2021 Great American Fiction Contest: Meet the Winners!

The results are in! Here's who won this year's fiction contest.

(Courtesy Lynn K. Sheridan)

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Meet the Winner! Lynn K. Sheridan

“Wow! This is really wonderful!” says Sheridan on learning “The House on Willow Street” won first place, publication in the Post, and a prize of $1,000. “As a writer, you keep writing, sometimes you don’t know why, but now my first ever published work is appearing in a national magazine, which encourages me to keep writing.”

“The House on Willow Street” was inspired by her travels around the country. “Every now and then, I would see a house with words written on it,” she says. “The images made me wonder why someone would write on a house. How did the rest of the town feel about it? And how long would they let the words stay?”

In Sheridan’s story, Alan, the protagonist, is struggling with shame, emptiness, and grief after losing the family-owned hardware store that had served his small-town community for three generations. All he wants to do is go home, take a nap, and forget. But once there, instead of opening his front door, he pulls out a black marker and begins writing on the clapboard of his house — and never stops, despite the growing taunts of his neighbors, old customers, and friends. “The more Alan wrote on his house, the more he rediscovered hope, understanding, and — what had been there all along — love,” says the author, adding, “in the process bringing the fictional community together in an entirely new way.”

After taking writing classes at a local library, Sheridan enrolled at Simmons University, graduating with an MFA in creative writing. A member of the Grub Street writing community and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Sheridan, who resides in Massachusetts, focuses her creative energy on writing short stories and is currently working on “a middle-grade novel about a boy determined to save his town from being dissolved and forgotten.”

Meet the Runners-Up

Each runner-up receives $100 and publication of their work on our website. To read these stories, go to saturdayeveningpost.com/2021-winners. We salute these fine writers and the more than 250 others who entered our 2021 contest. —The Editors

  • Alan Sincic

    Alan Cincic's photo
    (Courtesy Alan Cincic)
    • Title: The Piney Vista
    • Storyline: During the big hurricane, who else but Barnett would turn an act of God into a hootenanny.
    • Bio: Works have appeared in Overland MagazineNowhereNew Ohio Review, among others. For more, visit alansincic.com.
  • Robert Morgan Fisher

    Robert Morgan Fisher's photo
    (Courtesy Robert Morgan Fisher)

    • Title: Pipe Dream Paste
    • Storyline: What started as a quest for treasure turned into a search for something much more precious.
    • Bio: First story to be published by a national consumer magazine. Works have appeared in dozens of literary journals, including Pleiades, Upstreet, The Wild Word. For more, visit robertmorganfisher.com
  • Barbara Briggs Ward

    Barbara Briggs Ward's photo
    (Courtesy of Barbara Briggs Ward)
    • Title: The Kitchens
    • Storyline: Rosa was a masterful chef, but sometimes you have to wait for just the right ingredients.
    • Bio: Works have appeared in Highlights, Ladies Home Journal, Post‘s New Fiction Friday series; author of a Christmas trilogy, including The Reindeer Keeper. For more, visit barbarabriggsward.com.
  • Christine Benedict

    Christine Benedict's photo
    (Courtesy Christine Benedict)
    • Title: Katianna Milena Bovinich
    • Storyline: Some Russian women are afraid to love their children, but Millie believed if you do not show love, children will be hard, not strong.
    • Bio: First story published by a national consumer magazine. Author of the mystery thriller Anonymous. For more, visit authorchristinebenedict.com.
  • Jennifer Slee

    Jennifer Slee's photo
    (Courtesy Jennifer Slee)
    • Title: The Self-Made Man
    • Storyline: Nothing was more welcome in Bluesville than a distraction, so when the carnival unexpectedly returned, two best friends along with everyone else in town eagerly descended upon the old fairgrounds to see the show, but this one was unlike any they’d seen before.
    • Bio: First story published by a national consumer magazine. For more, visit sleesquared.com.

Featured image: Courtesy Lynn K. Sheridan

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  1. And with the stroke of the pen, he dismisses the ability of seventy-five million Americans to have the ability to formulate an independent, coherent and rational thought. The pen truly is mightier than the sword.

  2. Congratulations to Lynn K. Sheridan and fellow writers who have been named winners of the Great American Fiction Contest.

    I am wondering if Donald Trump shouldn’t be mentioned. He may not have entered the contest. However, without writing a word, he is the author of the most enveloping fiction of our time. Seventy-five million Americans, including a large portion of the American Congress, are mired in his narrative, and acting as a bridge between his words and reality.


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