I'm delighted to announce the winners of the 2023 Page One Prize, selected in a blind contest from 793 submissions. Congratulations to our three winners, three notables, and eleven honorable mentions. 

Thanks to everyone who entered the 2023 Page One Prize—please join me in congratulating our winners!

Beth Killion

Beth Killion
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Carrie Naughton

Carrie Naughton
Tucson, Arizona, USA


Timothy Jay Smith
Nice, Alpes-Maritimes,France



The following three entries really stood out among the top 17 finalists.

Desiree Kannel


San Antonio, Texas, USA
Alex Bolsover


Aldershot, UK
April Snellings


Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA

Read page one of The Electric Girls (Historical Fantasy)

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Honorable Mentions

VICTORIA BELL, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 

Victoria Bell

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LISA BORDEN, Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Lisa Borden

RAMON GARCIA, Toms River, New Jersey, USA

Ramon Garcia Vazquez



Read the first page of The Bone Trench (Dark Contemporary Fantasy)

Ellen Morris Prewitt

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MERI ROBIE, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Meri Robie-Craven

STELLA ROTHE, Detroit, Michigan, USA

Stella Rothe

GREG TULONEN, Auburn, Maine, USA

Greg Tulonen

LIZ TUCKER, Truckee, California, USA

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Christine Walter

LORRAINE DEVON WILKE, Playa del Rey, California, USA

Read the first page of Chick Singer (Women's Contemporary)

Lorraine Devon Wilke


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.

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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. 




Janice Mamukwa is a Zimbabwean writer, lyricist and EFL teacher. She discovered her love for language and storytelling as soon as she could read, devouring every book she could find in the house (including the Encyclopedia). Janice has taught English as a foreign language in Germany and Austria. She studied Art History at the Humboldt University in Berlin and Creative Writing at the University of South Africa. Since 2018, she has lived in the UK. There, she writes poetry and short stories in English, Shona, and German, the three languages that fight for dominance in her creative practice. In September 2022, she will begin her master’s studies at the University of Oxford.



Tom Howard is the author of the short story collection Fierce Pretty Things (Indiana University Press), winner of the Blue Light Books Prize. He received his MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His short fiction has appeared, among other places, in Ninth Letter, Colorado Review, Carve, Tin House, and Booth, and he's currently at work on a novel. He lives with his wife in Arlington, Virginia.



Jennifer Lauren has worked as a journalist, fundraising director, yoga instructor, and most recently spent thirteen years as a litigation attorney in Seattle. In 2020, she moved across the country to Austin, Texas, because she could no longer abide the rain or the cutthroat word of litigation.

Jennifer now writes legal thrillers about women, as well as nonfiction essays about issues facing women in the United States. Her work is featured on Manifest-Station and has won multiple awards from Women On Writing. Jennifer loves working with and supporting other writers. 

Find her at jenniferlauren.net or email her at jlauren.writer [at] gmail [dot] com.

Play Me Backwards is a legal thriller based on the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, which shut down hundreds of daycares across the country based on little more than collective hysteria. Jennifer hopes to finish it this year.



Beth Killion calls Minneapolis home. Hers is a full house – two children (sometimes off at college), two dogs (never far from her feet) and a husband that is occasionally underfoot as well on Fridays. Yes, winters are cold and summers have more than their fair share of mosquitos, but the singing spring frogs, the apple-eating deer, the hosta-munching rabbits, and the occasional prehistoric snapping turtle crawling out from the wetlands make the heavy winter coats and the citronella candles worth it. Beth spends most of her free time daydreaming about retirement from the strategy consulting firm she founded 17 years ago so that she can fulfill her dream of writing full-time.

She’s currently completing a Master’s degree in Creative Writing and Literature at Harvard University’s Extension School and (fingers crossed!) will graduate in early 2024. But in an effort to have as many tasks on her to-do list as possible, she’s committing to friends and strangers alike that her novel-in-progress will be query ready by the end of 2023. Always writing. Never not working. Beth’s motto lately.

Follow along on Instagram as Beth launches her writing career or on her website where she is getting ready to launch several fun features for readers and writers alike. Subscribe now and you’ll be in the know on all her exploits in the coming year!




Carrie Naughton is a freelance bookkeeper and writer living in Tucson, Arizona. She balances her time between numbers and words, spreadsheets and poetry. Otherwise, she's out riding her bike. Her poetry has been published in Strange Horizons, Star*Line, and Crab Creek Review, and she writes the eclectic Carrie This newsletter. Her novels blend genres, share characters, and weave together multiple timelines with her love of music, dialogue, and adventure. Find her at carrienaughton.com.



Raised crisscrossing America pulling a small green trailer behind the family car, Timothy Jay Smith developed a ceaseless wanderlust that has taken him around the world many times. En route, he’s found the characters that people his work. Polish cops and Greek fishermen, mercenaries and arms dealers, child prostitutes and wannabe terrorists, Indian Chiefs and Indian tailors: he’s hung with them all in an unparalleled international career that saw him smuggle banned plays from behind the Iron Curtain, maneuver through Occupied Territories, represent the U.S. at the highest levels of foreign governments, and stowaway aboard a ‘devil’s barge’ for a three-day crossing from Cape Verde that landed him in an African jail.

Tim brings the same energy to his writing that he brought to a distinguished career, and as a result, he has won top honors for his novels, screenplays and stage plays in numerous prestigious competitions. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel, and his screenplay adaptation of it was named Best Indie Script by WriteMovies. Another novel, The Fourth Courier, set in Poland, published in 2019 by Arcade Publishing, received tremendous reviews, and was a finalist for Best Gay Mystery in the 2020 Lambda Literary Awards. Previously, he won the Paris Prize for Fiction (now the Paris Literary Prize) for his novel, A Vision of Angels. Kirkus Reviews called Cooper’s Promise “literary dynamite” and selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012. 

Tim was nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize. His stage play, How High the Moon, won the prestigious Stanley Drama Award, and his screenplays have won competitions sponsored by the American Screenwriters Association, WriteMovies, Houston WorldFest, Rhode Island International Film Festival, Fresh Voices, StoryPros, and the Hollywood Screenwriting Institute. He is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater.