The Anne C. Barnhill Prize for Creative Nonfiction

“Though the surroundings were lovely, there was an underside to all that beauty.”

Anne Barnhill


Submissions open June 1 – July 31, 2020.

The Barnhill Prize honors Anne’s generous spirit of support for all who love to read and write; her lifelong empathy with those who mine their childhood experience to understand themselves now; the natural vulnerability in her compelling prose and poetry; and her boundless generosity in sharing her writing passions with the world.

Selection process: Editors determine the pool of up to 10 finalist essays. Finalist essays will be read by an outside judge who selects one winning essay. The author of the winning essay receives a cash award of $250. The winner has ten days to accept the award. More information about this year’s judge, Carter Sickels, can be found here: #BarnhillPrize judge 2020.

Eligibility: The competition is open to writers in English, whether published or unpublished. Previous winners of this award are not eligible to win again. Writers must be residents of North America.

Essay Guidelines:

  1. Current or former students of the contest judge should NOT submit their work to this contest; the same goes for anyone who personally knows the judge in any regard.
  2. Essays should be double-spaced and no more than 3,500 words in length.
  3. The award recognizes outstanding creative nonfiction that reflects our mission: (See About)
  4. Essays are only accepted via our Submittable online platform. No paper, please.
  5. Please be sure essay pages are numbered and that your name is NOT on the document that is your essay.
  6. Please use a standard, easy-to-read font such as Times New Roman in twelve-point size.
  7. Essays may not have been previously published.
  8. Authors may submit more than one essay to the competition for consideration as long as no material is duplicated between submissions. Each submission will require a separate entry fee.
  9. Essays under consideration for this competition may be submitted elsewhere at the same time. Please withdraw your essay if it is accepted by another publisher and should no longer be considered for the Barnhill Prize for Creative Nonfiction competition. Withdrawal can be completed via the submissions manager website. Entry fees ($10 per submission) are not refundable.
  10. The final judge will not be aware of the names or publication records of the authors. If he believes he recognizes the work or identity of the writer, he will disclose that to our editors.
  11. Please forward any questions to edg (at) longridgeeditors (dot) com. Thank you!

©Carlos Culbertson, featured artist Issue 3, Spring 2016

Our Current Predicament. The Quar. 2020 So Far. Whatever you call it, this period of late has been a difficult one for all of us, and writers with new books are no exception. Anticipated publications and reviews are delayed, but the good news is, sooner or later, it all comes together.

And there is something so very timely right now about a book title that centers on being awake and thinking at three o’clock in the morning.

Here at Longridge Review, we like to share good news about writers whose work we have published. Today’s good news is about Sarah Bigham, whose 2017 essay The Drill, examined the aftermath of a childhood surgery to limit damage from a brain injury. Her book represents one of our favorite elements of our mission, the part where writers really get down into hidden influences on their lives from early experience.

Our bodies remember pain, apparently, even when our retrievable memories have purged it.

The Drill, Longridge Review, Issue #6

Of Sarah’s new book, publisher Pski’s Porch says:

Plagued with spiraling pain, and wandering the house in the middle of the night unable to sleep, Sarah Bigham began writing in a desperate attempt to distract herself. This collection of her essays and poems ranges from lyrical to mystical to humorous to soul-piercing. Readers will laugh, cry, and nod in agreement as Sarah reminisces, observes, and describes the journey of an ordinary person living a quietly extraordinary life.

Many of the pieces in Chemist recall why we were attracted to The Drill. Sarah has a style that blends memory with reflection, resulting in a meditative experience for the reader. She writes in a way that slows us down, brings our focus, and avoids didactic “answers.” In short, she makes us think with our hearts.

We all collect things, I suppose, the remnants of others, to keep within ourselves. For me, it is what people say, the stories they tell, and the remembrances of their words years later. The jagged edges of the broken bits, sanded by time, fit together as a blessing of sorts, one bestowed on word and story-keepers.

Beatitudes, Kind Chemist Wife: Musings at 3 a.m.

A huge thanks to Sarah and to Pski’s Porch for bringing us just what we needed right now. A small, crafted, hand-held book that honors quiet space and time; one that demands nothing but elicits everything. Everything that honors being human.

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Sarah Bigham teaches, writes, and paints in Maryland where she lives with her kind chemist wife, three independent cats, an unwieldy herb garden, several chronic pain conditions, and near-constant outrage at the general state of the world tempered with love for those doing their best to make a difference. Sarah’s poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in a variety of great places for readers, writers, listeners, and thinkers. Find her at www.sgbigham.com. You can purchase her book here: Kind Chemist Wife.

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Photo by Amie LeeKing

We are thrilled to announce that Carter Sickels will award the 2020 Anne C. Barnhill Prize for Creative Nonfiction.

Carter’s novel The Prettiest Star is forthcoming from Hub City Press in 2020. He is the author of the novel The Evening Hour (Bloomsbury 2012), an Oregon Book Award finalist and a Lambda Literary Award finalist. His essays and fiction have appeared in a variety of publications, including Oxford American, Poets & Writers, BuzzFeed, Guernica, and the Bellevue Literary Review. Carter is the recipient of the 2013 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award, and earned fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the MacDowell Colony. He is an assistant professor of English at Eastern Kentucky University, where he teaches in the Bluegrass Writers low-residency MFA program.

Things to do today:

Read the 2019 #BarnhillPrize-winning essay here:  
Suburbs Plagued by Foraging Deer

Summer of 2006. Four childhood best friends. A family secret.

Here at Longridge Review, we like to share good news about writers whose work we have published. Today’s good news is about Natalie Rodriguez, whose 2017 essay “The Permission of Alcohol” examined her disordered drinking to facilitate expressions of grief.

The COVID-19 situation is interfering with the anticipated release of many new books, but Natalie reports that the ebook version of new YA book, Elephant, is available for an unlimited time on Booksprout. All you need to do is create a free account on Booksprout to download the book. The book is also available right now for Kindle on Amazon and Nook for Barnes and Noble.

About Elephant:

After a strange encounter leaves him hospitalized, a timid teenage boy named Matt “Matty” Smith comes home to a continuous series of events met with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Under the guardianship of his grandma, Lucia, Matt lives with unspoken questions about his grandfather and parents. The elephant in the room. As Matt develops over the summer, the secrets only grow more profound and complex. Will the answers ever come? While searching for answers, Matt and his three childhood best friends encounter the meanings of love, forgiveness, and fate.

This story is for those who feel their voice is unheard and for children, teenagers, and adults who never had the chance to heal from their pain.

If you need some new — safe — contact in quarantine, Natalie is all over the socials and would love to hear from you! 

Ways to find her and to connect:

Website – nataliecrodriguez.com

IG: @natchristinerod

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/nataliechristinerodriguez

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elephant_bookya/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ebookya/

Finally, you can leave your review on Google Books & Goodreads.

Let’s keep our #WritingCommunity connected and supported during this strange time for all of us.

Dear Friends —

I started to say I am writing to you from my garret, but then that makes it sound dismal. It’s not. The lights are on, the dog is sleeping, the family is all home. We are doing pretty well all things considered in this time of The Unknown.

I hope you are healthy and safe.

I’ve decided to close this submission period a month early. If you have something to send, by all means send away until April 3.

Longridge Review will publish our spring issue, and then regroup to prepare for the second annual #BarnhillPrize contest.

I hope this change won’t be too troubling to anyone. Many of us are making shifts in timelines and plans in light of the way life is changing every hour right now.

We are still here for you, our readers and writers. We’ve always had a virtual world of support, and that perhaps has never been more powerfully illustrated than right now.

Remember to connect where you can; I find Twitter to be an especially good medium for the #WritingCommunity. Click a heart for a writer’s tweet you like. RT an outstanding #essay or #LitMag. Build lists for yourself of online resources that encourage your writing life and help you feel part of something bigger than yourself. Check out some of our Twitter lists for inspiration and leads.

Stay Positive.

Stay Focused.

Stay in Touch.

Stay Home — for now.

And Write On!

Elizabeth Gaucher
Editor
Longridge Review

Twitter: @LongridgeReview

Art ©Melissa Doty

The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses series, published every year since 1976, is the most honored literary project in America.

Since 1976, hundreds of presses and thousands of writers of short stories, poetry and essays have been represented in annual collections. Each year most of the writers and many of the presses are new to the series. Every volume contains an index of past selections, plus lists of outstanding presses with addresses.

The Pushcart Prize has been a labor of love and independent spirits since its founding. It is one of the last surviving literary co-ops from the 60’s and 70’s. Its legacy is assured by donations to its Fellowships endowment.

We at Longridge Review are pleased to announce our 2019 nominees:

Congratulations to each of these wonderful writers, and thank you to everyone who found a forever home for his or her essay with us in 2019!

p.s. Our submission period is now open until the first of the year.

Featured image by Deb Farrell

Congratulations to our finalists for the Anne C. Barnhill Prize for Creative Nonfiction!

Neema Avashia (Boston)
Rochelle Harris Cox (Northwest GA)
Dorian Fox (Boston)
Jenna Korsmo (Tuscon)
Jessica Langlois (Atlanta)
Elizabeth Lantz (Columbus)
Mary Mahoney (New York)
Elizabeth Muller (New Jersey)
Laura Stanfill (Portland OR)
Lisa López Smith (Central Mexico)

We are exceptionally proud to present these writers and their outstanding essays. Out of over 120 submissions, our editors chose these 10 to forward to contest judge Randal O’Wain. Randal has made his choice, and we will announce the winner on Friday, October 11; on that date we will also post links to each essay, along with bios of these talented writers.

Thank you for your support and patience as we developed this contest. Our goal is to keep the spirit of Anne Barnhill alive in the writing world she loved so much, as well as to offer recognition and reward opportunities for writers who “present the finest essays on the mysteries of childhood experience, the wonder of adult reflection, and how the two connect over a lifespan.”

M. Randal O’Wain


We are over-the-moon excited to announce that M. Randal O’Wain will award the first Anne C. Barnhill Prize for Creative Nonfiction.

Randal holds an MFA from Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program. He is the author of Meander Belt: Family, Loss, and Coming of Age in the Working Class South (American Lives Series, 2019) and Hallelujah Station and Other Stories (Autumn House Press, 2020).

His essays and short stories have appeared in Oxford American, Guernica, The Pinch, Booth, Hotel Amerika, storySouth, among others.

Randal lives in Alderson WV and lectures at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His knowledge of place via WV and NC is a wonderful gift to this work; both states were special to Anne. 

Things to do today:

Special thanks to Jessie van Eerden and Wiley Cash for their encouragement.

Spring is finally here.

Three Trees ©Michael Teel

I don’t know about you, but I thought this Winter might be permanent. Some of that was the weather; more of that feeling was the death of my friend, Anne Clinard Barnhill.

Anne was a wonderful writer and a beautiful human being. She wrote a recommendation letter for my MFA application. She submitted 3 essays to the early version of Longridge Review, Essays on Childhood. She always had a kind word or an encouraging message for other writers, and it was that quality that made her shine in the writing community.

Anne’s passing slowed me down. She died in January, and we pushed through to publish our Winter issue on time. I also started fundraising to establish a literary prize in Anne’s name. Spring feels like the time to think and dream, to plan and create this next aspect of Longridge Review. The buds, though still tight, are starting to emerge.

One of my favorite aphorisms is, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” While laboring to make something flawless, we often end up with nothing at all. I find myself procrastinating on defining the process for the Barnhill Prize (What? A writer? Procrastinating?!) because I want it to be perfect; but what I really want more than conceptual perfection is a concrete reality.

I am asking you, dear readers and writers, to share your responses to these ideas. If you are comfortable, I’d love to see your comments on this blog post, right here on this page. If you’d rather your comments be private, you can email me at edg at longridgeeditors dot com.

Draft contest guidelines

Dates for submission: Essays may be submitted September 1 to October 31, 2019. Winners will be announced by the end of January 2020.

Contest queries can be directed to edg at longridgeeditors dot com. The $10 entry fee can be paid online via credit card or PayPal when using our Submittable platform.

Selection process: Each of five editors reads approximately one-fifth of the essays submitted to the competition, with an additional reader available if needed based on the total number of submissions. Editors select three finalists each; the pool of finalist essays is read by (judge to be named), who makes the final selection of one winning essay. The author of the winning essay receives a cash award of $250. The winner has ten days to accept the award. More information about our editors and this year’s judge can be found at (provide link).

Eligibility: The competition is open to writers in English, whether published or unpublished. Previous winners of this award are not eligible to win again. Writers must be residents of North America. 

Essay Guidelines

  1. Essays should be double-spaced and no more than 3,500 words in length.
  2. The award recognizes outstanding creative nonfiction that reflects our mission: (See About; add also link to more detailed submission guidelines).
  3. Please be sure essay pages are numbered.
  4. Please use a standard, easy-to-read font such as Times New Roman in twelve-point size.
  5. Essays may not have been previously published.
  6. Authors may submit more than one essay to the competition for consideration as long as no material is duplicated between submissions. Each submission will require a separate entry fee.
  7. Essays under consideration for this competition may be submitted elsewhere at the same time. Please withdraw your essay if it is accepted by another publisher and should no longer be considered for the Barnhill Prize for Creative Nonfiction competition. Withdrawal can be completed via the submissions manager website. Entry fees are not refundable.

Blind review: The intent of this contest is that essays will be considered on the merits of the work and that the final judge will not be aware of the names or publication records of the authors.

Confirmation of receipt and notification: You should receive an e-mail confirmation immediately after submission. An announcement of winners and finalists will be sent to all entrants via e-mail by the end of January.

One more thought: Though there can be only one award winner, we want to include recognition for finalists, a kind of “judge’s choice” acknowledgement. This feels like 2 additional essays being acknowledged in total, but it could be more or less.

Once we complete the contest, we would return to two regular submission periods, maintaining three annual opportunities for submissions, one being the contest now instead of three identical processes.

So this is our start! What do you think? What questions do you have? We hope you will help us make this first competition a success, and not just a success but a positive experience for everyone involved. Thank you!

In 2010, a little idea for sharing essays on childhood got a big boost when Anne Clinard Barnhill submitted “Winter Solstice” to an unknown fellow West Virginian. I wanted to pursue the idea there is a lot to say about how our early experiences shape the world. Anne later sent “Melungeons and Mystery,” as well as “Staying.” It is because of Anne’s belief in Essays on a West Virginia Childhood that the project became something so much bigger, an online literary journal that publishes writers from coast to coast in the USA and beyond (Longridge Review)

.anne

The Barnhill Prize honors Anne’s generous spirit of support for all who love to read and write; her lifelong empathy with those who mine their childhood experience to understand themselves now; the natural vulnerability in her compelling prose and poetry; and her boundless generosity in sharing her writing passions with the world.

Gifts to this campaign will benefit writers of Creative Nonfiction (essays and memoir) by establishing an annual prize for excellence fulfilling our mission: To present the finest essays on the mysteries of childhood experience, the wonder of adult reflection, and how the two connect over a lifespan.

These funds will support a $250 cash prize, as well as provide an honorarium for an outside essay judge. Click here to make a gift: Barnhill Prize on Go Fund Me.

Any additional funds will be preserved to sustain the prize over time. Accounting for funds will be provided annually.

Unless requesting anonymity, all donors will be recognized on a unique page on our website.

One person truly can change the world for the better. Anne is one of those people who has made a difference, who has multiplied her own blessings and made other people’s lives more creative, more rewarding, and more joyful by sharing her life so freely. I can think of no finer person for whom to name the Longridge Review annual prize.

Thank you for honoring Anne, and for supporting Creative Nonfiction!