The Return of Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman

May 31, 2019
If you are an emerging writer with unpublished work and a yen to attend the Kentucky Women Writers Conference, you should consider submitting to our Betty Gabehart Prizes. They are unique prizes that offers full tuition to attend our conference on Sept. 19-22, enrollment in a two-part writing workshop, and $300, which winners can use to defray travel and lodging. Further, you are given a platform: not the metaphorical one that agents are always talking about, but a real stage, at our conference. Each winner is invited to read her work paired with another featured presenter. This “opening act” treatment is a tried-and-true method on the music scene for exposing new artists to wider audiences, and we like the impact it’s had on our Gabehart winners as well. This year’s pairings will be:

  • The Gabehart Fiction winner will read with Chantel Acevedo, professor of Creative Writing at the University of Miami and author of 3 novels, including Love and Ghost Letters, winner of the Latino International Book Award
  • The Gabehart Poetry winner will read with DaMaris Hill, author of the new collection A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing, on tour now throughout the U.S.
  • The Gabehart Nonfiction winner will read with Darcey Steinke, author of 5 novels and two memoirs, including the forthcoming Flash Count Diary

At the very least, these pairings mean that a renowned author is listening closely to your work, and it can sometimes lead to an informal mentoring relationship.
            So, because of a glitch with the webform, we are extending our online submission deadline for Gabehart applications to June 9 at this link .  (The snail-mail submission deadline will remain as “postmarked by June 1.”)
Our Gabehart winners are a special category of alumni to us, and we love hearing news of their future endeavors. Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman won our Gabehart nonfiction prize in 2016 and this year saw her memoir Sounds Like Titanic published by Norton. It has earned rave reviews from the New Yorker, O: The Oprah Magazine, and NPR. Jessica was recently interview by the Rumpus, and her interviewer was none other than KyWomenWriters alum Linsey Maum. Linsey wrote alerting me to this wonderful interview and said,
I attended the Kentucky Women Writers Conference in 2015 and 2016 and had the pleasure of meeting Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman at both of those conferences. We were both writing memoirs and were in a workshop together each year: first Meghan Daum's memoir workshop in 2015, and then Barrie Jean Borich's nonfiction workshop in 2016. Jessica and I have stayed connected in the years since, and this month Jessica published her debut memoir, Sounds Like Titanic. I was one of Jessica's advance readers and also interviewed her about her book. I discuss our history at the conference in my intro to the piece! Thank you so much for all of the support you provide women writers. I loved my experience at both conferences I attended, and hope to make it back for another one soon.
Completing this virtuous circle, Jessica will read in our Stars of the Commonwealth series on September 22--and it all began with her entry in the Gabehart Prize! Submit your work by June 9 and envision that pathway for yourself.