I'm delighted to announce the winners of the 2022 Chapter One Prize! 

Out of a total of 801 international submissions in this blind contest, 17 chapters rose to the top for final consideration; it was truly a challenge to select the top three winners, and reading each writer's work was a pleasure and a privilege. In addition to the three winners, five writers were selected for honorable mention status, and nine were selected as notable. This year's winners are from Australia, France, Great Britain, India, New Zealand, Oman, Sweden and the United States. 

The writers showcased on this page represent a variety of genres for both adults and young adults. What their chapters shared in common is that while reading, I found myself feeling in utterly capable hands, enjoying myself as a reader (versus editor), fully immersed in the prose. As the judge, I was looking for the following elements, and each of these writers ticked all the boxes: a clear point of view; a tone appropriate to the genre and story; an introduction to the protagonist; a sense of what the story would be about; a gripping opening scene; a vivid setting or settings; and a chapter ending that urged readers on to the second chapter. 

Thanks to all who submitted, and congratulations to our winners. Outstanding work, everyone.

Please read the winning chapters and follow these authors; they're all writers to watch!

Hutch Hill

FIRST PRIZE ($1,000)

HUTCH HILL, The Gibbous, Literary Fiction

Austin, Texas, United States

Timothy Jay Smith


TIMOTHY JAY SMITH, The Syrian Pietà, Political Thriller

Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, France

Sean David Robinson


SEAN DAVID ROBINSON, Beyond the Overcast Sky, Dystopian Fiction

Asheville, North Carolina, United States


These five entries really stood out among the top 17 finalists.

Josephine Greenland, Eskilstuna, Södermanland, Sweden, for Wolf Hour, Crime Thriller

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Diane Nicholls, Palmview, Queensland, Australia, for an unnamed novel, Historical Crime Fiction

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Laura Preble, El Cajon, California, United States, for Jiffy Down Under, Contemporary Fiction 

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Michelle Schmidtke, Winthrop, Washington, United Statesfor Roughshod, Women's Fiction

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Catherine Taylor, Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand, for an unnamed novel, Erotic Thriller

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Thomas Andrew Green, Kennesaw, Georgia, United States, for Unfolding, Historical Fiction

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Stephanie Doyon, Topsham, ME, United States, for The Liberation of Ovid Kingsley, Contemporary Fiction

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Lu Hersey, Glastonbury, Somerset, Great Britain, for After the Scorch, Dystopian Fiction

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Todd Johnson, Edina, Minnesota, United States, for A Hemingway Tale, Thriller

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Suzanne McKenna Link, Sayville, New York, United States, for Girl Fight, Women's Fiction/Romance

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Raazia Sajid, Ruwi, Muscat, Oman, for New Places, Literary Fiction

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Shylashri Shankar, New Delhi, Delhi, India for Blood Caste, Historical Crime Fiction

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Shira Shiloah, Memphis, Tennessee, United States, for Grave Intervention, Paranormal Suspense 

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Greg Tulonen, Auburn, Maine, United States, for Dr. Xivray and the Presidential Peril, Science Fiction/Adventure

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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.


Karen Palmer is the author of the novels All Saints and Border Dogs. She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a MacDowell fellowship, and grants from the Colorado Council on the Arts. Her essay, “The Reader Is the Protagonist,” published in Virginia Quarterly Review, was selected by Leslie Jamison for inclusion in Best American Essays 2017; her short story, “Virtuoso Mio,” received a Pushcart Prize and is anthologized in The Bedford/St. Martin’s Introduction to Literature. Other writing has appeared in The Rumpus, The Kenyon Review, The Denver Post, Five Points, Arts & Letters, The Manifest-Station, and Kalliope. Karen has taught at UCLA Extension and at Lighthouse Writers in Denver, Colorado, and is currently working on a memoir and a novel.



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



Jessica McCann is a historical novelist and has worked for 30 years as a professional writer for magazines, universities, corporations and other organizations. Her debut novel, All Different Kinds of Free, was awarded the Freedom in Fiction Prize; her second novel, Peculiar Savage Beauty, was named Arizona Book of the Year and shortlisted for the international Rubery Book Award. McCann’s entry in the Chapter One Prize is from her novel-in-progress, Bitter Thaw. In all of her writing, McCann endeavors to share stories of ordinary people overcoming adversity to accomplish extraordinary things. 

McCann’s most recent release is a nonfiction book that offers a unique glimpse into her writing journey and process. In Words: Essays on Writing, Reading, and Life, McCann shares writing tips and her passion for books, as well as research that shows how reading improves our lives and connecting with nature improves creativity. With a philosophy that is equally pragmatic and optimistic, Words appeals to readers and writers alike.

Connect with Jessica: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads 



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.



Sean David Robinson is an author and playwright from Asheville, North Carolina. As a writer of speculative fiction, he enjoys exploring the intersection of the scientific and the mythical, finding kinship with characters who toil between the boundaries of logic and hope. BEYOND THE OVERCAST SKY is his debut novel. He lives with his brilliant wife and three mischievous cats.



Born in Richmond, VA, Hutch Hill studied writing and literature at Sarah Lawrence College in New York before enjoying some adventures and misadventures abroad and at home. Eventually he settled in Austin, TX where he lives with his wife and daughters and animals. He started writing in middle school and somehow never managed to stop. He is extremely surprised and grateful to be part of this announcement.