Judges Announced for 2024 Spring Writing Contests

SWC Prizes Total $3000

Deadline April 1, 2024 at 12pm noon

Complete SWC Guidelines Here

2024 SWC Judges' Bios

GMU Rinehart Fiction Award | $500

E.A. Aymar’s recent Anthony Award-nominated thriller, When She Left, will "appeal to fans of Elmore Leonard…with high-stakes violence tempered by humor and disarmingly sympathetic antiheroes" (Booklist). His previous thriller, No Home for Killers, received praise from the New York Times, Kirkus, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and was an instant Amazon Bestseller. They’re Gone was published to rave reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus (starred), and named one of the best books of 2020. A frequent contributor to the Washington Post, Ed is a former national board member of International Thriller Writers and an active member of Crime Writers of Color and Sisters in Crime. He was born in Panama and now lives and writes in the DMV. Ed earned his bachelor's degree in creative writing from George Mason University.

GMU Rinehart Nonfiction Award | $500

John W. Miller is a Pittsburgh-based writer and filmmaker from Brussels, Belgium. He’s currently a contributing writer at America Magazine and chief economist for Trade Data Monitor. He co-directed the acclaimed 2020 PBS film "Moundsville," and founded moundsville.org, an online magazine dedicated to telling deeper stories about Appalachia and America. As a global correspondent for The Wall Street Journal for 13 years, he reported from six continents and over 40 countries, covering everything from Pittsburgh steel and diamond mines in Africa to the World Cup and Tour de France. John has also reported for TIME, NPR, and the Baltimore Sun, and has won awards from the New York Press Club, National Press Foundation, and German Marshall Fund.

GMU Rinehart Poetry Award | $500

Danielle Badra is a queer Arab-American writer. She is the Fairfax County Poet Laureate (2022-2024). Her poems have appeared in Mizna, Cincinnati Review, Duende, The Greensboro Review, Split This Rock, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and elsewhere. Dialogue with the Dead (Finishing Line Press, 2015) is her first chapbook, a collection of contrapuntal poems in dialogue with her deceased sister. Her manuscript, Like We Still Speak, was selected by Fady Joudah and Hayan Charara as the winner of the 2021 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize and published through the University of Arkansas Press. Dani is an alum of the MFA program at George Mason University.

Dan Rudy Fiction Award (MFA Students Only) | $500

Susan Muaddi Darraj is an award-winning writer of books for adults and children. Her new novel, Behind You Is the Sea, was published in January 2024 by HarperVia. It received praise from The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Ms Magazine, and it was named a Best Book of 2024 by The New Yorker and Apple Books. She won an American Book Award, two Arab American Book Awards, and a Maryland State Arts Council Independent Artists Award. In 2018, she was named a USA Artists Ford Fellow. Her books include her linked short story collection, A Curious Land, as well as the Farah Rocks children’s book series. Susan lives in Baltimore, where she teaches creative writing at Harford Community College and Johns Hopkins University. 

Mary Roberts Rinehart Nonfiction Award (MFA Students Only) | $500

Silas Hansen directs the creative writing program at Ball State University, where he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in creative writing and literary publishing since 2014. He is also the nonfiction editor of Waxwing. Silas earned a bachelor’s degree in English, women and gender studies, and political science from SUNY College at Brockport and completed an MFA from The Ohio State University. His essays have appeared or are forthcoming in literary magazines such as The Normal School, Colorado Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Redivider, and Hobart, featured on Slate and Catapult, and reprinted by anthologies including The Writer’s Presence: A Pool of Readings, Best of the Net, and The Spirit of Disruption: Landmark Essays from The Normal School.

Mark Craver Poetry Award (MFA Students Only) | $500

Taylor Johnson is the author of Inheritance (Alice James Books, 2020), winner of the 2021 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. His work appears in Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, The Baffler, Scalawag, and elsewhere. Taylor is a Cave Canem graduate fellow and a recipient of the 2017 Larry Neal Writers’ Award from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the 2021 Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging Writers from Lambda Literary. Taylor was the inaugural 2022 Poet-in-Residence at the Guggenheim Museum. He is the Poet Laureate of Takoma Park, Maryland. With his wife, Elizabeth Bryant, Taylor curates the Green Way Reading Series at People’s Book in Takoma Park.