The Winners of the 2018 Winter Contest

Columbia Journal is excited to announce the winners and finalists of our 2018 Winter Contest, which was judged by Jericho Brown, Lauren Wilkinson, and Alexander Chee. We want to thank everyone who entered the Contest for sharing their work with us, as well as our three wonderful judges, and express our congratulations to the winners and finalists.

The winners’ writing will appear in print in Columbia Journal’s Issue 57, to be released in May 2019. You can pre-order Issue 57 here. Issue 57 also features work from Jenny Holzer, Patti Smith, Jesse Paris Smith, Eileen Myles, Duy Doan, Lili Kobielski, and Donika Kelly.


Judged by Alexander Chee

Winner: “Glossy Lips” by Fernando R. Manibog
Finalists: “Wild Child” by Tatiana Schlote-Bonne and “Elegy for Western Time” by Lisa Locascio
Alexander Chee on the winner: Manibog’s essay returns the rituals of adolescence to their proper force—the way a casual remark from a parent could create a whole word until the truth eventually destroys it. A mesmerizing and powerful piece of writing, warm, uncanny and wise.


Judged by Lauren Wilkinson

Winner: “Ginny” by Stacy Skolnik
Finalists: “As If They Were Burning” by Adam Peterson and “Beard” by Carla Miriam Levy
Lauren Wilkinson on the winner: A mash-up of “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Ex Machina, this story cleverly explores the theme of transformative art by giving voice to a form of artificial intelligence who finds empowerment through artistic self-expression. The piece’s lyrical style, and its beautifully strange vision, drew me in and kept me hooked right up until the last word. Skolnik is an insightful and compelling storyteller, and I look forward to reading more fiction from them in the future.


Judged by Jericho Brown

Winner: “The Baths” by Norman Walter
Finalist: “A Reflection on Shoes” by Bona Hong
Jericho Brown on the winner: Each line in “The Baths” is meant to land in a new and surprising place.

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