Spirit of Writing Contest of Whidbey Island announces top winner

Penelope Stuart Bourk is the grand prize winner of this year’s Spirit of Writing contest.   - Muriel Hastings photo
Penelope Stuart Bourk is the grand prize winner of this year’s Spirit of Writing contest.
— image credit: Muriel Hastings photo

The Whidbey Island Writers Association recently announced the winners of its annual Spirit of Writing contest.

Penelope Stuart Bourk of Freeland was the grand prize winner with her winning essay “The Untended Path.” As the top prize winner, Bourk will receive a full scholarship to the Whidbey Island Writers Conference and publication in Soundings Review, the literary magazine of the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts.

Other notable winners include Patricia Brooks of Coupeville, who took first place in both poetry and fiction; Martha Martin of Langley who won the top prize in the memoir category; and Susan Jensen of Clinton who won first place for her entry in the children’s/young adult literature category. Technically, Jensen was the second place winner in the category, but was bumped into first place due to first place winner Hannah McConnaughey’s younger-than-18 status. The 13-year-old McConnaughey entered as an adult on the advice of her homeschooling English advisor to see if her work could compete. She never expected to win. In the future, the adult entry form of the Spirit of Writing Contest will be changed to include: “I am at least 18 years of age.”

Bourk was chosen as the grand prize winner from among all the first- place winners in each category.

In conjunction with Sno-Isle Libraries, the winning authors will read their work at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 13 at the Coupeville Library, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19 at the Freeland Library, at 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20 at the Oak Harbor Library and later that day at 7 p.m. at Clinton Community Hall, and at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27 at the Langley Library.

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