Vocal Curation Team
Collaborative, conscious, and committed to content. We're rounding up the best that the Vocal network has to offer.
Shining a Spotlight on the 2023 Vocal Writing Awards Shortlists
The Vocal Writing Awards concluded earlier this month with a flourish, when we announced the winners here. Now, we are delighted to share with you the incredible shortlisted entries for each category. Passing the muster of the Vocal Curation Team to be shortlisted is no small feat. The entries on this list displayed extraordinary creativity, innovation, and a profound ability to convey emotional resonance through their compositions. Please join us in honoring these entries by giving them some well-deserved reads and comments.
Snafu Senryu Winners
Dana Crandell’s ‘Hand Stamp’, the winner of our Snafu Senryu Challenge, brings humor and a thoughtful, original idea to our theme. How to convey that awkward moment in seventeen syllables, neatly dispersed over three lines? The delight of this challenge is that form and content seem perfectly matched: no one wants to linger too long over these embarrassing moments (to say the least!) and yet we can’t help giving them space in our minds. Why not make good use of that space and turn anxiety into art?
Unveiling the Winners of the 2023 Vocal Writing Awards 🥁
We've judged, you've judged, and we've all waited... It's finally time to announce the winners of the 2023 Vocal Writing Awards! This year's winners, comprised of the highest caliber works across 8 categories — haiku poetry, free verse poetry, romance fiction, young adult fiction, horror fiction, fantasy fiction, science fiction, and flash fiction — are so worth the read.
Under a Spell Challenge Winners
What makes a spell? That’s what we found ourselves thinking as we read Madi Haywood’s terrific winning story, The March of the Women. It begins with the — very real — words of Ethyl Smyth’s 1911 ’‘March of the Women’ — a song which became the anthem of the movement to get women the vote in Britain. In this stirring piece of historical fiction, Haywood not only uses wonderful images (“The short heels on their worn boots clicked the ground together, a harmonious thunder that echoed and cracked around them”) but also creates a real sense that Smyth’s song is a spell, something that has a power beyond words, that works on its own so that those who hear it cannot resist. “Once the song had begun, it couldn’t be stopped,” Haywood writes. “As long as they sung while doing their work, they couldn’t get caught.” An unusual winner, perhaps — there are no clichés of witches here, no magic in the ordinary sense. But Madi Haywood has truly absorbed the spirit of this challenge and made it their own.
Nourished Challenge Winners
We love to eat here at Vocal. We’re not fussy; we’re fine with a bowl of popcorn in front of the TV on a rainy afternoon, especially if we’re in the right company. Sometimes a crisp apple on a fall day does the trick. But food made with love is something special, something unique, and the Nourished challenge showed us how many different ways there are to express love and affection by what gets served on a plate.
Unspoken Challenge Winners
Convey a deep conversation between two individuals without uttering a single word aloud. This Challenge gave us an incredible array of heartfelt stories. We never dreamed so many intimate exchanges could be had without saying a word. Interestingly, many entries were filled with sad emotions. Loss, heartbreak, betrayal, despondency. It seems wordlessness brings us to a serious place, creatively speaking.
Extraterrestrial Challenge Winners
Write a rhyming poem about the first thing you would introduce to an alien on Earth. At first we thought this Challenge prompt was going to be an easy one. We envisioned submissions filled with quick, zany answers, bright, loud things that would impress an alien and make us laugh.
Chapters Challenge Winners
It's one of the most difficult tasks in writing. Write about yourself. Now, do it for an entire book. And make it engaging, enthralling if possible. We understand how tall an order that is so in designing this Challenge we only asked for a middle chapter, that point where things are really rolling and you're deep into your personal, historical writing journey. Still, there's not much that's easy about the middle of an autobiography either!
The 2023 Vocal Writing Awards: Community Judging is Open
Our esteemed panel of judges, led by former Times literary editor, Erica Wagner, have sieved through all of the submissions to the Vocal Writing Awards to bring forth finalists that epitomizes craft and artistry. The shortlists for all eight categories are officially live and awaiting your verdict. Vocal community, the fate of the 2023 Vocal Writing Awards is in your hands (and reading minds).
Writers Challenge Winners
It's the one thing everyone on Vocal has in common. We all started writing at some point. For some of us it may have been the first story or article we posted on Vocal. For others, it may have been in school or hiding under our covers late at night, letting the muse take over our little creative minds. Whenever it happened, we all wrote those first words. And for so many of us (let's be honest, it's why we're all on Vocal!), the love of writing stuck.
Judging the Vocal Writing Awards
Hey Vocal Creators 👋 With just 9 days left to enter, the final countdown to submission deadline has begun for the Vocal Writing Awards (VWA), a celebration of the most captivating writing contributions from our community. To ensure a transparent process, we've outlined the complete procedure in this resource article. So whether you're a participant, voter, or an eager spectator, here's everything you need to know.