2022 Great American Fiction Contest: Meet the Winners!

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

Dana Fitz Gale

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Meet the Winner! Dana Fitz Gale

“I’m speechless,” said Fitz Gale when notified that her short story “Dust” had won first place in the 2022 Great American Fiction Contest and a prize of $1,000. “I’m still in shock that I’ll have a story in The Saturday Evening Post!”

“Dust” was inspired by an anecdote the author heard from a family member who had met up with a friend and horse breeder at a track in the dead of night to scatter the ashes of a beloved barn manager. “I was intrigued by the idea of their clandestine, illegal mission to return dust unto dust and by the accompanying sanctification of a racetrack — generally considered to be such an unwholesome setting,” says Fitz Gale. “Ultimately, it’s a story about forgiveness and finding the shared humanity in others.”

The author — who received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Montana in 2013 — lives on a small farm near Missoula, Montana, with her husband, two teenage sons, and assorted dogs, cats, and horses. “I try to write every day, but have come to realize this isn’t always realistic,” she says, adding that “even when I’m doing something different like mucking out the horse pen, I’m usually working through a story in my mind.”

Fitz Gale’s debut collection of short stories, Spells for Victory and Courage, won the 2015 Brighthorse Prize in Short Fiction and was a finalist for both the Flannery O’Connor Award and the Ohio State book prize. Her award-winning fiction has been published widely in literary magazines, including The Georgia Review, Hudson Review, and Prairie Schooner, among others. Currently, she is completing revisions on her novel, Able.

“Dust” is the author’s first short story in a national consumer publication. “I’m tremendously excited to reach a wider audience,” says the writer. “And especially honored that my work will appear in such a legendary 200-year-old magazine.”

For more, visit danafitzgale.com.

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/2022-winners. We salute these fine writers and the more than 250 others who entered our 2022 contest.  —The Editors

  • Ginger Dehlinger

    Ginger Dehlinger

    • Title: Francine
    • Storyline: On her way to the jail, she wondered how close friends who grew up together could grow so far apart.
    • Bio: First story to be published by a national consumer magazine. Author of two novels, Brute Heart and Never Done. For more, visit gdehlinger.blogspot.com.
  • Jackson Jodie Daviss

    Jackson Jodie Davis

    • Title: Candle
    • Storyline: An unexpected detour on Christmas Eve brings two strangers together, transforming their lives in unexpected ways.
    • Bio: Work has appeared in Story, Yankee, in‑flight magazines, among other publications.
  • Pamela McFarland

    Pamela McFarland

    • Title: Misquoting T.S. Eliot
    • Storyline: At 60, Evelyn was stuck in the past. Was it too late to open her heart?
    • Bio: First story published by a national consumer magazine. Work has appeared in the online literary journal Cobalt. For more, visit pammcfarland.com
  • Mary Liza Hartong

    Mary Liza Hartong

    • Title: Cassidy Crook Plays the Villain
    • Storyline: What dark magic did the high school senior have that compelled them to watch her every move?
    • Bio: First story to be published by a national consumer magazine. Work has appeared in Portable Story Series, StyleBlueprint, Lascaux Review, Ember Chasm Review, among others. For more, visit marylizahartong.com.
  • Kevin Sandefur

    Kevin Sandefur

    • Title: Waiting
    • Storyline: When accidents happen in a mining town, everyone waits and watches to see who’s not coming home.
    • Bio: First story to be published by a national consumer magazine. Work has appeared in The Gateway Review, The Sunlight Press, Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, and Pulp Literature.

This article is featured in the January/February 2021 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

Featured image: Courtesy Dana Fitz Gale

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  1. Sorry, that’s not our area of expertise! We suggest contacting an art dealer or looking for similar works on eBay.

  2. Please advise. Am I getting print version or e version. I’m old. Trying to sift through descriptions of presentation becomes MIND BOGGLING. Especially when I begin LAUGHING OUT LOUD!!

    Thanks kids. ❤️

  3. Congratulations Dana, and the runners-up as well. Sounds like you have quite a bit of experience with horses, dog and cats on a daily basis. I like to go trail riding when I can, and develop strong bonds with animals. I’ll be looking forward to reading yours soon.

    The other stories mentioned have mystery, intrigue and human interest aspects I find appealing from the descriptions, and look forward to reading them here on upcoming Fridays.


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