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Past WWPH Fiction and Poetry Awards


The 2013 Fiction award winner is Kathleen Wheaton’s Aliens and Other Stories, a collection of linked short stories that journeys into the hearts of exiles and expatriates near and far—their homes, their native families, their desires.

Robert Herschbach’s Loose Weather is the 2013 winner of The Jean Feldman Poetry Prize. Herschbach’s poems move with an “alchemical layering of imagery and thought,” the stealth of a forest animal, and an energy that is haunting.


The 2012 Fiction award winner is David Ebenbach’s Into the Wilderness, a collection of short stories about a wide variety of people finding their way as parents in a world where that enormous responsibility comes without a guidebook. Ebenbach’s first book of short stories, Between Camelots(University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), won the Drue Heinz Literature Prize. The Artist’s Torah, a non-fiction guide to the creative process through a Jewish spiritual lens, will be published by Cascade Books in 2013.

From North Avenue and Fells Point to the old mill towns in Pennsylvania’s Mon Valley, Umberto’s Night—the 2012 winner of The Jean Feldman Poetry Prize from the Washington Writers’ Publishing House—is Kathleen Hellen’s ghost-walk through the post-industrial landscape.

Hellen’s poems have appeared in numerous journals and were featured on WYPR’s The Signal. Her chapbook The Girl Who Loved Mothra was published in 2010 by Finishing Line Press. Hellen has received awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts, and the Appalachian Writers Association, as well as poetry prizes from the H.O.W. Journal,Washington Square Review, and the Thomas Merton Prize for Poetry of the Sacred. She lives in Baltimore.


The Color of My Soul by Melanie S. Hatter won the fiction prize. Living in Southwest Virginia in 1993, Kira Franklin begins to question her own culture when she pursues a story on a local Cherokee community raising money to reclaim ancestral lands. The Harper family is part of a long line of Cherokee leaders, and their knowledge and devotion to retaining their history make Kira long for a sense of self. But the history she knows about her own family&151;that her father fought and died in Vietnam&151;gets turned on its head when her mother announces that her father is alive and very different from the person Kira had imagined.

Bloodcoal & Honey, a poetry collection by Dan Gutstein, won the poetry prize. This collection, divided into three equal parts, explores themes of murder, love, and illness in phrasing that will startle and engage a variety of readers. E. Ethelbert Miller describes the poetry in this collection as “almost a film noir moment on the page.”


Right of Way, a short story collection by Andrew Wingfield, won the fiction prize and will be published on October 15, 2010. This collection takes place in Cleave Springs, a gentrifying neighborhood in the shadow of the nation’s capital. These insightful, humane, and beautifully crafted stories introduce us to the neighborhood’s dazzling variety of characters—long-time survivors and new arrivals, preservationists and visionaries, black people and white people—as they navigate the complexities of diversity and change, and strive to realize a comforting vision of home.

Words We Might One Day Say, a poetry collection by Holly Karapetkova, won the poetry prize and will also be published on October 15, 2010. The book ranges from prose poems to sonnets, using a variety of voices and experiences to portray love and loss, marriage and domesticity, parenting and motherhood. Many of the poems are inspired by folklore and myth, and many deal with the American author’s encounters with her adopted Bulgarian culture. The first poem in the collection, “The Woman Who Wanted a Child,” introduces the book’s themes by asking questions about the limits of motherhood, taking its cue from the mythological experience of metamorphosis.

For more information on WWPH’s annual fiction and poetry contests, visit our Submit Your Work page.