Exploring the art of prose


CRAFT Creative Nonfiction Award 2022

2022 CRAFT Creative Nonfiction Award Winners

2022 CRAFT Creative Nonfiction Award

Guest Judge: Ingrid Rojas Contreras

$3,400 Awarded

Thank you again to all the writers who submitted essays to the 2022 CRAFT Creative Nonfiction Award.

We’re delighted to publish the winners and editors’ choice selections in June 2023. Congratulations to all the contest honorees listed below!


Christian Bodney: “What I Do and Don’t Remember from the Days and Nights of Endlessly Smoking Crack and Shooting Heroin”
Lotte Mitchell Reford: “On Possessing a Body”
Amber Wong: “Where Am I From?” 

Editors’ Choice Selections

Amy V. Borg: “All the Pretty Little Lies”
Rubén Degollado: “Tatuajes”


Esinam Bediako: “The Daddy Issues”
Wiam El-Tamami: “This Shattering”
Barbara Lanciers: “Somewhere Redux”
Lorena Hernández Leonard: “Killing in the Name”
Maggie Thach Morshed: “Teeth: A Family Portrait”
Jenny Sadre-Orafai: “Howl Back”
Susan Segal: “Frontierland”
Honora Spicer: “Spitting Sutures”
Tim Ziaukas: “Lullaby in Blue”
Andrew Zubiri: “America Is in the Mind”

The Rest of the Longlist

Jenny Bird: “Through a Hologram”
Michael Cannistraci: “Assembly Line”
Zoe Fowler: “Nine Admissions”
Stephanie Elizondo Griest: “Open Sesame”
Margaret Juhae Lee: “Luke Perry”
Thomas Kevin O’Rourke: “Chorus of Stones”
Fiona O’Sullivan: “He Waits for Me”

Katie Quach: “Here Comes Trouble”
Alan Sincic: “The Greyhound”
Victoria Sottosanti: “What Happened (A Montage)”

Honorable Mentions

Antoinette Bekker: “The Sensibilities of Dogs”
Allison Field Bell: “Things Men Say to Me: Some Notes on Writing”
Ren Cedar Fuller: “My Mother Told a Lie”
Diane Gottlieb: “Suspended in Flight”
Sayantika Mandal: “Kilometers to Miles”

We will return in Winter 2023 with our next creative nonfiction contest!


  • Open November 1 to December 29, 2022.
  • CRAFT submissions are open to all writers.
  • Creative nonfiction only! (Please, no academic work, fiction, or poetry.)
  • International submissions are allowed.
  • Please submit work primarily written in English, but conceptually or stylistically necessary codeswitching is warmly welcomed.
  • 6,000 word count maximum.
  • We review literary nonfiction, but are open to a variety of genres and styles including memoir, lyric essays, personal essays, narrative nonfiction, speculative nonfiction, and experimental prose—our only requirement is that you show excellence in your craft.
  • Previously unpublished work only—we do not review reprints or partial reprints, including self-published work (even if only on social media), for our contests. Reprints will be automatically disqualified.
  • We allow simultaneous submissions—writers, please notify us and withdraw your entry if your work is accepted elsewhere.
  • The $20 reading fee per entry allows ONE longform creative nonfiction piece from 1,001 to 6,000 words OR up to TWO flash creative nonfiction pieces of 1,000 words or fewer each. If submitting TWO flash pieces (2,000 words maximum combined/1,000 words maximum each), please put them both in a SINGLE document.
  • We allow multiple submissions—each entry should be accompanied by a reading fee.
  • All entries will also be considered for publication in CRAFT.
  • Please double-space your submission and use Times New Roman 12.
  • Please include a brief cover letter with your publication history (if applicable).
  • We do not require anonymous submissions.
  • We do not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, disability, family status, gender identity or expression, national origin, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation, or for any other reason.
  • Additionally, we do not tolerate discrimination in the writing we consider for publication: work we find discriminatory on any of the bases stated here will be declined without complete review (you will be refunded, less fees).


The writers of the three winning pieces will receive:
  • $1,000 each;
  • publication in CRAFT, each with an introduction by Ingrid Rojas Contreras;
  • publication of an author’s note (craft essay) to accompany the piece;
  • and a set of six titles of Graywolf’s The Art Of series.
The two writers chosen in the editors’ choice round will receive:
  • $200 each;
  • publication in CRAFT, each with an introduction by the editorial team;
  • and publication of an author’s note (craft essay) to accompany the piece.



INGRID ROJAS CONTRERAS was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her memoir, The Man Who Could Move Clouds, was named a Best Book of Summer by TIME and was a finalist for the 2022 National Book Award for Nonfiction and the 2023 Pulitzer Prize in Memoir or Autobiography. Her first novel, Fruit of the Drunken Tree, earned a silver medal for First Work of Fiction from the California Book Awards, and was a New York Times Editors’ Choice. Her essays and short stories have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Cut, Guernica, and Zyzzyva, among others. She lives in California, where she is a visiting writer at the University of San Francisco. Find her on Twitter @ingrid_rojas_c.


  • Friends, family, and associates of the guest judge are not eligible for consideration for the award.
  • Our collaboration with editorial professionals in the judging of our contests and the awarding of our prizes does not imply an endorsement or recognition from their agencies/houses/presses/universities/etc.
  • Read our 2021 contest winners for examples of work we’ve chosen in the past.
  • As we only consider unpublished writing, and will publish the winning pieces in June 2023, anything under contract to publish prior to September 2023 should not be entered.


You may choose to receive editorial feedback on your piece(s). We will provide line-level editorial notes, as well as a global letter discussing the strengths of the writing and the recommended focus for revision. While editorial feedback is inherently subjective, our criticism is always actionable and encouraging. Work that we critique is not eligible for future CRAFT contests.


GRAYWOLF PRESS is a nonprofit literary publisher of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and work in translation.

Their Mission:

Graywolf Press is a leading independent publisher committed to the discovery and energetic publication of twenty-first century American and international literature. We champion outstanding writers at all stages of their careers to ensure that adventurous readers can find underrepresented and diverse voices in a crowded marketplace. We believe works of literature nourish the reader’s spirit and enrich the broader culture, and that they must be supported by attentive editing, compelling design, and creative promotion.

BLACK LAWRENCE PRESS has also generously partnered with CRAFT to provide contest submitters a free six-month subscription to their weekly e-newsletter Sapling (a $15 value). Sapling is a wonderful resource for writers highlighting the best the small-press and indie-publishing world has to offer. The coupon code will be provided upon submission.