Winning Writers Announces the Winners of the 31st Annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

NORTHAMPTON, Mass., Oct. 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Winning Writers is pleased to announce the results from its 31st annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest. Billie Kelpin of Newport Beach, California won the $3,000 first prize for fiction for her story “Sylvia”. Jennifer Tubbs of Lubbock, Texas won the $3,000 first prize for nonfiction for her essay “Reflections”. Both authors also received two-year gift certificates from the contest co-sponsor, Duotrope. 2,407 entries were received from around the world.

The enigmatic title character of “Sylvia” is a new student in the narrator’s evening class for deaf adults. As the teacher attempts to cope with Sylvia’s impact on the class dynamics, she discovers something shocking about the woman’s family history. Mina Manchester, final judge of the 2023 Fiction & Essay contest, said, “The surprise ending is a powerful punch to the gut…[raising] questions about what we owe others, and what we are entitled to in relationships, as well as what we can ask for and what we can’t.” Winning Writers has illustrated “Sylvia” with original art by Kimberly Edgar.

“Reflections” weaves together childhood memories both precious and painful, to bring an adult’s perspective to patterns of intergenerational trauma in the author’s family. Manchester said, “This braided essay is masterfully rendered, alternating between the past and present. Childhood innocence and abuse, deprivation, and structural racism and poverty are examined through the lens of perspective in this introspective piece.” Winning Writers has illustrated “Reflections” with original art by Maria Sweeney.

Ten Honorable Mentions of $300 went to Jules Dubel, Jen Knox, Janine Kovac, D.T. Lumpkin, G.H. Plaag, Blake Rong, Leslie Schwartz, Munroe Shearer, Sandi Sonnenfeld, and Mark Cecil Stevens. The top 12 entries and judge’s comments are published on the Winning Writers website.

The 32nd contest is open now through May 1, 2024. The prize pool has been increased from $9,000 to $10,000. The fee is $22 for each entry, maximum 6,000 words per piece. Mina Manchester returns as final judge, with screening assistance from Sarah Halper. See guidelines and enter online at

In addition to the Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest, Winning Writers sponsors the North Street Book Prize, the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest, and the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest (no fee). Writer’s Digest has named it one of the “101 Best Websites for Writers” (2023).

Media Contact:
Adam Cohen

SOURCE Winning Writers