2019 Fourth Genre Steinberg contest winner!
This year’s contest judge, Brenda Miller, former editor of The Bellingham Review and co-author of the well-known Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining, and Publishing Creative Nonfiction, chose Marco Verdoni’s “When to Tell Someone You Went to Prison.”
Brenda said, about Marco’s essay (which will appear in the Winter 2020 issue of Fourth Genre), “In ‘When to Tell Someone You Went to Prison,’ we become privy to a life formed behind bars that bears little resemblance to our preconceptions. The author elegantly describes his experience from the perspective of release, his feeling that ‘I’m somehow always behind and that I’ll never catch up.’ His story is important and illuminating.”
Congratulations to the following, who were finalists for the 2019 contest:
Jo Hooste, “The Middle Way”
Daniel Rousseau, “Absent Joy”
May-lee Chai, “Broken Blossoms”
Carla Riccio, “Mall Girl”
Hila Ratzabi, “Future Blue”
Laura Bernstein-Machlay, “Sharp”
Miah Jeffra, “Trying to Shove Ourselves Back Together”
Kathryn Winograd, “Gravitational Waves”
Margie Sarsfield, “An In-Depth Study of an Ex-Boyfriend’s Dating Profile and Compatability Questions”
Arianne Zwartjes, “Notes on Bewilderment”
Molly Gallentine’s prize-winning essay, “Powder House,” published in the spring 2017 issue, has won a Pushcart Prize and will be published in the 2019 edition. Congratulations, Molly!
2018 Fourth Genre Steinberg Essay Contest winner: “Like a Shipwreck” by Erica Berry
Robin Hemley, this year’s contest judge, found Berry’s essay “smart and moving.” He went on: “This is a gorgeous braided essay on how we manage to preserve our selves and our histories in the face of global catastrophe. Set against the backdrop of World War Two and artist Marcel Duchamp carrying the history of his artmaking in miniature with him while on the run, the essay stitches together other elements and examples of catastrophe and preservation, from his/her own grandparents packing up their most precious belongings in advance of a wildfire encroaching upon their Montana home, to the self-conscious cataloguing of artists and writers. What I love about this essay is how confidently and subtly it builds a central metaphor that is finally about hope and resilience in the face of despair and loss. Likewise, the writer ends the essay on the perfect note, an accomplishment in itself.”
“Like a Shipwreck” will be the lead essay in Volume 21 Issue 1, for sale by subscription and at the 2019 AWP in Portland, and will also have essays by Michele Morano, Willow Curry, John Price, Arra Ross, Sean Ironman, Emily Weinstein, and others, as well as an essay by the late Tony Hoagland.
2017 Fourth Genre Steinberg Essay Contest winner: “Box Set” by Sue Burton
We’re very happy to announce Sue Burton’s “Box Set” as winner of the 2017 contest. Here’s what Faith Adiele (this year’s judge) had to say in choosing Burton’s essay:
“’Box Set’ is a beautiful argument for the lyric essay, demonstrating how the form marries poetry and inquiry to tackle important subject matter, both historic and contemporary, personal and political. The typography and title offer sly commentary on the institutional control exerted over women’s bodies recurring throughout history, while the formal patterning performs how the narrator’s life and work is haunted by unanswered family questions. The essay achieves orature, a masterfully woven tapestry of voices culled from letters, newspaper clippings, whispered rumor, family questions, personal testimony, legal documents, musings.”
“Box Set” will appear in Issue 20.1 in January, available at AWP in Tampa in April.
2016 contest winner and finalists
Molly Gallentine’s “Powder House” was selected by this year’s judge, Ned Stuckey-French, as the winner of the 2016 Fourth Genre Sternberg Essay prize. “Terminus,” by Wilfredo Pascual, was named runner-up. Both will be published in Volume 19.1 in January (and available @ AWP in DC).
“A Trial of Wearing Our Dead,” by Riley Bingham
“Ghosts in the Frame,” by Alysha Hoffa
“Etymology,” by Sandra Gail Lambert
“This American Life,” by Jennifer Lee
“Of Rimrocking Right,” by Dale Rigby
“Hot Dog Curry,” by A. Sandosharaj
“We Were…Us,” by Lia Woodall
“Eighty-Eight,” by Jessica Yen
Cate Hennessey’s “Beets” wins a Pushcart Prize …
Published in the fall of 2015 in issue 17.2, “Beets” has been selected by Pushcart editors for Pushcart Prize XLI: Best of the Small Presses, which will appear in cloth and trade paperback in November. We’re ecstatic for Cate!
Eight essays appearing in Fourth Genre this past year were listed as Notables in Best American Essays 2015! Congratulations to Amanda Giracca, Penny Guisinger, Robert Long Foreman, Judith Adkins, Patrick Mainelli, Patricia Park, Jill Christman, and David Naimon (whose “Third Ear” was also listed in Best American Travel Writing)!
2015 Fourth Genre Steinberg Essay Contest winner: “Ossification” by Kaitlyn Teer
We’re very happy to announce Kaitlyn Teer’s “Ossification” as winner of the 2015 contest. Here’s what Kate Carroll de Gutes (judge for this year’s contest) had to say in choosing Teer’s essay:
The narrative in “Ossification” really held me–skeletal and familial without being trite, it’s not just another grandparent narrative. I was surprised, even though the title should have alerted me, when I realized the section headers were actually the spinal markers, and I immediately read the entire piece again, mapping each section’s content to the bony prominences of their headers. I also liked–and I know Judith would have, too–the writer’s use of digression, from science catalogs to black ice to the continuity of standing at the sink doing dishes. Judith believed strongly in digression. “Ossification” does this beautifully. It spirals like a spine with scoliosis, twisting ’round until the reader has a full picture, but no answers to the mystery of the body, the heart, and the families that hold both.
“Ossification” will appear in Issue 18.1 in January 2016, alongside essays by Julie Marie Wade and Denise Duhamel, Jacob Appel, Katherine Standefer, and others.
Issue 17.1 of Fourth Genre features the winning essay from the 2014 contest by David Zoby, along with essays by Beth Richards, Dawn S. Davies, Patrick Madden, Robin Silbergleid, and many more. Individual copies were available at AWP 2015 in Minneapolis. Information on subscribing to Fourth Genre can be found here. You may read this issue via Project Muse (if you have access), purchase individual essays here, or buy an individual print-on-demand copy here.
Fourth Genre Pushcart Nominees 2015
We are excited to announce our nominations for Pushcart 2015:
Patrick Madden, “Spit”
Liz Falvey, “Ultimate Gifts”
Gary Garvin, “Above the Rooftops of Paris, a Non-memoir”
Stephen D. Gutierrez, “Hopper at the Train Yard”
Brandel France de Bravo, “Transutopia”
Dawn S. Davies, “Pie”