From Our Staff | December 09, 2014


By Michael Nye

After weeks of reading, passing, recommending, rereading, and more rereading, we’re proud to announce the winners of our 24th annual Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize. We received almost 3000 entries this year, and the quality of our finalists made this a very tough decision. I’d like to thank all of the writers who gave us the opportunity to read their work. Without further ado, here are our winners in all three genres:


Winner: Rachel Swearingen of Minneapolis, Minnesota, for “How to Walk on Water”


Robin Romm of Portland, Oregon, for “What to Expect”

Edward Hamlin of Boulder, Colorado, for “Indígena”

Dana Fitz Gale of Missoula, Montana, for “Leah, Lamb”


Winner: Alexandra Teague of Moscow, Idaho


Jennifer Barber of Brookline, Massachusetts

Miriam Bird Greenberg of Berkeley, California

Phillip B. Williams of Chicago, Illinois


Winner: Andrew Cohen of Portland, Oregon, for “Ronaldo”


Nicole Banas of Devon, Pennsylvania, for “Rash”

Nynke Passi of Fairfield, Iowa, for “Oom Ealse and the Swan”

Jeff Wasserboehr of Leverett, Massachusetts, for “Possess Stonewall”

In all three genres, we read all the work twice, getting our selections down to a group of semi-finalists in each category. Call it anywhere from two dozen to fifty, depending on the genre. Then we passed the manuscripts around again and discussed the pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses, and passed the work around again until we came to a decision. We were able to finish our reading and make our selection a little early this year in comparison to the past, and that’s really due to all the hard work of our staff. So, my thanks to everyone who made our contest a success this year: contest editor, Anne Barngrover, who was terrific in managing our her team and spreading the good word to get all these high-quality submissions. Also, Anne’s staff of readers and assistants were wonderful. Big thanks to Evelyn Somers, Brad Babendir, Chun Ye, Leanna Petronella, Angie Netro, Marek Makowski, Richard Miller, Chasity Hurd, Justine Reale, and Dedra Earl for all their help.

For over thirty-five years, the quality of our magazine has depended on the work writers send to us, and we think our Editors’ Prize issue is always one of our best. We frequently se the best of a writer’s work, and that makes the selection process a tremendous challenge. Which, of course, is what we want. Thank you to all the writers who entered our contest this year and trusted us with your work.

We’re making plans right now for our Editors’ Prize weekend, our annual spring reading and reception to honor the winners of the contest. Details will be forthcoming as soon as we lock down the date, but we’re aiming for dates in March or April. This Editors’ Prize issue, featuring our winners and selected finalists, will also be out in spring of 2015.

Congratulations to Rachel, Andrew, and Alexandra!

Follow Michael Nye on Twitter: @mpnye