Announcing the Winners of the 2016 Yemassee Writing Prizes

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists, and thanks to all who submitted!

Fiction: Derrick Martin-Campbell: “Space Heaters”
This is a riveting story about a daughter kidnapped by her own father--twice. The structure is rather ingenious, and makes the story not only about the daredevil plot, which is harrowing, but about the ways that families make myths and repeat them until those myths become a kind of destiny. “Space Heaters” wonders how it is that these local myths make us who we are, even though we barely understand them and will never know their entirety, since they begin before we are born. A soulful and emotionally defiant story by a writer whose talent I envy. — Claire Vaye Watkins


Katie Young Foster: "Alkali Lake"
Carlson Heath: "Marsland"
Micah Hicks: "The Bone Oven"
Lacey Rowland: "Atomic City"
Brandon Timm: "Acts of Affection"
Caleb True: "Blue Boy"
Curtis VanDonkelaar: "The Boy"
Cady Vishniac: "Move"
Alexander Weinstein: "Moksha"

Poetry: Marielle Prince: "So Dear Did This Stranger Become"
“So Dear Did This Stranger Become” has such affection for the world and its forms. It's the kind of statue only a poem could carve. It's also the kind of poem about poetry that makes me actually like poetry more rather than less, which is to say that it is truly about poetry and not only about the state of being a poet. I'm so grateful to this poem because it has its fancy cake and eats it, too--oh so carefully, thank you. Such a dainty and knowing anachronism. Such an unexpected, generous, formal invitation to the dance. — Catie Rosemurgy


Lindsay Bell: "Two Ghosts Trapped Inside Holy Water to Make Them Sleepy"
Canese Jarboe: "Blaze Starr Practicing Her 'Panther Girl' Act"
Rebecca Olander: "Seneca Deer"
Sara Renberg: "Being Good"
Kimberly Ann Southwick: "invertebrate origami, breaux bridge"
Cady Vishniac: "Sexually Transmitted Dishpan Hands"
Gail Waldstein: "brush"
Candace Wiley: "Qa'pla"
John Sibley Williams: "Before, and the Birds After"

Nonfiction: Caylin Capra-Thomas: "Three Things I Remember About Lady Chatterly's Lover"
“Three Things I Remember about Lady Chatterley’s Lover” lulls us with its seemingly offhand and quirky tone, as it slowly gathers electricity, and grapples toward profundity. (What a final line!) Via its carefully constructed sentences, keen eye for the sort of quickly-rendered perfect detail that evokes intricacy of place and intimacy of voice, and a beautiful conclusion that lards the reflective with a chilling humanity, “Three Things…” is a wonderfully rendered memoir of longing and isolation, and the ways in which the objects and codices that attend the phases in our lives can contain uncommon powers of delight and disquietude, hazy clues which, when sufficiently scratched and properly arranged, can provide us direction—however illusory—toward fresh methods of self-identification.” — Matthew Gavin Frank


"The Grateful Daughter" by H.E. Bilinksi
"Lineage" by Justin Carter
"Passing: An Elegy in VI Parts" by Naseem Jamnia
"Literary Figures of Arkansas: A Masculine Genealogy" by Woody Skinner
"Positive Identification" by Matt Young