2019 Writing Contest Winners Announced

Fugue is extremely excited to officially announce the winners of the 2019 Writing Contest, as chosen by guest judges Aisha Sabatini Sloan and Chen Chen!


Jen Soriano—“War-Fire”

Of Soriano’s piece, Aisha Sabatini Sloan says:

I found myself thinking about this essay for days. By offering a vivid, almost cinematic look into how this particular author embodies ancestral story and trauma, the essay illuminates, with scientific precision, the ways that history lives in the bloodstream. 

Photo: Naomi Ishisaka

Photo: Naomi Ishisaka

Jen Soriano (she/they) is a Filipinx-American writer based in Seattle. They are a 2019 Jack Jones Yi Dae Up Fellow and winner of the 2019 Penelope Niven Prize. “War-Fire” is an excerpt of her lyric memoir in progress about historical trauma, colonization and the neuroscience of healing.


Kaylie Johnson—“Love Poem with Jellies”

Of Johnson’s piece, Chen Chen says:

“Love Poem with Jellies” begins with God and ends with a peach, vanilla ice cream, and smoke. In between, an I, a you, and desire. What gorgeous alchemy, this poem. Devilishly physical, muscular, these lines. What reinventing and gleeful dreaming of love.


Kaylie Johnson is a poet from Grand Rapids, MI. She received her MFA in creative writing from the Helen Zell Writers' Program at the University of Michigan. Her work has been published in Shark Reef and Dunes Review. Kaylie currently lives and works in Ann Arbor with her cat Wallaby.


Joseph Aguirre—“L'encyclopédie du Mime: Selected Entries”

Of Aguirre’s piece, Aisha Sabatini Sloan says:

This beautifully executed story, or collection of story fragments, creates a world unto itself, managing to embody the spirit of a mime in its telling-- at once clever, political, devastating, and comic.


Karthik Sethuraman—"The River"

Of Sethuraman’s piece, Chen Chen says:

“The River” unfolds as piercing scenes of loss, of grief—the poem is an unfolding, the ongoing knife-feeling of unmoored. Here, a grandmother’s presence/absence is seen and rendered with such textured precision that the reader aches, alongside.

A huge thank you to our judges, as well as everyone who submitted to this year's contest! Winners receive $1,000 and publication in the upcoming print issue of Fugue. We received a large number of submissions and enjoyed reading everyone's work with care, and we can’t wait to see what everyone's been working on this summer when our general submission period re-opens September 1st. For now, keep an eye out for these pieces in our next print issue!