2023 Annual Contest Winners

2023 Annual Writing Contest

In the spirit of our theme “Woven Pathways,” this year the contest featured 15 categories of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and art.

The contest received 177 submissions and was adjudicated by a team of 21 writing professionals. Each entry was scored by at least two judges with a composite score determining the rankings. The writing contest committee was led by Debbie White whose outstanding organizational skills kept us all going smoothly forward.

An anthology of the winning entries is available – more information is available at the bottom of this page and by clicking here.

Congratulations to Our Winners!

L to R – Writing Contest Committee Members Chris Allen, Evelyn Neil and Debbie White distributing writing contest awards at the 2023 SWW Annual Meeting on October 14, 2023.


Short Stories


1st Place                          Joe Cappello   They Only Showed Elvis from the Waist Up
2nd Place                        Roger Floyd                                                          Annabel
3rd Place                         Maralie Waterman                            The Man in the Truck
Honorable Mention      Lynne Sebastian                                               Retribution
Honorable Mention      Terence Cady               A Reunion at Hotel Meurice 1974


1st place                          Kimberly Rose                                        Here Be Dragons
2nd place                        Vanessa Foster                                               Secret Beach
3rd place                         Allen Herring 3                                               Wallflowers
Honorable Mention      Kathleen Holmes               The Man from Jalisco, Mexico


1st Place                          Jeff Otis                                                               The Gift
2nd Place                        Lisa Haneberg                  Welcome to the Neighborhood
3rd Place                         Judy Castleberry                                The Announcement
Honorable Mention      Carla Petree                         The Morality of Nuts is Nuts

Flash Fiction

1st Place                          Amy Purcell                  Arrivals & Departures
2nd Place                        Lyn Gullette                           Anonymous Gifts
3rd Place                         Jennifer Trotter              A Bicycle Conversation
Honorable Mention      Kathleen Holmes                             Kim’s Luck
Honorable Mention      Charlene Dietz                        The Dinner Hour

Contest winners who were present at the SWW Annual meeting showing off their award certificates.



1st Place                          Kathleen Holmes                                  The Dream
2nd Place                        Kathleen Holmes                                     The Icicle
3rd Place                         Lawrence Kilham          Always the Cactus Blooms


1st Place                          Betty McCreary                                   In Gratitude to Poetry
2nd Place                        Melanie Peak                         Halloween Babies are Special!
3rd Place                         Carla Petree                                                        X Memories
Honorable Mention      Jennifer Trotter                            Train Wrecks and Boxcars


1st Place                          Rose Marie Kern                                        Just Plain Selfish
2nd Place                        Rose Marie Kern                                            Garden Gripes
3rd Place                         Carol Rawie                                                  Economics 101

Winners not able to personally attend the meeting in Albuquerque learned of their awards while watching the zoom presentation. Following the ceremony the certificates and awards were sent by mail.

Non-Fiction Memoir


1st Place                          Patricia Walkow                          The Contemporary Car
2nd Place                        Carolyn Kilgus                                                  Heirloom
3rd Place                         Robin Cutler                          The Musty Smell of Books
Honorable Mention      Elaine Montague                                     Onslaught 2020
Honorable Mention      Kathleen Hessler                                      Precious Penny


1st Place                          Kathy Louise Schuit                                      Weightless
2nd Place                        Sally Rodgers                                                Special Cat
3rd Place                         Ruth Heidi Marshall               Requiem for Another Soul


1st Place                          Christopher Frechette                  Moroccan Epilogue
2nd Place                        Jennifer Trotter                             A Castle to Ourselves
3rd Place                         Charmayne Samuelson     6am Christmas Morning at the Grand Canyon

Opening Pages of a Novel


1st Place                          Maralie Waterman           Inspiration from the Ashes:A Christmas Tale
2nd Place                        Lynne Sebastian                                 One Last Cowboy Song
3rd Place                         Carol Potenza                                     Unmasked
Honorable Mention      Jonathan Miller                                 Rattlesnake Funeral


1st Place                          Robert Sheppe                                   Gyre
2nd Place                        Louise Bergen                                   Her Rogue’s Reform
3rd Place                         Lyn Gullette                                      Grizzly Streets
Honorable Mention      Amy Purcell                                       The Great Dying


1st Place                          T.K. Sheffield                                 Vintage Model
2nd Place                        Rose Marie Kern                           The Art of Vengeance
3rd Place                         George McFall                               Bosque Moon
Honorable Mention      Jonathan Miller                            Hotel Carrizozo


1st Place                          John Crain                                                 Infinity Times Four
2nd Place                        Kathryn (K.L.) Wagoner                                Wayward Trail
3rd Place                         Carol Rawie                                                       Finding Earth
Honorable Mention      Joyce Hertzoff                                             Ride Into the Night


Artwork and photos submitted were not awarded placement. The only requirement for submission was relevance to the contest categories. Items submitted were voted upon by the SWW membership.


Woven Pathways              Kathy Louise Schuit


Princess                              Jasmine Tritten
Birch in Fall                       Brenda Cole
Victorian Romance           Rose Marie Kern

Woven Pathways

2023 SWW Annual Writing Contest Committee
Chair: Debbie White, Christina Allen, Evelyn Neil

These pieces were all winners in the 2023 SWW annual writing contest.  The contest theme “Woven Pathways ” is to encourage authors from all backgrounds and walks of life to participate, thereby enhancing the range of viewpoints and experiences portrayed.

Fourteen categories of prose, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction as well as art and photography are featured here. The Annual Writing Contest allows both new and seasoned writers to sharpen their skills by taking them out of their comfort zone. Most of the categories were reviewed by our team of experienced authors, but three categories were adjudicated by the membership at large.  All entries are submitted anonymously to the reviewers in order to retain impartiality during the contest.

Winners are listed here by category and place standing. Winners are also listed in the November 2023 issue of our newsletter, the SouthWest Sage, and in Woven Pathways, the 2023 Anthology of Winning Entries.


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