The 2018 Pinch Literary Awards

This year saw our greatest number of entries yet. Staff was thrilled by the quality of entries, and we thank everyone who entered. Congratulations to our winners! Scroll down to read their work.


Poetry (Judged by Maggie Smith)

Winner:  “Requiem" -  D.G. Geis

Runner Up:  "Female Pain, Origin Of" - Casey Patrick


Fiction (Judged by Carmen Maria Machado)

Winner:  “You Will Be Extraordinary" - Nicole Baute

First Runner Up: “My Eye Eye” — Lela Tredwell

Second Runner Up:  “Three Husbands" - Sheldon Costa


Creative Nonfiction (Judged by Andrea Jarrell)

Winner:  “What Accumulates" - Jackie Connelly

Runner Up:  “Sweating Bullets" - Jordan Thomas

The 2017 Pinch Literary Awards

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the 2017 Pinch Literary Awards.

Competition this year was especially intense, as we received our highest number of submissions yet. Thank you to all who entered, and congratulations to our winners! Scroll down to read their work.


Poetry (Judged by Amorak Huey)

Winner:  “What the War Was Not” — Kate Gaskin

First Runner Up:  “The Orange Grove” — Ronald Dzerigian

Second Runner Up:  “There is No Such Thing As Trespass” — John Sibley Williams


Fiction (Judged by Caitlin Horrocks)

Winner:  “The Replacement Wife” — Blair Hurley

First Runner Up: “The Alchemist's Teeth” — Sam Martone

Second Runner Up:  “Soldier’s Joy” — Marlene Zadig


Creative Nonfiction (Judged by Jill Talbot)

Winner:  “All These Apocalypses” — Eliza Smith

First Runner Up:  “Southern Hafu” — Cumi Ikeda

Second Runner Up:  “Sock it to Me” — Beth Roddy

The 2016 Pinch Literary Award Winners

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the 2016 Pinch Literary Awards.

We had an unprecedented number of entries presenting our judges with a challenging decision. Thank you to all who entered and congratulations to our winners! Scroll down to read their work.

Poetry (Judged by Alex Lemon)

Winner:  "Hymn"    John McCarthy

First Runner Up:  "Lithomancy"     Chelsea Wagenaar
Second Runner Up:  "Pastoral"    Jocelyn Casey-Whiteman


Fiction (Judged by Leslie Pietrzyk)

Winner:  "Goshen Pass"  –  Michael Alessi

First Runner Up:  "Clown Brain Tea"  –  Sarah Hulyk Maxwell
Second Runner Up:  "Takes Dying Animals"  –  Brittany Bronson


Creative Nonfiction (Judged by Nicole Hardy)

Winner:  "Shakedown"   Amy J. E. MacKenzie

First Runner Up:  "Marrying Absurd"  –  Anna Leahy
Second Runner Up:  "The Khan Rules"  –  Eugenia Kim

The 2015 Pinch Literary Award Winners

Poetry (Judged by Ada Limón)

“Why Birds” – Jennifer Givhan

Runners Up:
“Imitate Inanimate” - Brandon Rushton
“Doe Season in Braxton County, West Virginia” - Isabelle Shepherd


Fiction (Judged by David James Poissant)

"Happy You're Here" - Molly Reid

Runners Up:
"Bird Fever" – Robert Johnson
“Uncle Bob" – Caleb Tankersley


Creative Nonfiction (Judged by Lia Purpura)

"The Great Middle" - Nina Yun

Runners Up: 
"The Stuff We Don't Say" - Elizabeth Moller
"One Hand Googling" - Beth Roddy

2014 Summer Audio Contest

Annie Christain, assistant professor of Composition and ESOL at SUNY Cobleskill, is an English PhD graduate from the University of South Dakota.  Her poems have been published in in Seneca Review, The Chariton Review, and The Lifted Brow, among others. She is a three-year recipient of the Gladys Hasse Poetry Award, and she received the 2007 and 2008 Jerry Bradley Award for Creative Writing, the grand prize of the 2013 Hart Crane Memorial Poetry Contest, and the 2013 Greg Grummer Poetry Award. 

Jason Chonin is an award-winning electroacoustic composer and audio engineer from Miami, Florida who has sound editing credits on many short films.  His areas of expertise are sound dynamics, post production, multimedia audio, audio electronics, live sound production, and session recording.  Also specializing in literature, writing, and ESOL, Chonin has taught in South Korea, the Republic of Georgia, Thailand, and China and has written album and music reviews for FSView. 

Terry Stone is a musician/songwriter from London who has experience teaching English in England, Taiwan, South Korea, Italy, Indonesia, and China. While in South Korea, he studied and performed pansori and sijo (Korean singing and drumming) for two years with Mr. Go Doo Sug.  Stone is currently recording with a wide variety of musicians and ensembles including members of the Surabaya Symphony Orchestra, Raast Collective (London), Escola Cultural Zungu Capoeira, the instrument inventor/builder Bart Hopkins, and trombonist Alan Tomlinson.

The text version of “All the Host of Them” by Annie Christain appears in the Feb. 2011 issue of The Seventh Quarry, published in Swansea, Wales and edited by Peter Thabit Jones.  The poem was inspired by Genesis 2:1 “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them,” a phrase that some interpret to mean non-human intelligent life (angels and fallen angels).  In the poem, a visitor and homeowner are being terrorized in a house that has been taken over by malevolent entities.  Terry Stone’s spoken word is based on his recurring dream of being a voyeur sneaking around a thousand-room house, and Jason Chonin’s music brings to mind tiptoeing, hands touching high voltage electric fences, and a homeowner playing the harp or piano while Terry Stone watches, undetected.





The 2014 Pinch Literary Award Winners

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the 2014 Pinch Literary Awards in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

We’re always amazed by the quality (and sheer number) of entries in each category, and this year was no exception. As in previous contests, we were also lucky enough to have three stellar authors as our guest judges: George Singleton, Adam Clay, and Lee Martin. 

Below you’ll find the full list of winning pieces, as well as additional information about these talented authors. First-place winners will appear in the Spring 2015 issue of The Pinch. Others may also appear in the journal (or as web features available early online). Stay tuned to see. Congratulations to our winners, and a huge thanks to all of the writers who submitted!



Winner: Mark Wagenaar, “Shake & Bake Blues (Midwest Blues)”

First Runner Up:  Michael Lavers, “Night Feeding”

Second Runner Up:  Michael Mlekoday, “I Think I’m Almost Ready to See the Ocean”



Winner: Emily Verona, “Care”

First Runner Up: Louise Marburg, “Far Away to a Nowhere Place”

Second Runner Up: Shannon Sweetnam, “I, Ester”



Winner: Sarah Viren, “My Murderer’s Futon”

First Runner Up: Jeffrey Schneider, “Tableland”

Second Runner Up: Julie Marie Wade, “The Regulars”






Mark Wagenaar is the 2013 winner of the James Wright Poetry Prize, the Yellowwood Poetry Prize, and the Poetry International Prize. He is the 2014 Summer Poet in Residence at the University of Mississippi, and the author of Voodoo Inverso, the 2012 Pollak Prize Winner. Recent publications or acceptances include The New Yorker, Shenandoah, Missouri Review, and Washington Square. He and his wife, poet Chelsea Wagenaar, are doctoral fellows at the University of North Texas.



Emily Ruth Verona received her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Cinema Studies from The State University of New York at Purchase. Her work has been featured in Read. Learn. Write., Fifty Word Stories, The Toast, and Popmatters. She lives in New Jersey.






Sarah Viren is a writer and translator whose work has appeared in Fourth Genre, Diagram, the Massachusetts Review, and Wag’s Revue, among others. She is the managing editor of Autumn Hill Books, a translation press, and lives in West Texas with her dog, baby, and wife. She is currently at work on an essay collection about murder stories.