So to Speak Nonfiction Contest Results

So to Speak is excited to announce the winner and finalist from this year’s Nonfiction contest, judged by Barbara Hurd!

Winner: Catherine Jagoe, “Things that Matter”

I cannot hold onto any of it, not this shining day, not the sensation of being entered and filled and entering another, not my son’s body, or my husband’s, or my mother’s, or my own. I can’t stop the hemorrhaging, the loss and destruction within us and around us. All I can hope to do is to notice, to be aware, to be truly alive while it happens.

Catherine Jagoe is a translator and writer based in Madison, Wisconsin. She recently won a Pushcart Prize and the Council for Wisconsin Writers 2014 Kay W. Levin Award for an essay in Gettysburg Review. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Casting Off (Parallel Press, 2007) and News from the North (Finishing Line Press, 2015), and her poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and Poetry Daily. Her poetry and creative nonfiction has been published in numerous literary magazines. She is a contributor to Wisconsin Public Radio’s Wisconsin Life series. Her website is

Finalist: Christine Stewart-Nuñez, “Once Upon a Tower”

Some describe it as an attack, a good vs. evil brain battle. It’s as if the shimmer of a magic mirror draws him in, and when he touches its liquid surface, ripples move through the nerves to his brain. Synapses surge in his temporal lobe, and the wave moves out. His conscious mind stumbles off some precipice…And despite modern medicine, the magic of how Holden’s brain functions—or stumbles—is a mystery. Until one of his seizures resolves, I must protect him.

Christine Stewart-Nuñez is the author of six poetry collections, including UNTRUSSED (forthcoming from the University of New Mexico Press 2016), Keeping Them Alive (2011), and Postcard on Parchment (2008). Her work has appeared in a variety of journals, including Arts & Letters, Calyx, North American Review, and Prairie Schooner. In addition, her piece “An Archeology of Secrets” was included by David Brooks as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2012. Current projects include a manuscript of poetry and memoir about raising a child with special needs. She teaches creative writing at South Dakota State University.


The So to Speak Staff would like to thank Barbara Hurd and all of this year’s entrants. The full essays by the winner and finalist will be published in a limited-run print edition, which will be available in March 2016.

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