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Olive Woolley Burt Awards

For Creative Writing

The Olive Woolley Burt Awards are open to the general public for previously unpublished work. Discounts for entry given to members of the League of Utah Writers.

Winners announced at the Quills Conference Awards Ceremony
August 14, 2021

New Voices Categories


First Place: The Selkie, Jeremy Innis

Second Place: Morning are the Hardest, Zoey Powell

Third Place: Wullygumping, Brian Acord

First Honorable Mention: Love of Spring, Greg Goodman

Second Honorable Mention: Last Night, Greg Goodman

Third Honorable Mention: Waves, Peter Steele

Creative Non-Fiction

First Place: Why I Avoid Indian Authors, Radhika Iyer

Second Place: Leica of My Heart, Monica Woo

Third Place: Out of Time, Kylie Birch

First Honorable Mention: Ode to Dill or My Culinary Adventures, Inna Lyon

Second Honorable Mention: But . . . (to Dream), William David

Third Honorable Mention: The Hijacker, Peter Steele


First Place: IN the Margins, Rufo Tolentino

Second Place: Kintsugi, Anna Bessesen

Third Place: The Dirt Under Our Nails, Whitney Cox

First Honorable Mention: Resonant, William David

Second Honorable Mention: Intertwined, Anna Bessesen

Third Honorable Mention: Medora, Rachele Krivichi

First Chapter

First Place: Demonbinder, Karen Todd

Second Place: Reset to Mourning, Anna Bessesen

Third Place: Triples, Rebecca Wiese

First Honorable Mention: Peace Country, Sarah Beck

Second Honorable Mention: Southside of Nowhere, Kylie Birch

Third Honorable Mention: On the Mating Habits of the Giant Squid, Peter Steele

Established Writer Categories



Light Verse

First Place: The Man Who Sings Until . . . , Rachelle Knapp

Second Place: Tornado, Charlene Harmon

Third Place: Uncoupleted, Kevin Lane Dearinger

First Honorable Mention: The Flowerbed, Krystal Gerber 

Second Honorable Mention: Me, Myself and This Guy, Brian Acord

Third Honorable Mention: Shadowborn, Charlene Harmon

Narrative Poem

First Place: Where She Moved To, Joyce Schmid

Second Place: Driving West, Joyce Schmid

Third Place: Painted Forest, Marie Tollstrup

First Honorable Mention: River Children, Marie Tollstrup

Second Honorable Mention: Wait For Me, Sue Leth 

Third Honorable Mention: Kickapoo River Dance, Marie Tollstrup

Prose Poem

First Place: Eleven Instagrams, Lawrence Bridges

Second Place: When the Rain Comes, Marie Tollstrup

Third Place: Absence, Josie Hulme

First Honorable Mention:

Sonnet 43 (and then some!) with apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christopher Jones 

Second Honorable Mention: Homebound, Grace Jessen

Third Honorable Mention: Yearbook Photos, Sue Leth

Word Play Poem

First Place: Rosy, Denis Feehan

Second Place: Back Tattoo, Gina Grissom

Third Place: Midnight Ritual: Charlene Harmon

First Honorable Mention: Waiting, Jared Quan

Second Honorable Mention: Set Up Grace Jessen

Third Honorable Mention: Campfire Reverie, Charlene Harmon

Established Writer Categories


Children's Story

First Place: The Moon Always Comes Back, Christina Allen

Second Place: Sam & Nella's Adventures, Elena Dee

Third Place: Until . . . , Robyn Buttars

First Honorable Mention: Entiendo, Barbara Fallick

Second Honorable Mention: Mona Lisa's Memoir, Michelle Henrie

Third Honorable Mention: Oscar's Musical Journey, Elena Dee

Creative Non-Fiction

First Place: Holiday, Amy Hardy

Second Place: I Think I'm Jesus, Lorraine Jeffery

Third Place: A Twenty Something Bad Girl, Sue Leth

First Honorable Mention: The East Winds, Rachel Rueckert

Second Honorable Mention: The End of That, Bryan Young

Third Honorable Mention: Swimming Upstream, Marie Tollstrup

First Chapter (Novel)

First Place: Butterfly Premonitions, Nancy Roe

Second Place: The Dance of Dawn & Dusk: Li Tan, Brady Caleb Wilkinson

Third Place: No Choice, Terra Luft

First Honorable Mention: The Heir of the First Tower, Nicholas Adams

Second Honorable Mention: The Magix, Liz Christensen

Third Honorable Mention: Polecat Protocol: Discovery, John Olsen

First Chapter (Young Adult)

First Place: The Banished, Elizabeth Allen Drysdale

Second Place: A Sense of Us, Laura Keller

Third Place: Across the Surface, Rebecca Wiese

First Honorable Mention: Thistle Mountain Witch: A Cricket O'Calleigh Tale, Michelle Henrie

Second Honorable Mention: The Knot, Robert Carey

Third Honorable Mention: The Secret World of Classroom -104, Kathryn Ferriello

Flash Fiction

First Place: His Library, Inna Lyon

Second Place: My Wife, The Somnabulist, Ben Wright

Third Place: The Daily Grind, Patricia Bittel

First Honorable Mention: En Passant, Bryan Young

Second Honorable Mention: After the Fall, Marie Tollstrup

Third Honorable Mention: Guardian, Heidi Voss

Media Article

First Place: How Retraining in I/T Saved My Marriage, My Sanity, and My Life, David Armstrong

Second Place: High Wire Act, Marie Tollstrup

Third Place: We Must All Hate the Puppy Stomper: A Parable of the Public Square, David Rodeback

First Honorable Mention: Tesla's Contribution and Impacts in America, Ashley Bigbie

Second Honorable Mention:

The Movies That Made Star Wars: Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, Bryan Young

Third Honorable Mention: Empathy for Christmas, Tamara Copley


First Place: I Only Read Romance, Liz Christensen

Second Place: L-O-V-E, Nat King Cole, First Edition, 1965, Krystal Gerber

Third Place: Stolen Moment, Linne Marsh

First Honorable Mention: Quenched, September Roberts

Second Honorable Mention: Where Main Street Meets Tomorrow, Bryan Young

Third Honorable Mention: The Colonel, Bryan Young


First Place: 3 1/2, Stars Bryan Young

Second Place: Ghosts, Bryan Young

Third Place: Anything, Bryan Young

First Honorable Mention: Christmas Angel at Aspen Inn, Lonnie Bradley

Second Honorable Mention: Gloriana, Rebecca Wiese

Short Fiction

First Place: Darling Buds of May, Tracey Boyle

Second Place: The Weeping Willow at Goblin Creek, McKel Jensen

Third Place: The Last Chance, Johnny Worthen

First Honorable Mention: Kintugi, Johnny Worthen

Second Honorable Mention: Paddle Down the Faded Echo, Steven Wight

Third Honorable Mention: The Mattress Tag, Denis Feehan

Speculative Fiction

First Place: Marmalade Reverie, Aren Hatch

Second Place: Treaty on the Borderlands, John Olsen

Third Place: Three Bullets to Midnight, Ryan Decaria

First Honorable Mention: Get Your Goat, Alexis Hansen

Second Honorable Mention: Here for Pickup, Heidi Voss

Third Honorable Mention: Squander or Squire, Jessica Zarnofsky

Spiritual Essay

First Place: The Creation of Worlds and Other Godly Pursuits, Neil Dabb

Second Place: Leap of Faith, Marie Tollstrup

Third Place, A Different Kind of Faith, Lorraine Jeffery

First Honorable Mention: Thrilling Comeback, David Armstrong

Second Honorable Mention: Break Free, Elizabeth Suggs

Third Honorable Mention: Meditation, Sarah Swartz

Past Year's Results:



About The Olive Woolley Burt Awards


The Woolley Awards are named in honor of Olive Woolley Burt.


Olive Woolley Burt (1894-1981) was the founding president of the League of Utah Writers, serving in that role from 1935 to 1939. In 1927, she quit her job as a teacher to take a job as the children's editor at the Salt Lake Tribune and later went to work for the Deseret News in 1945 where she remained until her retirement in 1967. Burt wrote over 50 books for children and adults, though the most notable might be American Murder Ballads and their Stories in 1958. It won a special Edgar Award in 1959. She spent all of her years working tirelessly for the League, promoting writing as a profession and a hobby for all of the writers of Utah for almost 50 years. 

She was particularly fond of writing children's books that illuminated stories of possibility to children with an aggressively progressive bent. One book, First Woman Editor: Sarah J. Hale tells the story of the first woman in the United States to be the editor of a magazine. Another, Black Women of Valor, brought positive stories of Black history to white audiences who wouldn't otherwise hear them in times where racist attitudes ran rampant.

Read more about her here:


See a video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1adMmab1M8