Congratulations to our 1st place Nonfiction winner Sherry Poff!

Sherry Poff won 1st place for Nonfiction in our Spring Writing Contest this year with her story “Experiencing Grace in the Year 2020.” Final Judge Rachel Landrum Crumble has this to say about her winning entry:

“This narrative is expertly conceived and rendered. The opening and closing scenes are as vivid as a movie. The sentence level composition is nearly flawless. The tone and voice add to the overall coherence and wisdom of this piece. The speaker is relatable and compassionate. [S]he does not sugarcoat the difficulties to arrive at a cheerful conclusion, but elicits insights from small gestures that bring us to the same conclusion as the author.”

Here is an excerpt from “Experiencing Grace in the Year 2020”:

In the week after the storm, teachers were allowed to visit our storm-ravaged classrooms and retrieve what we could. We showed up in masks, bearing boxes and Rubbermaid containers, reaching out for tentative hugs. We carried away folders, desk supplies, miscellaneous books dotted with water drops and insulation fibers, and never-to-be-forgotten images of our ruined spaces.  The containers we stowed in basements, extra bedrooms, empty corners, under tables and behind beds. We filled our cars’ trunks and borrowed space from relatives until we might have our own buildings again. The memories haunt us still. 

Sherry Poff writes in and around Ooltewah, Tennessee. She holds an M.A. in writing from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is member of the Chattanooga Writers’ Guild. Her work has appeared in various publications including Speckled Trout Review, Raconteur Review, Heart of Flesh, The Chattanooga Pulse and Artemis Journal and Number One.

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