Judged by: Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda served as Poet Laureate of Virginia from July 2006 to July 2008. She has published five books of poetry and co-edited two poetry anthologies. Her poems have been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and appear in numerous magazines and journals, including Nimrod, Hispanic Culture Review, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Mid-American Review, Antioch Review, Passages North, and Anthology of Magazine Verse & Yearbook of American Poetry. Her awards include four grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, a Council for Basic Education fellowship award, an Edgar Allan Poe first-place award, and a Cultural Laureate Award for her contributions in poetry to the state of Virginia, among others. She received the first doctorate awarded by George Mason University, where she studied in the creative writing program. Carolyn also works as a visual artist, whose paintings have been widely displayed in solo and group exhibits. Visit Carolyn's website at http://www.carolynforonda.com/
Judged by: Sherrie Flick is the author of the flash fiction chapbook I Call This Flirting (Flume) and the novel Reconsidering Happiness (University of Nebraska). Select anthologies include Flash Fiction Forward (Norton), New Sudden Fiction (Norton), The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, and Keeping the Wolves at Bay (Autumn House). A recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant and fellowships from Sewanee Writers' Conference, the Ucross Foundation, and Atlantic Center for the Arts, she lives in Pittsburgh where she teaches at University of Pittsburgh and Chatham University Visit her website: www.sherrieflick.com
Stefanie Freele is  the author of a short story collection, Feeding Strays (Lost Horse Press), a finalist for the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award and finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Award. She is the Fiction Editor of the Los Angeles Review and has an MFA from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. Her recent fiction can be found in magazines such as Glimmer Train, American Literary Review, Word Riot, Necessary Fiction, Monkeybicycle, and Night Train. Stefanie is the current Healdsburg Literary Laureate. Visit her website: www.stefaniefreele.com
Chris Offutt grew up in Haldeman, Kentucky, a former mining community of two hundred people, and graduated from Morehead State University, KY. He is the author of No Heroes, The Same River Twice, Kentucky Straight, Out of the Woods, and The Good Brother. His work has received awards from the Lannan Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Whiting Foundation. His stories are included in many anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, four appearances in New Stories of the South, and twice on Selected Shorts on NPR. In Hollywood he worked as a producer/writer for True Blood and Weeds. Visit his website: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Chris-Offutt/697635
Bill Roorbach is the author of eight books of fiction and nonfiction, including the Flannery O'Connor Prize winner Big Bend, and the creative nonfiction titles Summers With Juliet, Into Woods, and Temple Stream. The tenth anniversary edition of his popular craft book, Writing Life Stories: How to Make Memories into Memoirs, Ideas into Essays, and Life into Literature, is used in writing programs around the world, along with his Oxford Anthology, Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: The Art of Truth. A new novel is due from Algonquin next year. After teaching stints at University of Maine at Farmington and the MFA program at Ohio State, Bill held the Jenks Chair in Contemporary American Letters at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. Through it all he's kept his place in Maine, where he's now writing and filmmaking and blogging full time. Visit him at Bill and Dave's Cocktail Hourbillanddavescocktailhour.com, where you can find his ongoing video memoir, I Used to Play in Bands.
Josh Weil is the author of The New Valley (Grove, 2009), a New York Times Editors Choice that won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from The American Academy of Arts and Letters; a “5 Under 35” Award from the National Book Foundation; the New Writers Award from the GLCA; and was shortlisted for the Virginia Literary Award in Fiction. Weil's short fiction has been published or is forthcoming in Granta, One Story, American Short Fiction, Narrative, and Glimmer Train; he has written non-fiction for The New York Times, Granta Online, Oxford American and Poets & Writers.  Since earning his MFA from Columbia University, he has received the Dana Award in Portfolio and fellowships from the Gilman School, the MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, the Writer’s Center and the Fulbright Foundation. Weil is currently the writer-in-residence at the James Merrill House; this spring he will be the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Bowling Green State University. Visit his website: www.joshweil.com.
The 2011 Press 53 Open Awards Results Are In!
The 2011 Press 53 Open Awards awards presentation will take place on Saturday, October 22, at 6 p.m., at the Gallery of the Arts, 411 W. Fourth St, Winston-Salem, NC., at which time we will also unveil the 2011 Press 53 Open Awards Anthology, featuring our First Prize, Second Prize, and Honorable Mention winners (First Prize only in Novella).

A Big THANK YOU to everyone who entered.

First Prize receives etched-glass award, publication in 2011 Press 53 Open Awards Anthology and two copies
Second Prize receives awards certificate, publication in 2011 Press 53 Open Awards Anthology and one copy
Honorable Mention receives awards certificate, publication in 2011 Press 53 Open Awards Anthology (except Novella) and one copy.
All Finalists acknowledged in the 2011 Press 53 Open Awards Anthology and receive one copy

First Prize: Manda Frederick of Bellingham, WA for "Absent in its Arrival"; "Catabolic Supernova"; "Waiting on Bats at Dusk”

Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda says: “The winning entry is a stellar example of poetry at its best. Not only is this poet capable of chiseling a short poem to perfection, but he/she also presents a masterful rendering of a longer poem …. Few entries in this contest mastered the intricacies of form as well as did this set of poems, created by a visually and emotionally aware writer.”

Second Prize: Karen M. Peluso of Beaufort, SC for "Slaves' Cabins"; "Aunt Phoebe"; "Honoring"

Honorable Mention: Karen M. Peluso of Beaufort, SC for "May Day"; "Sunday, 6 AM"; "Still Questioning Mother's Suicide After Thirty-Five Years” 

Michael Gaspeny of Greensboro, NC for "Diorama"; "At the Stake"; "My Man-ya"

Kindra M. McDonald of Norfolk, VA for "Fishing One Autumn"; "Obituary"; "You Want Evidence"

Pat Riviere-Seel of Asheville, NC for "The Bears"; "Letting Go"; "My Friend Nancy Asks if I Lost Anything Important"

Ginny Thompson of Blowing Rock, NC for "Coram Deo"; "Painting Her While She Sleeps"; "One"

Ginny Thompson of Blowing Rock, NC for "Plot"; "Outside the Tide"; "The Green Tent Revisited"

Corrie Lynn White of Raleigh, NC for "In this Bend"; "When I Run Out of Ideas"; "Landfill"

Sandra Ann Winters of Winston-Salem, NC for "Talking to Okra, From the Son's Voice"; "A Living Will"; "The Parlour"

First Prize: Mesha Maren of Asheville, NC for “Withdraw”

Sherrie Flick says: “When I’m reading flash fiction I like to be surprised—whether it’s by a fresh new voice, an unlikely structure, or content that knocks my socks off. “Withdraw” drew me in from the get-go with its confident voice and steady pacing. What could’ve been a clichéd exercise—using the text definition of a work to create the plot of a story—became a nuanced, moving examination of what it means to withdraw emotionally, physically, and socially. The definition and the storyline work in tandem to enrich each other, and the end result is a very brief, but incredibly poignant story.”

Second Prize: Tara Laskowski of Burke, VA for “Dendrochronology” 

Honorable Mention: Kathleene Donahoo of Lake Forest, IL for “A Spot of Certain Darkness”

Ron Capps of Washington, D.C. for “Mister Anachron, Dead at 85”

Debra Daniel of Columbia, SC for “And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon”

Traci Lazenby Elliott of Asheboro, NC for “Wordsmith”

Steve Mitchell of Winston-Salem, NC for “Purr”

Amanda Pauley of Elliston, VA for “Snapshot”

Mary Ann Savage of Watsonville, CA for “A Rite of Passage”

Lyzette Wanzer of San Francisco, CA for “Flounder”

First Prize: Amanda Pauley of Elliston, VA for “Social Services”

Stefanie Freele says: " ‘Social Services’ is a story that rings true - not in the sense that it is a story that feels like non-fiction disguised as fiction, but true in the sense that the setting is alive, the characters are real people, and the action is vivid, revolving around a protagonist who is making small discoveries about herself in the middle of humanity's hustle and bustle.”

Second Prize: Ames John Gigounas of Brooklyn, NY for “Flatscreen”

Honorable Mention: Lyzette Wanzer of San Francisco, CA for “Portrait”

Jodi Barnes of Cary, NC for “Immoral Gratitude”

Tara Laskowski of Burke, VA for “The Etiquette of Dementia”

Alexander Lumans of Boulder, CO for “The Crow That is Still Eating Chicago”

Ray Morrison of Winston-Salem, NC for “Housebroken”

Amanda Pauley of Elliston, VA for “Something’s Dead”

Kristen D. Sherman of Charlotte, NC for “Sacrament”

Marci Stillerman of Los Angeles, CA for “The Orchid”

First Prize: Ray Morrison of Winston-Salem, NC for “Laid to Rest”

Chris Offutt says: “ ‘Laid to Rest’ starts with a bang and progresses with a strong narrative tension to an unforeseen and surprising ending. Along the way, the description of land, character, and rural circumstance unfold with subtlety and strength. The dialogue is believable and the details strong. There is a deep compassion at work in this story that I found very moving. I believe any reader will, too.”

Second Prize: Caroljean Gavin of Kernersville, NC for “The House that Grandpa Built”

Honorable Mention: Alexander Lumans of Boulder, CO for “Wands”

Vanessa Blakeslee of Maitland, FL for “Shadowboxes”

Kathleene Donahoo of Lake Forest, IL for “Strands”

Debra Madaris Efird of Harrisburg, NC for “Aileen’s First Day at the New School”

Margarite Landry of Southborough, MA for “On the Mountain”

Alexander Lumans of Boulder, CO for “Wands”

Steve Mitchell of Winston-Salem, NC for “Above the Rooftop”

Arthur Powers of Raleigh, NC for “Back Country People”

Lise Saffran of Columbia, MO for “Resident Whales”

First Prize: Ron Capps of Washington, D.C. for “The French Lieutenant’s iPod”

Bill Roorbach says: " ‘The French Lieutenant's iPod’ is a disturbing, heartfelt but soul-weary account of a tour of government monitoring duty in war-torn Chad near the Darfur border. It offers a human-scale view of an endless war mostly hidden from western view, a war of atrocities, blind violence, and hopelessness unto absurdity.  There are flickers of caring, flickers, even, of love, but in the end there's nothing but despair. The writing is crisp, authoritative, rueful, very much alive in the face of death, and political in the best sense: an eyewitness account.”

Second Prize: Deborah Gold (location withheld) for “Counting Down”

Honorable Mention: Paul Myers of Gibsons, BC, Canada for “American Paradise”

Erin Byrne of Auburn, WA for “Spirals”

Angie M. Chatman of Des Moines, IA for “Pralines”

Manda Frederick of Bellingham, WA for “Relative Effort”

Joe Hudson of Statesville, NC for “Daddy Hugs Away the Nightmares”

Paul Myers of Gibsons, BC, Canada for “American Paradise”

Jennifer L. Stevenson of Winston-Salem, NC for “Flying Lessons”

Henry F. Tonn of Wilmington, NC for “Grieve in Silence”

Leslie Tucker of Landrum, SC for “The Blue Blanket”

First Prize: Carol K. Howell of DeKalb, IL for Havdalah

Josh Weil says: Havdalah manages to pull off a tough trick for any fiction: driven by a intense intellectual grappling, it nevertheless reaches an emotionally intense conclusion. This novella is packed full of fascinating insights into the a world both familiar and deeply foreign, and it arrives at them naturally through characters whose life-choices and challenges force them to wrestle with understanding the questions life has handed them. And they are rich characters, indeed, especially Mike (the protagonist) and Zalman, who functions in a complex way both as an antagonist an a spiritual guide. On top of that, the minor characters (Zalman's wife and children, for instance; even the woman who watches over the mikvah bath) pop on the page; they are full of life. That could be said of this entire novella, cleanly-written and delivered with equal surety in dialogue and explorations of the characters' interiors. Most of all, it feels like it needs to be a novella. Focused fully on one character and her struggle, it none-the-less requires the fullness of the form to make that struggle fully felt and understood, and to allow it play out to its surprising, yet fitting, end. An impressive piece.

Honorable Mention: Laurie Blauner of Seattle, WA for Earl

Jackie Davis Martin of San Francisco, CA for Extracurricular

M.A. Tuohy of Buford, GA for Our Lady of the Bass Boat

Tamra McElroy Wilson of Newton, NC for The Weed Patch

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