5130 Davenport Dr.
Lansing, MI 48917

Short Story Contest

The 2023 Short Story & Poetry Contest has ended. Thank you to all of our participants! 
You can view all of the contest entries on our Short Story Portal.

Congratulations to this year's winners:

Adult Short Story – First Place
Departures” by Andrew Beardslee

Adult Poetry – First Place
Party” by Miguel Pedraza

Youth Short Story – First Place
An Unlikely Friendship” by Robin Himmelspach (age 12)

Youth Short Story – Second Place
The Undefeated Pencil” by Molly Ries (age 11)

Youth Poetry – First Place
Listen to the Birds” by Leo Rozga (age 9)

A special thank you to our judges this year:
Adult Judges:

Ryan Apple lives in Delta Township with his wife Darcie and their six children. His first poetry chapbook, Stars and Sparrows Alike, was published in November 2020 through Finishing Line Press. Ryan’s work has appeared in various journals, and nine of his poems were featured in the Poiema Poetry Series anthology In a Strange Land: Introducing Ten Kingdom Poets. He enjoys sharing life with his local church family, ping-pong, playing guitar and mbira, and video games with two or less buttons.

Cheryl Caesar grew up in Delta Township, left it for California and Europe in 1984, and returned in 2009. She now teaches writing at Michigan State, and serves as secretary of the Lansing Poetry Club and president of the Michigan College English Association. She publishes poetry and artwork in journals and anthologies like the Washington Square Review and Words across the Water, volumes I and II. She has published a chapbook titled Flatman: Poems of Protest in the Trump Era, which she hopes will soon be of historical interest only.

CJ Heid is a writer, and a library assistant at the Delta Township District Library. CJ helps run an international summer-camp-themed Discord server for writers, and previously served as the secretary for a Broadway cast's book club. In his free time, CJ can be found listening to sped-up audiobooks, revising his novel, or organizing his bookshelf by color.

Elizabeth Klein is a writer and poet who has been published in the Lansing State Journal, City Pulse, Washington Square Review and Live Poet’s Society Anthology. She is a 2021 Mackinac State Historic Parks Artist-in-Residence who is soon to complete her debut poetry collection, Upon a Shoreline Exile. Elizabeth works at the Delta Township District Library in the Adult Services Department.

Melissa Ford Lucken holds an MA in Special Education from Eastern Michigan University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the Lasell University. She is a professor of creative writing and composition at Lansing Community College, where she serves as the fiction and creative non-fiction editor of The Washington Square Review, the college’s literary journal. Alongside her academic work, she publishes fiction Isabelle Drake.

Youth Judges:
Marissa Boisclair is a Youth Services Librarian at the Commerce Township Community Library. She has worked in the library profession for 13 years. Marissa loves all things horror, humor, and wholesome. Tea Dragon Society, games, live music, and Nicolas Cage all hold a special place in her heart. 

Anne Pierson works at the DeWitt District Library after serving 27 years as a high school English teacher. She enjoys helping others with their literary quests and indulging in her own. As a fan of creative writing, she often challenged students to submit poetry as a means to demonstrate understanding of short stories in lieu of the dreaded “test.” Anne is excited to be part of DTDL Poetry/Short Story contest this year.

Natalie Wessels is a Youth Services Assistant at the Delta Township District Library. She loves reading fantasy, young adult literature, and punny picture books. She also enjoys puzzles, mysteries, and the challenge of tracking down hard-to-find library books.