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Women Writing the West is pleased to announce The 2021 LAURA Short Fiction Award finalists in no particular order:

“The Pretender” by Karen Jones
“Lila’s Song” by Jane Coletti Perry
“Mountain Trout” by Heather Ormsby

Congratulations, ladies!
*The winners of our annual LAURA Short Fiction Award will be announced at our virtual conference in October, and the final three stories will be published here in the LAURA Journal.

The LAURA Short Fiction Award is open to members of WWW only.

Join or Renew your membership here.

Entry Period for the 2021 LAURA Short Fiction Award has closed.

In 2007, President-Elect Kathleen Ernst presented a seed of an idea to the WWW Board of Directors. Her proposal, a short story contest, offered a threefold foundation: showcase WWW members’ writing talents, celebrate the short story form, and add another benefit to membership. Unlike the WILLA Literary Awards, only WWW members would be eligible to enter their previously unpublished story featuring a female protagonist, and set in the American West, past, present or future.

Approaching its second year, the WWW Short Story Contest gained a new name: the LAURA Award. Mirroring a part of the traditions of our WILLA Literary Award, which is named after one of America’s foremost authors, Willa Cather, the Short Story Committee decided to give the contest a recognized name, as well. In honor of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the contest was christened the LAURA Award.

WWW members enthusiastically embraced the contest. Spurred by members’ requests to have an opportunity to read the winning stories, and eager to showcase the extraordinary talent of our members, the WWW LAURA Committee decided to present a collection of the winning stories in an online journal, available here, at the WWW website.

So, sit down, pull up to your computer, and take a trip with us through the American West. We have a hunch Ms.Wilder herself would be mightily entertained!

Sarah Cortez, 2021 LAURA Short Fiction Award Judge

2021 Final Judge Sarah Cortez

Sarah Cortez, a Councilor of the Texas Institute of Letters, Fellow of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, and Fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, has poems, essays, book reviews, and short stories anthologized and published in journals, such as Texas Monthly, Rattle, The Sun, Pennsylvania English, Texas Review,Louisiana Literature, Arcadia,Langdon Review ofthe Arts, The Midwest Quarterly, Southwestern American Literature.  Winner of the PEN Texas Literary Award, her debut poetry collection is How to Undress a Cop.Her books haveplaced as finalists in the Writers’ League of Texas awards, Los Angeles Book Festival Awards, and the PEN Southwest Poetry Awards. An anthologist of eight volumes, she has won the Southwest Book Award of the Year, multiple International Latino Book Awards, Border Region Librarians Assn. Award, Press Women of Texas Editing Award, and the Skipping Stones International Honor AwardHer most recent anthology is Vanishing Points: Poems and Photographs of Texas Roadside Memorials combining the stunning photographs of Texas roadside memorials by photographer Dan Streck and poems.  This book has already been named a 2016 Southwest Book of the Year, won an International Latino Book Award, and won the prestigious First Place in Editing from the National Federation of Press Women.  Ms. Cortez is a recent finalist for Texas poet laureate.

WWW is pleased to announce the 2020 LAURA Short Fiction Award
Winner and Finalists


Wild Dogs, by Milana Marsenich

Milana Marsenich has two published novels, Copper Sky and The Swan Keeper. Copper Sky was a 2018 Spur Award Finalist for Best Western Historical Novel. The Swan Keeper was a 2019 WILLA Literary Award Finalist for Original Softcover Fiction. Her website is milanamarsenich.com.

Second Place

Taking the Bull By the Horns, by Candace Simar

Candace Simar loves to imagine how things might have been. Her historical novel, Shelterbelts, was a finalist for a Willa Award and her story, Night Riding, won the Laura Award in 2018. Her work has also been recognized by the Western Writers of America, the Will Roger Medallion Awards, the Western Fictioneer, and the Midwest Book Awards. For more information visit www.candacesimar.com

Third Place

The Homestead, by Patrica Dryfus

Patricia Dreyfus is published in The Best Travel Writing, Los Angeles Times, Daily Pilot, She Writes Anthology, Three Minus One. Twins Magazine, The California Quarterly.
Patricia is a member of “The Writing Well,” PEN, Greater Los Angeles Writers Society, Academy of American Poets, LA Poets-Writers Collective, AWP, California State Poetry Society,
Amherst Writers, IWWG, Story Circle Network, The  Thursday Writers Critique.
She lives in Corona del Mar, CA with her first and favorite husband, Gary. Her website is patriciadreyfus-writer.com

Previous LAURA Short Fiction Award Winners and Finalists

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