a feisty individual, who lives out adventures in her mind as there is little she can do with her body. Driven to writing due to a severe chronic illness, Molly finds purpose, intrigue, and joy in the world of her imagination and the art of storytelling. For more of her work, visit www.goldinthegray.com.


Kerplunk


I hear a warble, which isn’t too strange. I sometimes hear blurry noises when they are loud

Annie Newcomer.

The Unknown Writing Contest Winner

By Annie Newcomer
5
Rated by Helen H.
Feb 22, 2022

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Annie Newcomer has won our poetry writing contest on the theme of The Unknown with her piece "The Broken Plate: a Still Life." 


When we pause and wonder, I feel that we make better decisions for our world. It is easy to believe that the beauty of nature is invincible. But I believe it is tender and needs our care and not to be taken for granted. My nephew in Brooklyn, NYC created a beautiful collection of plates for my husband and self. Each is different and each is a work of art. When he gifted them to me, he was so excited to share that

Strawberry blonde woman in a sage green sweater seated in front of a piano between a toy rocket ship and art deco vace

The Unknown Writing Contest Winner

By Marcia Hurlow
5
Rated by Helen H.
Feb 15, 2022

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Marcia Hurlow has won our poetry writing contest on the theme of The Unknown with her piece "Lost on Callisto." 


Marcia L. Hurlow is the author of one full-length poetry collection, Anomie (winner of the Edges prize, WordTech Press) and five chapbooks. Her individual poems have appeared in Poetry, Chicago Review, Poetry Northwest, Nimrod, Poetry East, Main Street Rag, Poetry South, River Styx and The Beloit Journal, among others. She is a two-time winner of the Al Smith Fellowship for Poetry, and co-editor of Kansas City Voices.


LOST

Dec 17, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Dan Wikiera has won our Essay writing contest on the theme of The Fools Journey with his piece "I Am the Fool." 


Lifelong Kansas City resident. Lifelong reader. Lifelong writer. This is my first foray into public writing.


It started as a whisper. A vague notion. A desire to open my own business, be my own boss. Create something from nothing. The American ideal, like white picket fences and apple pie. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know what. Or that I didn’t have any experience. I had the desire, the work ethic. I was naïve.


I

Blond Woman in glasses and pendant necklace

The Fools Journey Writing Contest Winner

By Diana Richards
5
Rated by Helen H.
Nov 19, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Diana Richards has won our short story writing contest on the theme of The fools Journey with her piece "Cactus." 


I can't add to the millions of statements from would-be writers as to why I write, and my biography isn't all that unique either: retired, like to write, writing is hard, love the library.


Cactus


Perhaps it was a dream, she thought. Perhaps if she pinched herself, she would wake up. But she didn’t want to wake up. She wanted to stay in this dream world, where people said “Excuse me”, and “I’m sorry”, and “How are you”

red haired woman in green sweater with a black and white dog

Tails and Tales Writing Contest Winner

By Marcia Hurlow
5
Rated by Helen H.
Oct 13, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Marcia Hurlow has won our open category writing contest on the theme of Tails and Tales with her piece "Olfaction." 


Marcia L. Hurlow's first full-length collection of poetry, Anomie, won the Edges Prize. She also has five chapbooks. More than 400 of her individual poems have appeared in literary magazines, including Poetry, Chicago Review, River Styx, Poetry East, Nimrod, Poetry Northwest, Stand, Cold Mountain, Zone 3 and The Journal, among others. She is co-editor of Kansas City Voices.


Olfaction


I walk behind Lucky as he leaps

Sep 13, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Lauren Loya has won our essay writing contest on the theme of Tails and Tales with her piece "Call Me Cuttlefish." 


Lauren Loya is a graduate of the Literature, Language, and Writing program at the University of Kansas. Her work has been featured in Coal City Review. A Kansas City native, her favorite local haunts include the Green Lady Lounge, Stroud’s, Antioch Park, and many of the shops and eateries along 39th Street West.


You can read more of her work at https://draculauren.wordpress.com/.


Call Me Cuttlefish


She pressed the

Photo of Dr. Virginia Brackett

Bodies Writing Contest Winner

By Virginia Brackett
5
Rated by Jack V.
Feb 6, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Dr. Virginia Brackett has won our poetry writing contest on the theme of Bodies with her piece "Side Effects.”


Virginia Brackett’s 16 books have been cited by the New York Public Library; the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association; Tristate Books of Note; the American Library Association, Amelia Bloomer Project; and Booklist (Editor’s Choice, Reference Sources, 2008). Her 2019 memoir, In the Company of Patriots (Sunbury Press), focuses on her father’s death in the Korean Conflict and its effect on her family. She contributed the essay

Photo of Jacob Kittilstad

Reflections on Race Writing Contest Winner

By Jacob Kittilstad
5
Rated by Jack V.
Dec 8, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Jacob Kittilstad has won our short story contest on the theme of Reflections on Race with his piece "Milkshake."


Jacob Kittilstad has worked as a reporter in the North, the South, and the Midwest.


Milkshake


I drink a milkshake on my way home. It is the only thing I have eaten all day. The film drags down the back of my throat. I grunt to clear it on my way home.


I am not going home. I am going back to work. I tell myself that I am going home because it makes me happy. It makes me happier than saying I am going back to work.


I am

Photo of Marcia Hurlow

Reflections on Race Writing Contest Winner

By Marcia Hurlow
5
Rated by Jack V.
Oct 27, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Marcia Hurlow has won our poetry writing contest on the theme of Reflections on Race with her piece "DECONSTRUCTION.”


Marcia L. Hurlow's first full-length collection of poetry, Anomie, won the Edges Prize. She also has five chapbooks. More than 300 of her individual poems have appeared in literary magazines, including Poetry, Chicago Review, River Styx, Nimrod, Poetry Northwest, Stand, Cold Mountain, Zone 3 and The Journal, among others. Last year she received the Al Smith Fellowship for Poetry for the second time, and this year she will

Aug 6, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Nick Lopez has won our essay contest on the theme of Imagine Your Story with "I am a Coconut".


Nick Lopez is a Marine Corps veteran, who served from 2005-20013, and is currently a coordinator for veteran programs at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Headquarters in Kansas City, MO. He volunteers on the board of the Kansas City Veterans Writing Team, who sponsor and hold biannual writing workshops for veterans and their family members of. Nick has been published in "Veteran's Voices" and "Haiku Journal", and most recently his painting

Jul 12, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that John Adams has won our short story contest on the theme of Imagine Your Story with "Something in His "i"s".


John Adams (he/him/his) writes about teenage detectives, pelican-people, robo-butlers, and cursed cowboys. His publication history includes Australian Writers’ Centre, Bowery Gothic, Briefly Write, Dream of Shadows, Fat Cat Magazine, SERIAL Magazine, Siren’s Call, Trembling With Fear, Triangle Writers, and Weird Christmas (forthcoming: Paper Butterfly, peculiar, The Weird and Whatnot). His plays have been produced by Alphabet Soup

Jun 4, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Virginia Brackett has won our poetry contest on the theme of Imagine Your Story with "Six".


Virginia Brackett’s 16 books have been cited by the New York Public Library; the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association; Tristate Books of Note; the American Library Association, Amelia Bloomer Project; and Booklist (Editor’s Choice, Reference Sources, 2008). She has published many articles, stories, and blog entries for readers of all ages and her short story “Mrs. Cross” won in the fall 2018 Johnson County Library creative writing

Connection Writing Contest Winner

By Joel Holland
5
Rated by Helen H.
May 11, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Joel Holland has won our writing contest in the open category on the theme of Connection with "Contemplating Connection as Zimmer’s “Chasing Cornfields” Plays in my Bedroom."


Award-winning poet Joel Holland graduated from Union University in the spring of 2019. The oldest of four siblings, Joel was born in Salisbury, Maryland, spent a portion of his youth living in Tianjin, China, lived out much of his teenage years in Springfield, Tennessee, and is currently serving a church in Kansas City. Joel has been writing since he can remember and

May 11, 2020

All good children's stories are the same: young creature breaks rules, has incredible adventure, then returns home with the knowledge that aforementioned rules are there for a reason.


Of course, the actual message to the careful reader is: break rules as often as you can, because who the hell doesn't want to have an adventure?


― Brian K. Vaughan, Saga, Vol. 3


The largest population of orphans anywhere in the world is within the pages of children's books. This Barnes & Noble article gives a nice list of some of the most familiar: Little Orphan Annie, Anne (of Green Gables)

Connections Writing Contest Winner

By Martha Gershun
5
Rated by Helen H.
Apr 13, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Martha Gershun has won our Essay writing contest on the theme of Connection with "Emma Goldman's Amber Necklace."


Martha Gershun is a writer living in Fairway, KS. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, the New Yorker, Kveller, SELF magazine, and The Kansas City Star. She is currently working on her second book, with co-author John Lantos, MD, based on her experience donating a kidney at the Mayo Clinic to a woman she read about in the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle. It will be published by Cornell University Press later this year

Connection Writing Contest Winner

By Annie Newcomer
5
Rated by Helen H.
Feb 25, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Annie Newcomer has won our Poetry writing contest on the theme of Connection with "Acushla."


Annie Newcomer lives in Prairie Village with David, her husband of forty years and their daughter's Aussiedoodle, Summit. Her first published piece, "My Red Shoes" was about how her sister Patty's death affected her, then a young child herself. Patty suffered in life with severe cerebral palsy. She was a blessing and an angel.


Acushla


Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there

Dec 19, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that LeAnne Hansen has won our Essay writing contest on the theme of Unlocking the Mind with "Thoughts of Grief and Healing."


LeAnne Hansen is a mother, community volunteer, speaker, and world traveler. Her time in India, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Thailand, Vietnam, and numerous other countries have taught her to look for and value those experiences that are common to the human condition, especially as we seek to heal the divisions in our own families, communities and country. A lifelong writer, reader, and lover of libraries

Nov 8, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Kent Moore has won our Short Story writing contest on the theme of Unlocking the Mind with "The Corbomite Maneuver".


Kent Moore is a Senior Strategist for Physician Payment at the American Academy of Family Physicians, where he also serves as a contributing editor to one of its journals, FPM. He's also written for Humanities, the magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities. An earlier short story, "Rooted and Grounded in Love," won the Open Category of the Johnson County Library's Many in One writing contest and is available on

Oct 22, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Mary Silwance has won our poetry writing contest on the theme of Unlocking the Mind with "Remembering." Read the poem below or see the original (PDF).


Originally from Egypt, Mary Silwance lives in Kansas City. An environmental activist and speaker, award winning poet, mother and farmhand, she is a member of the Kansas City Writers Group and serves on the editorial teams of Kansas City Voices and Konza Journal. Her work appears in numerous publications including Descansos, Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity, Sequestrum

Sep 29, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Andy Rowe has won our writing contest in the Open Category on the theme of A Universe of Stories with "Heinlein and Burroughs".


Andy Rowe has enjoyed a 25-year career as an instructional designer and business trainer. He is also an award-winning business trainer, who has delivered some 900 presentations and seminars to over 50,000 people.


“You see the work of the instructional designer whenever you attend a training session,” says Andy. “There are manuals, assessments, activities, facilitator notes, PowerPoint slides. It’s the job of

Sep 22, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Duane Johnson has won our writing contest in the Open Category on the theme of A Universe of Stories with "One Small Step".


The author is a retired journalist, who now primarily writes poetry. He has published one volume of poetry, “Evolution’s Promise: Meditations of a Magical Thinker,” and is working on two other volumes of poetry. He also has published a novel, “Herald of the Resurrection.” Both "Herald" and "Evolution's Promise" can be found on Amazon. He lives in Topeka, Kan., and is married to a social worker. They have two grown

Sep 15, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Brian Daldorph has won our writing contest in the Open category on the theme of A Universe of Stories with "Wasps".


Brian Daldorph teaches at the University of Kansas and Douglas County Jail. He edits Coal City Review.


Wasps


I’m sitting in a café with one of the great storytellers of the modern world, the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami.  In jeans and a red Southern Comfort sweatshirt, Murakami is short and trim, with the deep calm look of a man who could sit cross-legged on a mountaintop and write, in neat kanji, 5000 words a

Aug 28, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Martha Gershun has won our essay writing contest on the theme of A Universe of Stories with "The Hatch".


Martha Gershun is a retired non-profit executive. Her first book, Care & Custody: A Novel of Three Children at RIsk, tells the story of siblings caught up in the child welfare system. Her second book, The Radical Altruism of Organ Donation, co-written with Dr. John Lantos, will be published next year by Cornell University Press. Her published essays and academic articles can be found at www.marthagershun.com.


The Hatch


        

Aug 7, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Lori Stratton has won our essay writing contest on the theme of A Universe of Stories with "Johnny Cash".


Lori Stratton is an English teacher at Gardner Edgerton High School. Her husband is a middle school guidance counselor, and they have three young adult children and one grandchild. Lori also works for the National Education Association as a trustee for the Leaders for Just Schools initiative. Her writing can be found at Grown&Flown.com, at her personal blog, lorijstratton.com, and on her Medium account, @ljstratton50.


Johnny Cash

Jun 27, 2019

When I was a kid I wanted to be a robot psychologist when I grew up. I knew that Isaac Asimov’s robot stories were fiction, but I firmly believed that robots would one day be a part of our daily lives. It didn’t seem impossible that I could be like Dr. Susan Calvin, the robopsychologist featured in I, Robot, Asimov’s book of short stories.


The fact that I’m now grown up with no robots in sight, has not lessened my enthusiasm for the world Asimov created, from the Caves of Steel to Foundation, The Robots of Dawn to Foundation and Earth. I credit Asimov for beginning my lifelong fascination

May 11, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that David Lee Garrison has won the open category of our writing contest on the theme of BREAKING FREE with "Putting Killers Away".


Dr. David Lee Garrison (Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University) taught Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Kansas in 1978-79, and then at Wright State University until his retirement in 2009. He and his wife, Suzanne Kelly-Garrison, have residences in Oakwood, Ohio, and in Prairie Village, dividing their time between the two cities. Almost all of Suzanne’s family lives in Kansas; David has a cousin in Grandview

Breaking Free Writing Contest Winner

By Karin L. Frank
5
Rated by Helen H.
Apr 29, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Karin L. Frank has won the essay category of our writing contest on the theme of BREAKING FREE with "Nearly Me".


Karin L. Frank (@klfrank1 and karinlfrank.com) is an award-winning author. Nurtured by the fantasies and sciences of both coasts, she eventually settled on a farm in the Kansas City area. Her poems and stories have been published in a wide variety of venues both in the U.S.A. and abroad. Her first book of poems, A Meeting of Minds, is a collection of her science-based and science fiction-based poems. It is available through