Annual Gualala Arts Writing Contest winners

Winners Announcement

Tuesday, May 16

Coleman Hall

From left George Rathmell, Priscilla Vega, Beverly Battaglia, Janet Pierucci, Rosann Grunig, and Rotarian and presenter, Jim DeWilder.

On Tuesday, May 16 the 15th Annual Gualala Arts Writing Contest winners were announced at a reception held in Coleman Hall at Gualala Arts.  Organizer Frank Healy introduced each of the winning short story entries which were read to the audience.  The Sea Ranch Foundation represented by George Rathmell sponsored the Youth category prizes and the Gualala Rotary, represented by Jim DeWilder, sponsored the adult division.  Gualala Arts hosted the reception.

In the Adult Category First Place winner, Gualala resident Beverly Battaglia received a $250 check for her entry entitled “The Modern Use of Pronouns.” Sea Rancher Rozann Grunig received a check for $150 for her second place entry, “In the Palm of My Hand.” The $100 third place prize went to part-time Sea Rancher Janet Pierucci for “The Saga of the Glenville Seven.”

In the Youth Division (18 and younger) the first and third place winners were from Jeff McFarland’s Horicon classes in Annapolis.  First place winner Brianna Mondragon wrote “Taby’s Dream” and third place winner Kaden Haught authored “What the Old Man Told His Grandchildren.”  The second place winner, Priscilla Vega, attends Pacific Coast Community High School and her entry was entitled “Creepy Carnival.”

The panel of judges – Judith Fisher, Yolanda Highhouse, Mary Retzer, George Rathmell, and David Robertson – reviewed 13 Youth and 10 Adult entries all coded so the authors would remain anonymous.  Since Highhouse teaches at the charter school she only judged adult entries.  Using a rubric developed by Healy each judge acted separately and then met together to determine the eventual winners.

Entries ranged from fantasy dreams to personified tomatoes, from conversations with grandparents to surreal magical experiences.  Healy pointed out, “The intent was not to strictly define the genre to allow for imaginative expression and that goal was certainly achieved in this year’s submissions and fulfilled the wishes of contest founder, Rotarian RC Vasavada.”

The contest genre for next year is poetry.  Interested potential writers can expect a Call to Artists announcement early next year in the Gualala Arts newsletter “Sketches” and the ICO and will find registration information at