Special to The 'Ohana

March 27, 2024
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Pictured Megan Kamalei Kakimoto

Pictured Megan Kamalei Kakimoto.

Winners chosen by guest judge Megan Kamalei Kakimoto!

Megan Kamalei Kakimoto is the Japanese and Kanaka Maoli author of the story collection Every Drop Is a Man’s Nightmare (Bloomsbury 2023), a USA Today national bestseller. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Granta, Joyland, and elsewhere. She has been a finalist for the Keene Prize for Literature and has received support from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers and is a Visiting Faculty in Fiction at Antioch University Los Angeles. A Fiction Editor for No Tokens journal, she lives in Honolulu.


Winner of the Mark David Bauer Award for Fiction:
“Yaocihuatl, Quetzal, and La Llorona” by Venus Mairena: “The experience of reading ‘Yaocihuatl, Quetzal, and La Llorona’ was one I felt deep in my gut. Evoking the Mexican folklore of La Llorona, the suspense of story immediately hooked me, but it was the subversion of La Llorona as protector in two girls’ harrowing fight to survive that had me thinking of this work long after I finished reading. Simply stunning.”

Finalists: “Bad Dog” by Jordan Yocum, “Origin” by Ness Morrison


Winner of the Andrew Opitz Award for Nonfiction:
“Detangling” by Kianna Swingle: “In ‘Detangling,’ content and form are inextricable. The narrator’s love for her mother is palpable from the opening lines, and is beautifully rendered in the evolution of her relationship to hair—her mother’s, her sisters’, and her own. An honest and tender portrait of care and loss.”

Finalists: “Did the Water Boil Over” by Rozzy Mullen, “I Just Gotta Pee” by Blake Jones


Winner of the James M. Vaughan Award for Poetry:
“Ars Poetica for the man who gave me my love of poetry” by Aspen Pawlowski: “‘Ars Poetica for the man who gave me my love of poetry’ is a moving meditation on art-making, on complicated love (which, of course, is all love), on life after loss. Its movement is deft and intriguing, and I deeply admire the emotional vulnerability contained in each line.”

Finalists: “The Wolf” by Isabelle Russel, “escapism” by Melanie Hart

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