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Jessamyn West writing awards announced

Winners have been announced for the 2018 Jessamyn West Creative Writing Contest, created by Napa Valley College Founding President Harry McPherson more than 40 years ago in honor of his wife, author Jessamyn West.

The winners were announced May 9 in a celebration on the NVC campus.

Nonfiction winners, judged by Napa Valley Register Editor Sean Scully, were "Pole Dancing," first prize, by Casey Strathdee; "Adios, Francisco," second prize, by Dina Corcoran; and "A Life Worth Living For," third prize, by Anna Le.

Fiction winners, judged by NVC English instructor Lakin Khan, were "To Feel Laughter," first prize, by Victoria Hagler; "Murder Census Account Act," second prize, by Sierra Smith; and "Dangerous Curves," third prize, by Robert Winters. Honorable mention went to Kevin Rebultan, for "Slow Dancing in the Shower."

Poetry winners, judged by Nan Cohen, poetry program director of the Napa Valley Writers' Conference, were "Urban Haiku News Chain Migration," first prize, by Dominic Tirglia; "Okay," second prize, by Maricar Dela Cruz; and "Change," third prize, by Enrique Lopez-Segura.

Art contest winners, judged by NVC Art History Professor Amanda Badgett and NVC Studio Arts instructor May Jong, were "Untitled," by Yesenia Avila-Cortez; and Linnea Carr, Gabe Narcisco and Nicolai Sholders, who earned honorable mentions.


High school winners

Winners of the 2018 Jessamyn West High School Writing Contest were selected from more than 60 submissions of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction from high schools across the Napa Valley Unified School District.

The winners were celebrated May 15 at the Napa Valley College McCarthy Library Community Room. 

Nonfiction winners, judged by NVC history professor James McGowan, were "I am a Ballerina," first prize, by Cameron Surh of Napa; "No Need for Perfection," second prize, by Tyler Lu of Napa; and "My Cup of Tea," third prize, by Violet McCaffrey-Pecher of Napa.

Fiction winners, judged by NVC English professor Denise Rosselli, were "Fairytale," first prize, by Malachite McEvoy of New Tech High; "Storm Brewing," second prize, by Jazmin Ayala-Ayala of Napa High; and "Bottles," third prize, by Gillian Votaw of New Tech High.

Poetry winners, judged by NVC English professor Aaron DiFranco, were "Laws," first prize, by Ava Moreci of Napa High; "So I Shall," second prize, by Gabriella Cavalli of Napa High; and "Bad Boys," third prize, by Katherine Tran of Napa High. Honorable Mention went to "The one who finally thought they could be loved," by Patricia Arriaga-Rivera of Napa High.


About Jessamyn West

Jessamyn West (1902-1984) wrote fiction, nonfiction, poetry, screenplays, and even an opera libretto. She is best known for her many short stories, which depict "rural American life without sentiment or over simplicity."

She was born in Indiana, received an A.B. from Whittier College and in the same year married Harry Maxwell McPherson. She pursued a doctoral degree until tuberculosis forced her to withdraw. And during her long, slow recovery, which was not expected, she began to write. In fact, she credit her near-fatal illness with giving her the courage to begin writing.

She wrote and published varied and prolific work throughout her lifetime, receiving both popular and critical acclaim. Her best known novel The Friendly Persuasion was made into a popular movie starring Gary Cooper and Anthony Perkins.