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

Apply for the LAURA Award

(Entry opens March 1)

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 Unlike the WILLA Literary Awards, only WWW members would be eligible to enter their previously unpublished story featuring a female protagonist, and set in the American West, past, present or future.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!

I am pleased to announce that the 2019 LAURA Short Fiction Awards Winner and Finalists are:

2019 LAURA Short Fiction winners

Winner: The Blink of an Eye by B.K. Froman

Second Place:Goldie Hawn at the Good Karma Café by Lynn Downey

Third Place: Freedom by Lenore Mitchell

I would like to thank all Women Writing the West members who submitted their short fiction to the 2019 LAURA Awards.

The final selection process proved extremely difficult for our screeners, who did not know the identity of any author, and who screened according to the LAURA rubric found on the WWW website. Additionally, no screener knew who else was selected to screen, and they themselves will remain anonymous. If you were a screener and you are reading this, THANK YOU—the LAURA Awards depends on members like you who are willing to support the efforts of fellow members.

A determination of first, second, and third placements was made by our final judge DiAnn Mills, and were announced at the 2019 Women Writing the West Conference, held in San Antonio, TX.


Amy Nowak – 2019 President Elect and LAURA Chairperson

Previous LAURA Short Fiction Award Winners and Finalists

western scenery

LAURA Journals

LAURA Archives:
2008 & 2009 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019

Molly Gloss, Final Judge for the 2020 LAURA Award

2020 Final Judge Molly Gloss

Molly Gloss is the author of six novels as well as the story collection UNFORESEEN. She has received, among other honors, a PEN West Fiction Prize, an Oregon Book Award, two Pacific Northwest Booksellers Awards, the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, and a Whiting Writers Award.  Her work, both science fiction and realist fiction, most often concerns the landscape, history, mythology and life of the American West.