Contest Winners

At the request of several high schools, the deadline for Category Seven entries for the 2010 William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition was extended to May 15.

In the interest of equality and fairness for all writers, therefore, we are extending the deadline for entries for all categories to May 15. Everything, electronic submissions and required hard copies and fees, must be in our hands by that date.  There will be no additional extensions.  Guidelines and entry forms
can be found on our web site.  If you have any difficulties downloading the entry form, e-mail us.

Also of note: Finalists in the competition (over 100) are entitled to 50% off Words & Music: A Literary Feast in New Orleans conference registration fees; competition winners are awarded free entry (in addition to the fabulous prizes and international recognition!) Many of our finalists have gone on to great success as a direct result of their entering and placing in this prestigious competition.

Get writing…


The Faulkner Society has been very successful at selecting finalists who meet the key competition guideline, “ready for publication,” and helping winners and finalists find agents and publishers. The proof lies in how many of our winners and finalists go on to be published and receive national recognition for their work. That’s 12 GOOD REASONS to enter this year’s Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition!

Robin Black

Robin Black, photographed by Marion Ettlinger, won the Society’s 2005 gold medal for Best Short Story. Her first story collection, If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, has been published by Random House, available in bookstores now. Robin will be a member of the faculty for Words & Music, 2010, leading a discussion, entitled: Late Bloomers.


Jane Satterfield, a superb writer who won the Faulkner Society’s Gold Medal for Best Essay in 2007 for her manuscript, The Crooked Track, expanded the essay into a full length memoir, which has now been published as Daughters of Empire: A Memoir of a Year in Britain and Beyond. A thoughtful and emotionally charged memoir of pilgrimage and transformation.


Rachel Stolzman, who was runner up in the novel category in 2005, has published her novel, The Sign for Drowning. Rachel, who was born in New York, grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Southern California and received her MFA in creative writing-fiction from Sarah Lawrence College.

C. Robert Holloway

C. Robert Holloway was a short list finalist for his novella, Wretched Excess, a series of nine linked short stories, in the 2009 Faulkner – Wisdom Competition. The book has been published and may be ordered through Faulkner House Books, (504) 586-1609. C. Robert, as he prefers to be called, has worked as a designer in films, TV, Commercials, Music Videos, Opera and Theatre.  His production design for Two Soldiers, the film based on a Faulkner short story, is credited for helping it win the 2004 Academy Award. The New Orleans premiere for the film was hosted by the Faulkner Society during Words & Music festivities. The Society will rescreen Two Soldiers at Words & Music, 2010. The screening will follow a discussion of Faulkner’s first novel, Soldiers’ Pay, a story of the trauma of re-entering American life upon returning from from WWI. C. Robert is a faculty member for Words & Music, 2010.

Linda Watanabe McFerrin

Linda Watanabe McFerrin, a past winner of the Katherine Ann Porter Prize for fiction and who was short listed for finalist in the 2007 competition for her novel Dead Love, has sold her book and it will be
published in the Fall by Stonebridge Press. Dead Love is a supernatural thriller that follows a cast of nefarious characters—both human and otherworldly—as they foul and foil one another’s plans and power plays in a conspiracy of global proportions. Linda, who teaches and leads workshops in fiction and creative non-fiction, is founder of Left Coast Writers. She will lead a workshop during Words & Music, 2010.

Rob Magnuson Smith won the Society’s Gold Medal for Novel in the 2004 competition for  his debut novel The Gravedigger.  The novel will be published by the University of New Orleans Press in September.  Rob was raised in England and Oregon. His short fiction appears or is forthcoming in Fiction International, Inkwell Magazine, The Greensboro Review, Notes from the Underground, and The Reader (UK).  He currently divides his time between San Francisco and Norwich, England, where he is the 2009 – 10 David Higham Scholar at the University of East Anglia. Rob will be a member of  the 2010 faculty for Words & Music.

Stewart O’Nan

Stewart O’Nan, whose debut novel Snow Angels won the Society first Gold Medal for Novel and who has since had 16 books of fiction published, including Names of the Dead and Prayers for the Living, says of Rob’s book:

 The Gravedigger is a wry, soulful glimpse of how one good but lonely man’s quiet existence is turned upside down by a late and unexpected love. Rob Magnuson Smith paints a funny, sad, gentle yet ferocious portrait of village life.


Susan Schoenberger, who won the gold medal for best novel in 2006 for her manuscript, Intercession, has sold her novel to Guidepost Books and is working on preparing the manuscript with her editor at the publishing house, Linda Guzzardi. The book is scheduled for publication in the Spring of 2011 under a new title: A Watershed Year. Susan has been a journalist since 1984 at various newspapers, including The Baltimore Sun and The Hartford Courant, where she now works as a part-time copy editor. Her articles and essays have appeared in many publications, most including in the Courant’s Sunday magazine. Her short stories have appeared in Inkwell and the Village Rambler. This is her first novel. Susan lives in West Hartford with her husband and three children.

Kellam signs contract!

Caroline Kellems, who runs a large coffee plantation and coffee export operation in Guatemala, has placed in the competition. In 2008, at Words & Music, a Literary Feast in New Orleans, Caroline was signed by literary agent Deborah Grosvenor, who has been a member of the Words & Music faculty since 1997, when the Society created the festival, and literary editor Pat Walsh of Macadam Cage expressed strong interest in purchasing her novel, The Coffee Diary. At Words & Music, 2009, the deal was concluded. Caroline is shown with Pat and Deborah signing the contract. The novel is expected to be published next year.

Kathleen George

Kathleen George, whose latest mystery novel is Odds, has been nominated for an Edgar Allen Poe Award, among the most prestigious of all writing prizes and the most prestigious prize for novels of mystery.  Kathy was first runner-up for the Faulkner Society’s gold medal for novel the first year we awarded a novel prize.  Stewart O’Nan won the prize that year.  Both of their careers have taken off since then. Ironically, they were
colleagues. Both were teaching at the University of Pittsburg at the time. Kathy still lives and teaches in Pittsburg and she has just learned that she will be editing the new anthology, Pittsburg Noir.  Kathy was a member of the 2009 faculty for Words & Music, participating in two round table discussions, “How to write a compelling mystery” and “Tough times inspire tough literature.”  Entertainment Weekly said in its review of Odds: “If anyone’s writing better police thrillers than George, I don’t know who it is.” Characters in the book include a pair of memorably determined children.

Randy Susan Meyers

Another Faulkner – Wisdom competition finalist, who also has a book focusing on two unforgettable children, Randy Susan Meyers has just published her novel, The Murderer’s Daughters, which is now available in bookstores and being favorably reviewed.

Joan Frank

Joan Frank, who has placed in the Society’s competition, has just published a new story collection, In Envy Country, which has won the 2010 Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction. The book was released this month by the University of Notre Dame Press. Joan is the author of the novels Miss Kansas City, winner of the Michigan Literary Fiction Award, and The Great Far Away, finalist for a Northern California Book Award in Fiction. Her first story collection, Boys Keep Being Born, was a finalist for both the Bay Area Book Reviewers’ Fiction Award and the Paterson Fiction Award. Her Authors’ Guild website,, offers more information.

Ellis Anderson

Ellis Anderson, who was first runner-up in the Society’s 2006 essay competition, expanded her essay to book length and it will be published in August by the University Press of Mississippi as Under Surge, Under Siege: The Odyssey of Bay St. Louis and Katrina. The book details her eye-witness account of Katrina’s fury and three years of the storm’s aftermath in her close-knit community.  Ellis will read and sign at our Katrina remembrance, Sunday, August 29. Ellis, a designer, musician, and civic activist, grew up in Charlotte, NC, then migrated to New Orleans in pursuit of her artistic muse, including the creation of original jewelry, which she sold in a Royal Street boutique. She resided in the French Quarter for two decades before moving full time to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1996. Writing has remained her primary passion and Anderson’s work has been published in various regional venues, including Southern Cultures.  Her essays have garnered several awards in addition to first place runner-up in the 2006 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition.  She was also the recipient of a Mississippi Arts Commission Fellowship for Literary Excellence (2007).

To order the books of Barb Johnson, Robin Black, C. Robert Holloway, Randy, Susan Meyers, Kathy George, Joan Frank, Rachel Stolzman, and Jane Satterfield, call Faulkner House Books at (504) 524-2940 or e-mail your order to Current paid Society members can purchase their books at a 10 per cent discount. Please mention that you have taken a new or renewed an existing membership since September 25, 2009, the beginning of our Faulkner Society calendar of events. You may pre-order the books of Linda, Rob, and Ellis in August.

Learn how to enter this year’s competion – CLICK HERE!

Awarded the ALIHOT (A Legend in His/Her Own Time) was accomplished author and scholar, John Biguenet. Read on to learn how you can learn from him!

John Biguenet is the author of Oyster, a novel, and The Torturer’s Apprentice: Stories, published by Ecco/HarperCollins in the U.S. and by Orion Books in the U.K.  His fiction is published in Hebrew translation by Matar Publishing Company in Tel Aviv, in French translation by Éditions Albin Michel in Paris, and in Dutch translation by Uitgeverij Ailantus in Amsterdam.  Among his other books are Foreign Fictions (Random House), two volumes on literary translation (The University of Chicago Press), and Strange Harbors, an anthology of international literature in translation (Center for the Art of Translation).  Biguenet’s radio play Wundmale, which premiered on Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Germany’s largest radio network, was rebroadcast by Österreichischer Rundfunk, the Austrian national radio and television network. Two of his stories have been featured in Selected Shorts at Symphony Space on Broadway.

The Vulgar Soul won the 2004 Southern New Plays Festival and was a featured production in 2005 at Southern Rep Theatre; he and the play were profiled in American Theatre magazine. Rising Water was the winner of the 2006 National New Play Network Commission Award, a 2006 National Showcase of New Plays selection, and a 2007 recipient of an Access to Artistic Excellence development and production grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the 2008 Big Easy Theatre Award for Best Original Play; it has had seven productions around the country.  Shotgun, the second play in his Rising Water cycle, premiered in 2009 at Southern Rep Theatre; it has won a 2009 National New Play Network Continued Life of New Plays Fund Award and is a 2009 recipient of an Access to Artistic Excellence development and production grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Productions are scheduled in 2010 at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater and Florida Studio Theatre.

John  was awarded a 2007 Marquette Fellowship for the writing of Night Train, which he then developed on a Studio Attachment at the National Theatre in London.  Biguenet was named 2008 Theatre Person of the Year at the Big Easy Theatre Awards.  His work has received an O. Henry Award and a Harper’s Magazine Writing Award among other distinctions, and his stories and essays have been reprinted or cited in The Best American Mystery Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, The Best American Short Stories, and Best Music Writing.  Having served twice as president of the American Literary Translators Association and as writer-in-residence at various universities, he is currently the Robert Hunter Distinguished University Professor at Loyola University in New Orleans.  Named its first guest columnist by The New York Times, Biguenet has chronicled in both columns and videos his return to New Orleans after its catastrophic flooding and the efforts to rebuild the city <

Following his eloquent panels at this year’s Words & Music festival, we received several inquiries from individuals who  who wanted to know whether he took private students.  “I don’t do that,” explained John, “but I do offer a month-long creative writing workshop in Paris every summer for English-speaking students from around the world.”

John will be teaching a creative writing workshop at the Paris American Center July 2010. For more info on this exciting event (all taught in English) visit

TJFisherThe National “Best Book” Award 2009 named Morgana Press of New Orleans’ offbeat title Hearsay from Heaven and Hades: New Orleans Secrets of Sinners and Saints by author TJ Fisher as this year’s Poetry winner. The unconventional and dark-tinged work received top honors in the “Poetry: General” category.

“I’m stunned,” said Fisher, an award-winning Southern writer, Bourbon Street resident and Faulkner Society patron, who the press previously dubbed as colorful, outrageous and eccentric. Fisher’s idiosyncratic 512-page Hearsay book of “French Quarterisms” (aphorisms) previously received standout recognition from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.

Local publisher Pelican Publishing received two NBBA finalist-nod awards in the categories of “Humor” and “History: United States.”

According to the event’s sponsor, USA Book News, this year’s contest yielded an unprecedented number of entries. Winners and finalists traversed the publishing landscape: Simon & Schuster, Penguin, W.W. Norton, Revell, McGraw-Hill, John Wiley & Sons, Thomas Nelson, American Cancer Society, Greenleaf Book Group, Sourcebooks, and hundreds of independent houses.

Fisher’s Hearsay book is based on the premise of “40 days, 40 nights,” down in New Orleans, beyond the watermark. Artist Jennifer Porter’s in-book New Orleans sketches illustrate and celebrate Fisher’s provocative pre- and post-Katrina musings of “Do you know what it means to live like you’re from New Orleans?”

“NBBA’s success begins with the enthusiastic participation of authors and publishers and continues with our distinguished panel of industry judges who bring to the table their extensive editorial, PR, marketing, and design expertise,” said Keff Keen, President and CEO of USA Books.

Morgana Press novel Ruins of Grandeur by author Donald G. Geddes, III won IPPY Awards Silver 2009 in the “Mystery/Suspense/Thriller” category. The micro publishing house’s critically acclaimed narrative and pictorial debut Orleans Embrace with The Secret Gardens of the Vieux Carré — a commemorative compendium by authors TJ Fisher, Roy F. Guste, Jr. and Louis Sahuc — swept multiple national honors in indepedenent publishing, including a prestigious PMA double-gold Benjamin Franklin Award 2007 win for “Best New Voice Nonfiction” and “The Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book Nonfiction.”, the premiere online magazine and review website for mainstream and independent publishing houses, announced the winners and finalists of THE NATIONAL “BEST BOOKS” 2009 AWARDS (NBBA) on October 20, 2009. Winners and finalists were announced in over 140 categories covering print and audio books.

Morgana Press publishes books with unique stories about the people, places, things, powers, passions, visions and voices of New Orleans.

This just in from Words & Music 2007 faculty member Deborah LeBlanc:

Dear Friends,
I’m thrilled to announce the winners of the 2008–2009 Literacy Challenge and National Writing Challenge! We had a phenomenal number of participants this year, and out of the top quiz scores on the Literacy Challenge, the judges had a very difficult time scoring the essays because so many of them were spectacular! But the cream did rise to the top. Congratulations go to all the participants, however. Some of you may not have won a prize this year, but you stepped up and took the Challenge, and stepping up to any occasion and opportunity ALWAYS makes you a winner! :))
Now, without further ado, I’d like to present the winners!!


Shane Papillion (17 yrs. Old)- Pittsburg Pa

2ND PLACE WINNER: (Desktop computer)
Louis Valmore–  Tacoma, Wa

3rd PLACE WINNER: $175 Bookstore Gift Certificate
Linda Swofford (15 yrs old) Houston, Tx

4th PLACE WINNER: $100 Bookstore Gift Certificate
Jody Dabon- (18 yrs old) Detroit Michigan

5th PLACE WINNER: $50 Bookstore Gift Certficate
Carrey  Hamil–  Louisville, Ky

6th PLACE WINNER: $25 Bookstore Gift Certificate
Ruby Gustave –Baton Rouge, La

7th PLACE WINNER: $25 Bookstore Gift Certificate
Anne  Hager–  Pensacola Florida

8th PLACE WINNER: $25 Bookstore Gift Certificate
Evelyn Teshi    Little Rock, Arkansas

9th PLACE WINNER: $25 Bookstore Gift Certificate
Jessie Franks–  (14 yrs old) New Orleans, La

10th PLACE WINNER: $25 Bookstore Gift Certificate
Amador Savilas – Valdosta, Ga.


“Dear Ms. Leblanc,
I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity you gave me with the challenge. I still can’t believe I WON!! WOOHOO!!! Thank you so much! This money will sooo help with school!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!”

(Shane Papillion (17 yrs. Old)- Pittsburg Pa

Your call was just what I needed on an otherwise dreadful Friday morning. You have no idea the ray of sunlight you’ve brought into my life. Thank you for that, and thank you for giving so many people hope with your literacy challenge. May God richly bless you.”

Louis Valmore -Tacoma, Wa.

“Wow!! I can’t believe I won third place! You’re the best Ms. Leblanc, thank you!! I can’t wait to use my gift certificate and order more books! $175–WOW!!!!”

Linda Swofford (15 yrs old) Houston, Tx.

Literacy Inc.’s National Writing Challenge is designed to encourage students between the ages of 13 and 19 to practice and develop their writing skills. According to the National Endowment for the Arts Executive Summary, To Read or Not to Read: A Question of National Consequence, 81% of employers rate job entrants as deficient in written communication. Our Writing Challenge is designed to encourage students to write by merging excitement with writing through concrete, valuable incentives. The prizes in the Writing Challenge include:
$1000 in cash for first place; $250 book store gift certificate for second place; $200 book store gift certificate for third place; $150 book store gift certificate for fourth place; $100 book store gift certificate to fifth place
And the winners of the 2008-2009 National Writing Challenge are:
1st Place – Thomas Gifford -(14 yrs old)  Shreveport, La.
2nd Place–Marissa Newfounder (16 yrs old) Wichita, Ks.
3rd Place–Kyle Useman – Salt Lake City, Ut.
4th Place–  Kevin Mathews–Kansas City, Mo.
5th Place–  Alicia Rhodes – Atlanta, Georgia

News about the new Literacy Challenge and National Writing Challenge for 2009-2010 will be coming soon, so keep an eye on the website at! Congratulations again to all!! — Deborah