Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Won the Oregon Quarterly Essay Contest

I won the Oregon Quarterly Northwest Perspectives essay contest.

I had to write that twice because I still can’t quite believe it.

Yesterday I received a very unusual phone call, especially in these days of ubiquitous electronic conversation.

“This is my favorite phone call of the year,” said the magazine’s editor. “You won the essay contest.”

In response, I said nothing. I was too shocked.

I’ve entered this annual literary contest maybe seven times and never even been a finalist. And I won! Hot damn.

My essay is titled “The Friday’s Trilogy” and it’s an excerpt from my book, Chance of Sun: An Oregon Memoir, to be released this summer. It’s about one of the worst periods of my life, when I bottomed out in Portland 16 years ago.

Here’s what judge Debra Gwartney of Pacific University’s MFA program said:

"(I chose) The Friday's Trilogy, which I found to be fresh, alive, exciting and bold writing. I had some trouble following the first few sentences, but once I was in, I was in. A compelling piece of writing, heartbreaking and redemptive. Hard to pull off without being sappy, and yet she does."

“I’ll come back to earth soon,” I said to Guy Maynard at the end of our conversation.

“Well, don’t come back down too soon,” he said. “Moments like these are too few in our world.”

There will be a public reading of winning essays on the University of Oregon campus, May 4, 7 p.m.


  1. Congratulations, Kim. That is fantastic! Can't wait for the book party.

  2. Thanks, Christine! I'll be sure to let everyone know!

  3. Hey, congrats, Kim! That's awesome.