Entries will open for the 2018 LAURA Short Fiction Contest
from March 1 through April 30, 2018

LAURA Award Contest Criteria | LAURA Rubrics


President-elect and LAURA Coordinator, Carmen Peone is pleased to announce the LAURA Short Fiction Award Winners for 2017.

First Place: Queen of the Hill by Carmen Peone

Second Place: The Lotus by Bonnie Hobbs

Third Place: The Tent by Caroline Arlen

Fourth Place: Voices by Barbara Marshak

Fifth Place: The Bucket by Charlotte Hinger

Read the Winning Stories Here

Meet 2017 LAURA Awards Final Judge, Denise Chavez

Denise ChavezDenise Chávez is a Performance writer, Novelist, Playwright, Teacher and Cultural Activist based in Las Cruces, New Mexico. A true child of La Frontera, Chávez’s books include The King and Queen of Comezón, A Taco Testimony: Meditations on Family, Food and Culture, Loving Pedro Infante, Face of An Angel, and a short story collection, The Last of the Menu Girls. An actor, Chávez has performed her one-woman shows, Novena Narrativas and El Muro/The Wall: A Chorus of Immigrant Women's Voices throughout the U.S.

Chávez has also published a children’s book, La Mujer Que Sabía El Idioma de Los Animales/The Woman Who Knew the Language of the Animals. She is working on various children's books including The Two Delfina’s, La Hermana Ying y La Hermana Yang, and Chano’s Dream.

Chávez has a B.A. in Drama from New Mexico State University (1971), an M.F.A. in Drama from Trinity University (1974), and an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico (1984).

From 1994 to 2014, Chávez was the Executive Director of The Border Book Festival, a major national and regional book festival based in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It brought thousands of international, national, regional and local writers, artists, storytellers, filmmakers, and multi-genre artists to the borderland corridor.

Denise ChavezCurrently, Chávez is the Director of Casa Camino Real, a Bookstore and Multicultural Art Gallery, on the Historic Camino Real near the original Las Cruces town site. Booksellers on Abebooks, the independent bookstore specializes in Southwestern, Latino, Borderland, Native American and Multicultural International Books.

Chávez and her husband, photographer Daniel Zolinsky are working on the creation and development of MUSEO DE LA GENTE, a Borderland Resource Center, which will serve to preserve, document and celebrate the story of the borderland community in the Southwestern U.S. and Northern Mexico.

Chávez has a novel CITY OF CROSSES, about the homeless and dispossessed in her hometown of Las Cruces, New Mexico which is being considered for publication. She just finished a novel first draft during National Write A Novel In One Month (Nanwrimo) for a work entitled Después Te Platico/I’ll Tell You Later. She is also working on another novel, The Ghost of Esequiel Hernández.

Chávez is a deeply committed community-based artist who continues to explore the universal in the regional landscape.

Photos credit Daniel Zolinsky

The 2016 LAURA Short Fiction Contest

Women Writing the West is pleased to congratulate the authors of the five winning stories of the LAURA Short Fiction Awards.

First Place: The Marks We Leave by Patricia Bailey

Second Place: The Good Sport by Amy Hale Auker

Third Place (Tie): A Girl Named Egg by Beverly Lionberger Hodgins

Third Place (Tie): Bees to Flowers by K. Lyn Wurth

Honorable Mention: Cecile and the River by Vicki Holmsten

LAURA Short Fiction Award Winners

(Left to right): Amy Hale Auker, Patricia Bailey, Vicki Holmsten, (back) Final Judge Anne Hillerman, (front) LAURA Chair Linda Jacobs, K. Lyn Wurth, Beverly Lionberger Hodgins

Anne Hillerman was our final judge. We received a record 37 stories. With a group of writers like Women Writing the West has as members, let me tell you they were all great stories. They
ranged from the poignant to the humorous, with main characters from young girls to older women. Thanks to our three wonderful screeners who will remain anonymous - they had a very difficult, but enjoyable time finding the five highest scoring stories.

Linda Jacobs

President-elect, Women Writing the West