We are thrilled to share the winners of our first-ever writing contest in partnership with District Fray Magazine! Congratulations to Indigo Eriksen, Kelsey Frenkiel, and Whitney Kenerly.
The Washington, D.C. region celebrates a rich literary past that bolsters a thriving literary present. Home to dozens of reading series and festivals, small presses, independent bookstores and creative writing programs, the DMV nurtures a literary scene that is both homegrown and internationally acclaimed. But this presence doesn’t mean there isn’t work to do to elevate the literary arts in our city. What does a writer look like? Who decides which works become a part of the canon? How can we support local writers so they can sustain a living in the District? Whose voices are being drowned out, and how can we amplify them?
Dozens of would-be Shakespeares are walking our streets, and odds are they aren’t all old British men. Now more than ever, it is vital that we make space for diverse and emerging voices in the literary arts – voices that tell the whole story of our moment in time. Indeed, one of the most important jobs a writer has is to hold a mirror to society, to help us reflect on who and what we are and, more importantly, who we want to be.
When District Fray’s outgoing deputy editor Trent Johnson (we’ll miss you, Trent!) reached out to The Inner Loop with the idea for a writing contest, our response was a resounding “Yes!” While The Inner Loop traditionally builds platforms for community engagement with writers off the page, the opportunity to publish local writers in a magazine outside of the traditional literary realm fits well with our mission to transform the written word into a shared experience. We were thrilled to have the honor of reading nearly 50 submissions in fiction, nonfiction and poetry, and ever grateful for award-winning author Rion Amilcar Scott’s generous participation as judge.
Of the three winning entries, J. Indigo Eriksen’s short fiction gives a glimpse of life through the eyes of a ghost; Whitney Kenerly’s essay reminds us that we don’t always know ourselves, or others, as well as we think; and Kelsey Frenkiel’s poem touches on the (dis)connection between mind and body. In short, what these pieces share is an unexpected view of the world – and we can never be exposed to too many of those.