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USU Creative Writing Contest Announces 2018 Winners

Monday, Mar. 12, 2018

Anne Lachmar’s “Flower Child”

Anne Lachmar's "Flower Child" received the Creative Writing Contest in the “Art” category.

The Utah State University Creative Writing Contest has named the winners in its 25th annual competition, recognizing the best creative work by USU students. Open to all USU undergraduate and graduate students from all departments and disciplines, the contest awards top writers of fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction, as well as visual artists in painting and photography. Each category received the blind review of expert judges drawn from the USU and Cache Valley arts community. 

The competition this year was very close, with the high quality of work making the judges’ work difficult.

“Reading strong student poetry that pulled me in with vivid imagery and emotional connection was an experience that once again proved to me the undeniable talent at USU,” said contest judge Mary Ellen Greenwood.

Judges from the other genres concurred. Judges Michael Sowder and Shay Larsen said that Nate Hardy’s winning nonfiction essay “impresses with exceptionally resonant writing, powerful imagery and the skillful unfolding of its linked narratives—juxtaposing violence with tenderness and an aesthetic appreciation of the world.” And fiction judge Brock Dethier especially liked that Vivian Gates’ story “‘Elizabeth’ is a rich, complex story without heroes that doesn’t pretend to offer easy solutions to the current plague of eating disorders…. The story ends in both loss and triumph.”

This is the second year the contest has partnered with USU’s new, international undergraduate literary journal, Sink Hollow. The winning entries will be published next month in a special contest issue, giving this work an international audience.

This year’s winners will also get the chance to share their work locally on April 26 when they will give a reading at Helicon West. 

“It’s always such a fun night when the winners read at Helicon,” said contest director, Charles Waugh. “It’s a time to celebrate not only the winning work, but also our whole, vibrant writing community here at USU and in Cache Valley.”

The Helicon West reading of the contest winning work will be held April 26 on the USU campus in Library 101 at 7 p.m.

2018 USU Creative Writing Contest Winners



  • First: Vivian Gates, Elizabeth
  • Second: Natalie Fjeldsted, Marble in the Rain
  • Third: Abby Stewart, Funeral Flowers


  • First: Nate Hardy, Value
  • Second: Chelsea Beck, Who
  • Third: Katrina Funk, Just a Sword


  • First: Donna Metzler, Kingdoms, Syntax, Still Life 
  • Second: Mark Smeltzer, Commonsensual
  • Third: Nicholas Renshaw, Heavymetalboy, Feather Earrings


  • First: Anne Lachmar, Flower Child
  • Second: Luke Lemmon, Liquid
  • Third: Anne Lachmar, Sophisticated Cat

Honorable Mentions 

  • Tambi Clark—Fandoms; Luke Lemmon—Cold War Shelter, Onyx Arms, Shadow, Tension; Anne Lachmar—Firework Pine, Scrap Metal 



  • First: Chris Davis, Dug
  • Second: Richard Blake, The Cavern of the Silver Moon


  • First: Peter Haugen, On Physics
  • Second: Keoki Kemp, The True Horror of St. Ann’s Retreat 
  • Third: Camila Sanabria, Armani


  • First: Camila Sanabria, A Sister's Burden, Hazel, Artemis
  • Second: Kathryn Christian, See Jane Run, The Lilies
  • Third: Julia Prince, Parable of Pig Tails, Synthetic, Lukewarm


  • First: Chris Davis, Ziggy

Honorable Mention 

  • Chris Davis, Redwood Fog, Pole, Blown Grass Sunset 

Contact: Charles Waugh,

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