Monthly Contest

The CWG Monthly Contest series for 2020-21 has concluded. We thank all of the members who submitted their work, all of the judges for their time and expertise. Congratulations on a great year of writing!

Our monthly contest series is free to members. Each month there is a new theme which is announced in the newsletter, in the Facebook group, and here on the website. Winners receive $25-, publishing on CWG website, publishing in the Chattanooga Pulse online magazine. Complete rules and email address for submissions are below:


Contest Winners!

Our theme for August’s contest was “Memories” and our winner is BeBe Lefkoff with her fiction story “Little White Mercies.” 

Bebe Lefkoff lives in Chattanooga with her husband, son, and a slightly demented killer Miniature Australian Shepherd.  She is a happily retired school teacher. Her books are available at Extasybooks.com or on Amazon under the nom de plum, Kandeis Lynne. You may also find her short stories on her website kandeislynne.com. Congratulations, Bebe!

Read “Little White Mercies” below

Our theme for July’s contest was “Redemption” and our winner is J. Lawrence Bateman with his fiction story “Fatherhood.” 

J. Lawrence Bateman is a previously unpublished writer who lives and works in Chattanooga. His hobbies include playing the cello, riding his bike, and trying to quit cigarettes. Congratulations, J. Lawrence!

Read the winning entry here:

Our theme for June’s contest was “Exploration” and our winner is Sherry Poff with her creative nonfiction piece, “Northeast.” 

Sherry Poff grew up in the hills of West Virginia. She now lives and writes in and around Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she interacts with a large group of students and family members. Sherry holds an MA in Writing from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is a member of the Chattanooga Writers’ Guild. She served as a board member for the CWG for six years. Her stories and poems have appeared in numerous online and print publications.  Sherry’s short poem “Resurrection,” published in Liquid Imagination, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Judge Ray Zimmerman has this to say about “Northeast”: Of all the entries, “Northeast” best matches the theme of “exploration.” It is a masterfully written travel journal. From Matsuo Basho to Bill Bryson, the travel journal is an honored and popular genre. Congratulations, Sherry! Read Sherry’s “Northeast” in the file below:

Our theme for May’s contest was “Renewal” and our winner is John C. Mannone with his poem, “Mourning Routine.” 

John C. Mannone has poems appearing in North Dakota QuarterlyLe MenteurBlue Fifth ReviewPoetry SouthBaltimore Review. A Jean Ritchie Fellowship winner in Appalachian literature (2017), he served as celebrity judge for the NFSPS (2018). His poetry won the Bloodroot award and Impressions of Appalachia Creative Arts Contest (2020). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. A physicist, John lives in Knoxville, Tennessee. Read more at http://jcmannone.wordpress.com and https://www.facebook.com/jcmannone.

Read John’s poem “Mourning Routine”

Our theme for April’s contest was “Camaraderie” and our winner is KB Ballentine with her poem, “Cherish the Treasure.” 

KB Ballentine’s seventh collection, Edge of the Echo, will launch May of 2021 with Iris Press. Her earlier books can be found with Blue Light Press, Middle Creek Publishing, and Celtic Cat Publishing. Published in Crab Orchard Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, among others, her work also appears in anthologies including In Plein Air (2017and Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace (2017).

Learn more at www.kbballentine.com. Congratulations, KB!

Our theme for March’s contest was “Endurance” and our winner is Karen H. Phillips with her poem, “Ode to a Vintage Coffee Table.” 

When she’s not hiking, reading, or chasing grandkids, Karen H. Phillips writes poetry and nonfiction.Her nonfiction has appeared in two devotionals for writers, as well as the anthology Project Keepsake. Karen’s poems have been published in two online journals, as well as the Chattanooga Writers Guild’s contest anthology. Congratulations, Karen!
Judge John C. Mannone had this to say about Karen’s poem: “Ode to a Vintage Coffee Table” is a delightful poem in the voice of its owner addressing the coffee table in praise of service for over sixty years clearly satisfying the theme of Endurance. Second person poems are not easy to pull off, but the author manages to do that well as the reader is taken on the adventure of the coffee table to a satisfying ending. Pablo Neruda, a master of the ode to every day things, would have been proud.”

Our theme for February’s contest was “Hope” and our judge was Finn Bille.

Out of 7 entries, our winner is KB Ballentine with her poem “March.” KB Ballentine’s seventh collection, Edge of the Echo, is scheduled to launch in the Spring of 2021 with Iris Press. Her earlier books can be found with Blue Light Press, Middle Creek Publishing, and Celtic Cat Publishing. Published in Crab Orchard Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, among others, her work also appears in anthologies including In Plein Air (2017and Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace (2017). Learn more at www.kbballentine.com. Congratulations, KB!

January 2021 theme was was “Uncertainty,” with judge, Ann Thornfield-Long.

Out of 11 entries, we have two winners and one Honorable Mention. Judge Ann Thronfield-Long had this to say about judging January’s submissions: Judging them was extremely difficult because each entry had at least one perfectly wrought image that took my breath away. We have some tremendous writers in this group and I am so happy to be among them and learn from each of you. Congratulations to all of you!

In poetry, our winner is John C. Mannone with his poem “Mother’s Secret.” John C. Mannone has poems appearing in North Dakota QuarterlyLe MenteurBlue Fifth ReviewPoetry SouthBaltimore Review. A Jean Ritchie Fellowship winner in Appalachian literature (2017), he served as celebrity judge for the NFSPS (2018). His poetry won Bloodroot’s award and Impressions of Appalachia Creative Arts Contest (2020). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. A retired physicist, John lives near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Blog: The Art of Poetry John on Facebook Winning entry: Mother’s Secret

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In prose, our winner is Calvin Beam with his fiction story, “The Least Expected Day.” Calvin Beam writes humorous fantasy and thriller stories from his home in Chattanooga. His short stories have appeared in five collections and have been recognized by the Chattanooga and Knoxville writers’ guilds. He is a former journalist and a past guild officer. Originally from Philadelphia, he finds the pace of Southern living suits him just fine.

An Honorable Mention goes to Vickie McEntire for her poem, “Embrace the Uncertainty.”

December’s theme was “Closure”

Ray Zimmerman won (for the second time!) for his creative non-fiction entry The Dance of Leaves. Ray Zimmerman began writing freelance journalism in 1988, He has since moved to poetry, creative nonfiction and back into freelance journalism. Links to published works appear on his web page: https://www.rayzimmermanauthor.com/. Congratulations, Ray!

November theme, “Tradition” with winners: Calvin Beam and Sherry Poff

Calvin Beam writes humorous fantasy and mystery stories from his home in Chattanooga. His short stories have appeared in two collections and have been recognized by the Chattanooga and Knoxville writers’ guilds. He is a former journalist and a past guild officer. Originally from Philadelphia, he now finds the pace of Southern living suits him just fine.

Sherry Poff grew up in the hills of West Virginia. She now lives and writes in and around Chattanooga, where she interacts with a large group of students and family members. Sherry is a longtime member of the Chattanooga Writers’ Guild. Her stories and poems have appeared recently in Liquid Imagination and Flash Nonfiction Food (Woodhall Press).

Judge: Chris Wood is a lease analyst by day, student by night, and writer in between. Chris was born in Florence, KY just across the river from Cincinnati and now lives in Tennessee with her husband and several fur babies. She works for a REIT company as a senior lease analyst and is the treasurer for the Chattanooga Writers’ Guild. She is also earning her bachelor’s degree and has poetry published in Poetry Quarterly, Three Line Poetry, Haiku Journal, and several other online publications. She won second prize in the 2016 CWG Spring Contest for her poem, Thus Your Life Grows, which is published in the 2016 CWG Anthology.


October theme “Afterlife” winners: Kelly Hanwright and Ray Zimmerman

Kelly Hanwright is a poet, teacher and dog trainer living in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. She creates art to help understand herself and her life. She shares it to help others find strategies to understand themselves and their lives. Work has appeared in The American Diversity Report, Abyss & Apex, Birmingham Arts Journal, Heart of Flesh Literary Journal. link: kellyhanwright.com

Ray Zimmerman began writing freelance journalism in 1988, He has since moved to poetry, creative nonfiction and back into freelance journalism. He seldom writes fiction, though “Life After Writing” is a fictional work. Links to published works appear on his web page: https://www.rayzimmermanauthor.com/

A special thank you to our judge, Calvin Beam, for helping us make this contest possible! Calvin writes humorous fantasy and mystery stories from his home in Chattanooga. His short stories have appeared in two collection and have been recognized by the Chattanooga and Knoxville writers’ guilds. He is a former journalist and a past guild officer. Originally from Philadelphia, he now finds the pace of Southern living suits him just fine.


September theme Compliance: winner Mark J Anderson with poem, Assimilation Or

Mark Anderson returned to college after a long career in carpentry and rediscovered his dormant artistic inclinations. He is currently president of the Chattanooga Writers’ Guild and a student at UTC majoring in English; Rhetoric and Professional Writing.

September’s judge: Kate Landers

Kate won the Gates-Thomas award for fiction in 2006, an SCBWI Honorable Mention for a children’s book in 2016, and 2nd place for both Fiction and Nonfiction in the 2017 CWG Spring Contest. She was a collaborator on the novel Esyld’s Awakening, and her work can be found in the 2017 and 2019 CWG Anthologies and at: http://www.KateLanders.com

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