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Results for the Annual Cupboard contest

MEET our winner!

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Lia Woodall

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The Cupboard was founded for  pieces like this — visual/visceral, mysterious/mournful. A writer takes her grief over her lost brother and tries to puzzle through it. Astounding work: the nonlinear form, the clear-eyed prose, this is bold and true.

_ Nick White, 2019 Cupboard Contest judge.

Lia Woodall is an award-winning essayist who experiments with form to explore her experiences of twin loss to suicide and the roles played in her family of origin. Her work has been published in or is forthcoming from under the gum tree, Literal Latté, Sonora Review, Crack the Spine, South Loop Review and Best American Experimental Writing 2020 (digital edition). She is working on a collection called “Leaving Twinbrook”.

AND OUR editors' choices

|   Along with the winner we have chosen three more manuscripts to receive $300 and publication in 2020   |


J. S. DeYoung

Waiting for the Miracle

J. S. DeYoung is a writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. His fiction has appeared The Los Angeles Review, The New Orleans Review, and Best American Mystery Stories, and his reviews have appeared in a range of venues including Music and Literature, 3:AM Magazine, Review 31, and Numéro Cinq.

Thomas Israel Hopkins

What I Remember of My Love Affair with the Bird and Other Stories

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Stories by Thomas Israel Hopkins have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Cincinnati Review, and One Story, among other publications. He has also written for Bookforum, Tablet, and Poets & Writers. Tom lives in Oberlin, Ohio, the birthplace of the Anti-Saloon League, with his wife and their sons.

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Kara Dorris & Gwendolyn Paradice 

Carnival Bound

Kara Dorris is the author of two poetry collections: Have Ruin, Will Travel (Finishing Line Press, 2019) and When the Body is a Guardrail (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming 2020). She has also published four chapbooks: Elective Affinities (dancing girl press, 2011), Night Ride Home (Finishing Line Press, 2012), Sonnets from Vada’s Beauty Parlor & Chainsaw Repair (dancing girl press, 2018), and Untitled Film Still Museum (CW Books, 2019). Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, DIAGRAM, Hayden Ferry Review, Puerto del Sol, and Crazyhorse, among others literary journals, as well as the anthology Beauty is a Verb (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011). Her prose has appeared in Wordgathering, Breath and Shadow, Waxwing, and the anthology The Right Way to be Crippled and Naked (Cinco Puntos Press, 2016). She earned a PhD in literature and poetry at the University of North Texas. Currently, she is a visiting assistant professor of English at Illinois College. For more information, please visit  

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Gwendolyn Paradice is hearing impaired, queer, and a member of the Cherokee Nation; she’s also a weightlifter and heavy metal aficionado. Her writing has earned nominations for both the Pushcart and Best American Essays, and her nonfiction, fiction, and poetry have appeared in Assay, Crab Orchard Review, Brevity, Fourth River, Booth, and others. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Missouri, where she lives with her partner. Her first book, a collection of short stories titled More Enduring for Having Been Broken, was the Black Lawrence Press 2019 Hudson Prize winner, and is forthcoming January 2021.

Our Finalists



Jennifer Quartararo | An Arbitrary Formation of Unspecified Value

Nicole Rivas | Blood and Butter

Mel Bosworth & Ryan Ridge | Microwaved Days

Jesse AndersonRosita

Emily CarrSuspend Your Disbelief

honorable mentions

Clinton Craig | Dear Conor

Isaac Yuen | EC(O)CENTRIC

Jacob Guajardo | Good News Is Coming

Tara Stillions WhiteheadNot for Syndication

Jeneva Burroughs StoneR: An Aftermath

Benjamin Davis | Sisyphus Tripped

Jeremy Packert Burke | The Analog

Michael Martone | Winesburg Appendix

past winners

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