Congratulations to the Betty Gabehart Prize winners!

July 31, 2020
Not everyone can be Taylor Swift, coming out with a surprise album written during the pandemic that’s earning ecstatic reviews. But this year’s Betty Gabehart Prize winners in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction are to be commended for also not letting the many crises of 2020 prevent them from submitting beautiful and serious work that wowed the judges on our Board of Directors. Without further ado, I extend my heartiest congratulations to:

  • Marci Cornett of Morehead, Kentucky, for the short story, “The Black Veil”
  • Amanda Hawkins of Woodland, California, for “Ars Poetica” and other poems
  • Lisa Kent of Columbia, Missouri, for the essay “Death, Rock Me to Sleep”
  • Honorable mention in fiction goes to Katie McDougall of Nashville for “Howling Baby Arch.”
  • Honorable mentions in poetry go to Linda Bryant of Berea for “An Artist Knows” and other poems; and Nancy Cook of St. Paul, Minnesota, for “Daphne, Reincarnate.”

Each winner receives a $300 honorarium, full tuition support to attend the conference and enroll in a small-group workshop, and the opportunity to give a reading during the conference paired with another featured presenter. The contest is open to women writers everywhere and is judged blindly by our Board of Directors. No disrespect to Amanda Hawkins and Lisa Kent, but we are extra thrilled when a winner turns out to be a Kentuckian: hooray for the home team, Marci Cornett!
I also want to give a shout out to another home team writer, Joy Priest, whom we hope to feature at our conference in 2021. Joy’s first poetry collection, Horsepower, won the 2019 Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and is forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press. She has a fascinating essay on the “Black Bildungsroman” in this week’s Poets & Writers online, in which she explores how the venerable tradition of the coming-of-age novel has a different arc and meaning when the protagonist is a person of color. I encourage you to check it out.
If you are hoping to enroll in a small-group creative writing workshop at this year’s Kentucky Women Writers Conference-Virtual Edition, please act soon. There are only a few slots left in workshops led by Jami Attenberg, Bridgett M. Davis, Amy Hempel, and Darcey Steinke. Evie Shockley’s workshop is sold out. If the workshop you want becomes sold out, we will gladly put your name for a waiting list. Workshop descriptions are given here, and the complete conference schedule is shown here.
Dates for KyWomenWriters2020 will be Sept. 10–13, 2020, and registration began on July 1, 2020. For more information, please visit our website or call 859-257-2874. To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please email your request to