California Writers Exchange Award

Winning Writers Read at Last Bookstore

Join us for a reading by winners of the California Writers Exchange Contest. This year's winners Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo and Laura Joyce Davis will join winners from prior years, including Elaine BealeSean BernardLarry Colker, and Allison Benis White, in reading from their work.

May 25, 2013, at 4 p.m. 
The Last Bookstore
453 S. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013


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The California Writers Exchange contest introduces emerging writers from California to the New York literary community and provides them a network for professional advancement. Every third year, writers in California are invited to submit manuscripts. Judges review the entries and select a winning poet and fiction writer. Winners are flown to New York City for an all-expenses-paid, weeklong trip to meet with literary agents, editors, publishers, and writers, and to give a public reading.

Winners of the 2013 California Writers Exchange Award are Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo in poetry and Laura Joyce Davis in fiction. Judges Chris Abani (fiction) and Marilyn Chin (poetry) selected the winners from a pool of approximately 600 entries in each category.

Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo is the creator and curator of Beyond Baroque's monthly reading series Hitched, a founding editor of The Splinter Generation, and was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Award. Her work has been published in The Los Angeles Review, PALABRA, CALYX, and The Acentos Review. She received an MFA from Antioch University, Los Angeles. In August 2011, Xochitl-Julisa volunteered with the Tucson-based direct humanitarian aid organization, No More Deaths. The poems selected from her manuscript, "The Meditation for the Lost and Found," were inspired by her time in the Arizona desert. She teaches high school English and drama in Arcadia, CA. Read an excerpt from Bermejo’s winning manuscript.

Laura Joyce Davis was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to spend a year in Manila researching and writing her novel, The Low-Flying Dove. An excerpt from this work was the winning submission. Nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Prize and the 2006 Best New American Voices, she was also a two-time winner of the Ardella Mills Prize for Graduate Fiction while earning her MFA from Mills College. She lives in Oakland with her husband and son, and enjoys trail running, wine tasting, and the rare days when the words come easy. Read an excerpt from Davis’ winning manuscript.

Fiction Finalists:
First runner-up: Jackson Bliss, “30 Roofies”
Second runner-up: Bora Lee Reed, “The Letter Writer”

Jen Bergmark, “Bystander”
Lisa K. Buchanan, “A Debtor’s Diary”
Patty Enrado, “A Village in the Fields”
Isabel Garcia-Gonzales, “Vigilance”
Corinne Louise Greenberg, “The Strawberry Field”
Ro Gunetilleke, “Bad Karma Girl”
Richard Holeton, “Thanks for Covering Your Lane”
Vanessa Hua, “A River of Stars”
Finn Kraemer, “Regarding Michael”
Kelly Luce, “Amorometer”
Alison Minami, “The Surrogate”
Roger Porter, “The Gospel According to Rory”

Poetry Finalists:
First runner-up: Kenji C. Liu, “Map of an Onion”
Second runner-up: Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet, “Etymology of Lost”

Adam O. Davis, “Index of Haunted Houses”
Larry Eby, “Project Bombardier: Poems in response to aerial bombings”
Hillary Gravendyk, “Harm”
Maria Hummel, “Station”
Rosa Lane, “Reels”
Kelli Anne Noftle, “They Do It Because They Have To”
Robert Ricardo Reese, “Geumgangsan”
Edythe Haendel Schwartz, “Brushstrokes”
Amy Spade, “The Tenor of Evening Light”

The California Writers Exchange is funded by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation.

Past winners of the California Writers Exchange:

2010
Craig Santos Perez (poetry)
Sean Bernard (fiction)

2007
Elaine Beale (fiction)
Larry Colker (poetry)

2004
Dylan Landis (fiction)
Allison Benis White (poetry)