Lincoln County High School Writing Contest

Winners Announced & Public Reading

Writers on the Edge is pleased to announce the winners of the 2009 Lincoln County High School Literary Contest. The competition drew over 400 entries from all over the county. The judges were Tim Sproul for poetry, Niki Price for nonfiction, and Dorothy Blackcrow Mack for fiction. The prizes are $100 for first place, $50 for second, and $25 for third. The winners are:

Judges: Dorothy Mack (fiction), Niki Price (nonfiction), Tim Sproul, (poetry)


1st Place:

"The Adventures of Zane D. Coalpepper & Associate," Kaitlyn Brown, Home school (Eddyville)

2nd Place:

"Red Nail Polish," Crystal Connor, Taft High School

3rd Place:

"Revealed and Unseen," Phoebe Horvath, Newport High School

3rd Place:

"Bike Cops and Cold Feet," Stephanie Herdeck, Newport High School.


1st Place:

"The Funeral," Phoebe Horvath, Newport High School

2nd Place:

"Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful," Karryn Kimball, Newport High School

3rd Place:

"A Walk in the Night," Dylan McDowell, Waldport High School


1st Place:

"My Dad's Stupid Stove," Xin Liang, Newport High School

2nd Place:

"Bette Davis Does Not Take Paralysis for an Answer," Hannah Gage, Newport High School

3rd Place:

"Molded," Justin Layton, Newport High School


Niki Price, judge for nonfiction:

First Place: "The Funeral" by Phoebe Horvath, NHS. This piece rose above the rest through its deft combination of heartfelt memories and straightforward description. The writer managed to leap forward and backward in time, which is not easy to do, and to paint a vivid picture of her beloved aunt in life, in sickness and in death.

Second Place: "Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful" by Karryn Kimball, NHS. I really enjoyed this vignette about a family vacation. The writer turned assumptions on their ear: she prefers an old RV to a new hotel room and the rain to the sunshine of Reno. She used straightforward adjectives and didn't spare time for introspection, which seemed just the right pace for a travelogue. The conclusion was deliberate and memorable: "I sat on the couch of my favorite motor home knowing that my hair would dry exceptionally soft."

Third Place: "A Walk in the Night" by Dylan McDowell, WHS. This writer took an interior journey while walking a real path through his hometown. I thought his descriptions of the ocean at night were particularly apt, and his observations about his neighbors were interesting, too. At its heart, this work was about navigating teenage life, a mixture of adult and child, which he smartly compares to the brackish waters of the estuary. Well done.

Tim Sproul, judge for poetry:

First Place: "My Dad's Stupid Stove," by Xin Liang, NHS. This engaging, deceptively deft poem enchants with it's adolescent pitch of complaint coupled with a tenderness that blooms like flame in the stove's belly with one simple admission..."and Ok, I admit/ the house is warm." The contrast between a litany of teen gripes and a closeness of narrator and father ("We go out into the woods...we have to carry the wood") announces a strong, honest voice. "My Dad's Stupid Stove — is anything but — Boring! Boring!!  Boring!!!"

Second Place: "Bette Davis Does Not Take Paralysis for an Answer," by Hannah Gage, NHS. A fascinating, almost-always-out-of-control poem, with a pitch perfect title, 'Bette Davis'" takes the infamously strong-willed actress and colors her with a complexity that careens vividly from movie to movie, book-ended by her defiant final years, reminding us how far a talented, determined woman can go.

Third Place: "Molded" by Justin Layton, NHS. Typical teenage soul searching is jumpstarted by one killer hook. "'I'll never end up as perfect as a sandwich from Subway." Great line.

Dorothy Blackcrow Mack, judge for fiction:

First Place: "The Adventures of Zane D. Coalpepper & Associate" by Kaitlyn Brown, Home School
This outrageous funny yarn is told with style and voice. Clarabelle van der Velde and her companion Zane D. Coalpepper get revenge on their teacher Mr. Phlopbaum by smoking out the Sarsaparilla Springs Grammar School-with consequences. It is a complete story, a Tom Sawyer-like spoof set in 1926, consistent in atmosphere, tone and style throughout.

Second Place: "Red Nail Polish" by Crystal Connor, THS. This experimental stream-of-consciousness story uses interwoven flashbacks and the device of red print to reveal the inner conflict, confusion and chagrin of Sami as she gradually recalls "the night before." The story is sophisticated and powerful, and the image of red nail polish works without the intrusion of red print.

Third Place Tie: "Revealed and Unseen" by Phoebe Horwath, NHS. In clear and simple prose this short story conveys a powerful emotional change. June's father, no longer around since her seventh birthday, returns four years later to show his new family his old home. June, hidden in her favorite tree, overhears them and recognizes her father below-with a new wife and daughter. The author does not gush but lets the starkness of the scene reveal June's anguish at losing her safety tree.

Third Place Tie: "Bike Cops and Cold Feet" by Stephanie Herdeck, NHS. In this slice-of-life vignette, Lawrence ditches his own graduation only to be caught and fined for speeding; after reflection he turns around and arrives just in time to give his class speech. Despite some awkward places, this story clearly shows character change.