Gualala Arts Creative Writing Contest Awards Ceremony

The Sea Ranch Foundation, Gualala Rotary Club and Gualala Arts present

Creative Writing Contest: Creative Non-fiction

Thursday, September 8, 2016, at 7 p.m.

Gualala Arts Center



Update: Creative Writing Contest Winners

On Thursday, September 8, the annual Creative Writing contest winners were announced at a reception held in Coleman Hall at Gualala Arts Center. Organizer Frank Healy introduced each of the winning entries which were read by either the author or a representative. George Rathmell from the Sea Ranch Foundation and Michael Combs from Gualala Lions Club presented the winners’ checks.

Writing Contest winners, 2016
Left to right: George Rathmell of the Sea Ranch Foundation, Jutta Leibrock (3rd place), Michael Combs of Gualala Lions Club, Scott Foster, representing his daughter Claire Rudy Foster (2nd place). Not shown: Teresa Ferguson (1st place).


In the Adult Category, First Place winner, Teresa Ferguson from Anchor Bay, received a $ 250 check from Gualala Rotary for her essay, “Conversations with Ginny.”

Claire Rudy Foster from Stillwater Cove received a check for $ 150 for her entry, “Blessing,” read by her father Scott Foster. The $ 100 Third Place prize went to Sea Rancher Jutta Leibrock for “Berlin, Germany – The War Years.” The Sea Ranch Foundation sponsored both prizes.

The panel of judges, Clem Binnings, David Robertson and George Rathmell, received 15 coded entries so the authors would remain anonymous. Using a rubric developed by Healy, they acted separately and then met to determine the three finalists and the final order. This year there were no Youth Category submissions, so none of those prizes were awarded.

Entries ranged from a sequence of letters from a North Coast mother to her son at college to a vignette of culinary catastrophes, from a dramatic recounting of imprisonment in a Lebanese prison to a child’s night in a Berlin shelter during an Allied air raid, from a humorous piece of Point Arena history to a cathartic struggle of dealing with the loss of a daughter.

Despite the lack of Youth Category candidates, Healy said, “The contest fulfilled the wishes of founder RC Vasavada to encourage first time writers, and the number of adult entrants is a five-year high.” He added that better scheduling should improve student participation in next year’s contest, when the genre is the short story. Expect a Call to Artists in early 2017.

Creative Writing Contest Awards Ceremony

The thirteenth annual Gualala Arts Creative Writing Contest offers $ 1,000 in prize money provided by The Sea Ranch Foundation and Gualala Rotary Club who have jointly sponsored the event since its inception in 2003. This year the genre is “Creative Non-fiction,” writing of factual prose that is also literary. Memoirs, North Coast histories, biographies, character sketches and personal reflections would all qualify and are suggested topics for consideration.

This contest is open to all full or part-time coastal residents from Elk to Timber Cove who have not previously had their non-fiction published in a book or national periodical. Local and school publications are exempt. Previous contest winners in this genre are not eligible to participate.

Each submission of 1,500 words or less must be neatly typed and double spaced. It should not include the author’s name. A completed entry form with the author’s name should be included with the manuscript.

Entries must be received at Gualala Arts Center or on-line by 4 pm on Wednesday, August 31. Entry forms are available at, the Gualala Arts Center and the Coast Community Library in Point Arena. First Prize $250, Second Prize $150, and Third Prize $100 to be awarded in both Adult and Youth (13–18 years) Divisions. There is no entry fee.

Contest sponsors strongly encourage all winners to attend the Awards Ceremony on Thursday, September 8, at 7 p.m. at the Gualala Arts Center. For more information, call (707) 884-1138.


Download the 2016 Creative Writing Contest entry form.
Deadline is Wednesday, August 31 at 4 p.m.