I'm delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 Page One Prize, selected in a blind contest from 615 submissions. Congratulations to our three winners, five honorable mentions, and six finalists. 

Thanks to everyone who entered the 2021 Page One Prize—please join me in congratulating our winners.

Sharon Gelman
Potomac, Maryland, USA

Jennifer Steil

Jennifer Steil
Tashkent, Uzbekistan



Notable Honorable Mentions

The following two entries really stood out among the top 15 finalists.


Vancouver, Washington, USA


Poulsbo, Washington, USA

Honorable Mentions


Gail Greiner, Nyack, New York, USA – Read the first page of Conversations With Boys and Men

Christine Herbert, Kirkland, Washington, USA – Read the first page of PrideWebsite  |  Facebook   |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Marti Leimbach, Berkshire, England, UK  Read the first page of Academy One 

Kimberly Moore, Arlington, Kentucky, USA  Read the first page of IlluminareWebsite  |  Twitter

April Schofield, Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA  Read the first page of Blood at the Root 

Michelle Tom, Mulgrave, Victoria, AU  Read the first page of Lower Animals Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram


Annie Dawid teaches creative writing at the University College, University of Denver. She was formerly professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. Her Page One Prize winning entry was taken from her novel Standing Beside Love, which was a finalist in three contests: the Retreat West competition, the Dana Awards in the Novel and the Faulkner novel-in-progress award.

“The Closer You Were, the Less You Knew,” won the 2019 Sequestrum Reprint Award and was published on that website in Spring 2020. Annie won second place in the 2018 London Independent Story Prize. In 2016, she won the International Rubery Award in fiction for her first book and the Music Prize from Knuthouse Press in Fiction. Other awards include the Dana Award in the Essay, the Orlando Flash Fiction Award, The New Rocky Mountain Voices Award (drama) and the Northern Colorado Award in Creative Non-Fiction.

Most recent publications: London Independent Story Project (2020), Pure Slush, Spelk, Arts & Letters, London Independent Story Prize, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Casket of Fictional Delights, Fictive Dream, Reflex Fiction, Windmill, and Joyland; non-fiction in Wordrunner Echapbook. and a poetry chapbook, Anatomie of the World, Finishing Line Press, 2017.



Michael was reading by the age of four, plowing through classics like Treasure Island before the first grade. In third grade he produced a playground version of Helen of Troy so he could cast himself as Paris, and Linda Leonard as Helen. She had great freckles. A poem about discovering lint in his navel and a story about fighting monsters on Mars soon followed, but in high school he fell in love with acting, and added that to his repertoire. 

In the late-1970’s, armed with English and Drama degrees, he taught writing, drama, and technology for two decades, but continued to act and write. One of his stories, Loonie Louie, placed in the top 100 of the 1989 Writer’s Digest’s Short Story contest. The 1990’s saw his one-act play, Baum in Limbo, produced in Houston. His screenplay, An Ordinary Day, survived the first round of cuts in the 2005 season of Project Greenlight, beating out over 5,000 other scripts. 

He retired from Rice in 2009, and lives with his wife, Minay, in a suburb of Houston, where he is hard at work on a third novel, The Hawthorn’s Sting (another thriller). Ideas for a few more are also floating around somewhere in that scary place he calls his brain.



Victoria Bell is an editor and writer based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia. In fiction, she’s interested in exploring the things people do to one another, whether on a nation-wide basis or within a family — she's currently working on a trilogy set in South Africa during the dying days of Apartheid, while she's also polishing up her novel The Weight of Air, about a mother-son relationship imploding within the dangerous, pressurized environment of a mountaineering expedition in Argentina.

Follow her on Twitter.



Jennifer Steil is a writer, teacher, and secret ballet dancer who lives in many countries (currently Uzbekistan). She’s the author of Exile Music, which won the Grand Prize in the international Eyelands 2020 Book Awards and was a finalist for the 2021 Lambda Literary Lesbian Fiction Award, the Bisexual Book Award, and the Annie Award; the novel The Ambassador’s Wife, which won the Phillip McMath Post Publication book award and the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Best Novel Award; The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, a memoir about running a newspaper in Yemen; and many short stories and essays. Jennifer also mentors writers through Onward Literary Mentoring.

Instagram  |  Twitter  |  Facebook



Sharon Gelman is a writer, editor, and human rights activist who believes in the power of art to help bring societal change. She was the longtime executive director of Artists for a New South Africa, a nonprofit working in partnership with African activist leaders to end apartheid and address endemic inequality. 

Gelman produced the award-winning audiobook Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales, penning the opening track for Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Published by Hachette in 2009, it was directed by Alfre Woodard and featured a diverse cast of notable actors. Gelman also wrote the afterword for Hachette’s unabridged audiobook of Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom

Gelman was U.S. managing editor of 200 Women: Who Will Change the Way You See the World, published in 2017 by Chronicle, affording her the opportunity to feature and/or interview Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, Isabel Allende, Margaret Atwood, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Angela Davis, Alicia Garza, Roxane Gay, Dolores Huerta, Geena Rocero, and Jody Williams, among other remarkable women.

Gelman is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, a proud member of Macondo Writers, and grateful for fellowships, residencies, and workshops at Vermont Studio Center, Tin House, Bread Loaf, Fine Arts Work Center, Deep Creek Writers, and the Norman Mailer Center.

Gelman is at work on her first novel, which tells the interwoven stories of South African and American characters, both Black and white, whose lives have all been affected by apartheid and their efforts to end it yet in very different ways.