Rochester Writers Announces Spring Contest Winners

Best of Show

RWC LOGORochester Writers announces the winners of the 2013 writing contest. Best of Show goes to Steven R. Roberts of Dearborn, MI for his First Page entry titled Brothers Popovic. Rochester Media sponsors the contest and their staff selects the Best of Show Award. “The author’s use of descriptive language brings vivid imagery to mind and draws the readers into the setting of the story. With just these few short paragraphs, the reader can empathize with the Croatian coal miner in the 1940’s. This novel’s introduction holds great promise and we eagerly await the completion of this book,” said Tom Gendich, owner of Rochester Media, located in Downtown Rochester, MI. Tom lives in Rochester Hills, MI.

The Contest

Three categories (poetry, micro fiction, and first page) brought in over 60 entries from around the state of Michigan, from nearby states and from Canada. Prizes were awarded for first, second and third places of each category, as well as a Best of Show award. Entries were subject to a modest $10 fee for up to three entries.

Margo LaGattuta Poetry Award

Penny Hackett-Evans from Rochester Hills, MI won the poetry category named after the local poet, Margo LaGattuta, who died in 2011. Here entry took first place. “Birdsong, Dawn, was filled with concrete images which I could really visualize as I was reading the poem. The poet examines this image from every possible angle and in the end I was moved by the last line, which seemed so apt in terms of happiness. Happiness deserts us, but it is comforting to know that like the bird, it will return,” said Kelly Fordon of Grosse Pointe, MI, who returned to judge this category for the second year in a row.

Second place went to Sue Lynn Yurick or Rockford, MI with her poem Don Quixote Ponders Wind Turbines. K. Michelle Moran of Harrison Township took third place last year. She has another third place winner with Family Secrets in Haiku, II this time.

Micro Fiction Award

English Instructor at Oakland Community College, Suba Subbarao, judged this category. She chose Mid-Knight by Brianne Bendel of Troy, MI. “The triumph of words is conveyed through a triumphant use of words. The effect is that of a prose-poem,” said Subbarao about the winning entry.

Entries into this category had to be in first person and tell a complete story in less than 400 words. Second place went to Roberta Brown of Royal Oak, MI for her piece titled My Mothers Stories and third place Boomerang went to Christina Woods of Tecumseh, Ontario.

First Page of a Novel Award

Per the contest rules, Steven R. Roberts and his first place entry, Brothers Popovic, were able to catch the attention of the judge, Sonya Julie, with 250 words or fewer. Julie a freelance writer from Oxford, MI, is also a returning judge. “Flowing and descriptive, this excerpt creates anticipation and draws the reader in with a skillful use of language. The strong beginning allows for a solid base on which to unravel the story. This is an excellent example of a sound establishment of characters, setting, and foreshadowing,” said Julie.

James Knoop of Eastpoine, MI takes home the second place award with his work, I Witness. Knoop is 72 years old and is currently working on two novels. Veronica Dale receives third place with her entry, Blood Seed. Dale, who lives in Macomb, MI, also won two prizes last year.

The Prizes

Nine cash prizes will go to the top three picks of each category. First place will receive $50, second place will receive $25 and third place will receive $10. Best of Show will receive free registration to either the spring or fall writers’ conference hosted by Rochester Writers.

Rochester Writers

A new contest will be announced at the Rochester Writers’ Spring Workshop with Stan Williams. The 18+ Secrets of Successful Story Structure Workshop for Screenwriters, Novelists, and other Writers of shorter works will be Saturday, April 5, 2014. Prizes and awards for the current contest will be presented at the event. Registration is $100 and includes a full day of workshops, lunch and refreshments.

The signature event, the Rochester Writers’ Conference, will be in October. This event draws over 100 attendees for a variety of workshops, panel discussions and lectures. Both events take place in Rochester at Oakland University. A call for sponsorship and speakers is going on now. Details and registration will begin in late spring.

About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at

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