Last month, the Writers’ Program hosted a luncheon in Los Angeles to honor the recipients of the 2018 James Kirkwood Literary Prize. The James Kirkwood Literary Prize is named for the late Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning author James Kirkwood, one of the Writers’ Program’s most illustrious students. Each year, instructors who have taught intermediate and advanced-level fiction courses are invited to nominate outstanding students who are then asked to submit 10-20 pages for consideration. The semi-finalists and finalists are determined by selected Writers’ Program instructors, and the winner is determined by Andrew Morse, the prize’s benefactor.

Kirkwood Finalists with benefactor Andrew Morse & Program Director Charles Jensen

The top three awardees this year were nominated by two instructors, Lou Mathews and Mark Sarvas. This year’s judges— Shauna Barbosa, Daniel Jaffe, and Maria Amparo Escandon—narrowed down all finalists to three, and Andrew decided the order of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.

Third Place: Diane Fresco, “Beyond the Smoke Sky,” nominated by Mark Sarvas (novel)

Second Place: Samantha Barron, “Plush Top,” nominated by Lou Mathews (story)

First Place: Claire Lin, “Treasure Island Alley,” nominated by Lou Mathews (story)

2018 Kirkwood Finalists (Claire Lin, winner, center)

All awardees receive a cash prize, along with a special gift from Andrew Morse (a copy of one of James Kirkwood’s books from his collection), and were treated to a luncheon with Andrew, the nominating instructors, and the Writers’ Program staff.

Congratulations to this year’s winners as well as all the talented students who were nominated!

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