The Sully Award Winner!

First things first: I owe everyone an apology.

I was supposed to announce the winner of The Sully Award for Excellence in Writerishness last week, but the days got away from me.

The reason: Easter Week.

For many, many years I have avoided hosting holiday family gatherings. This is primarily because my home is “Entertaining Hostile.” That is to say the rooms are small and have no flow, there isn’t enough seating, and I own only one, small TV.

Another reason for never hosting  family gatherings is because, well, I didn’t wanna.

Things tend to break and get messy when people come over. And the more people who come over, the messier and break-ier things get.

Allegra holiday family gatherings average about 13 people. That’s a potentially huge amount of messiness and breakiness.

Normally the Easter Saturday gathering is the responsibility of my aunt and uncle (who owned a huge house and approximately 92 TVs). But this year they decided to move to Florida (because “get attacked by an alligator” was apparently on their Bucket List).

So the Easter celebration needed a new host.

I kept my mouth shut and avoided eye contact. My lovely wife, Ellen, on the other hand, cheerily volunteered.

And that was that.

The result was a week of endless preparation. The gathering was three days ago and I’m still pooped. On the plus side, nobody broke anything. And it was fun, too! So good job, family!

***

Alright. Enough stories.

Let’s get on with it.

Here it is!

Today’s the day!

The moment you have all been waiting for!

The announcement of the winner of
The First Annual Sully Award for Excellence in Writerishness!

As I’ve mentioned before, I received a lot of Sully Award submissions. According to my panel of esteemed judges, the quality of the entries made choosing a winner especially difficult.

But choose they did.

Before I announce the winner, however, I’d like to take a moment to introduce the judges and thank them for their service.

***

Lisa Gillard Hanson

The great Lisa Gillard Hanson is the publicist at The Lawrenceville School. That means she has the godlike ability to write and edit stories that make Lawrenceville’s good news sound super good. (And then she gets that super good news in The New York Times, which is super great.) Prior to Lawrenceville, she was an editor at Rutgers University Press. She also has an unhealthy obsession with Derek Jeeter.

Cathy Ballou Mealy

You’ll soon be hearing a lot about Cathy when her debut picture book, When a Tree Grows, hits shelves next year. Cathy is an incredible writer. And she’s every bit as good at critiquing. In fact, she critiques my stuff all the time. Her expert analysis of my manuscripts has made me a better writer. Period. She also believes in Fluff Monkeys.

Laurel Leigh

Well, I had to put Laurel on the panel, didn’t I? She’s the force of nature who made Sully the Salamander a thing. She and I also came up with The Sully Award. And she’d probably pester me into oblivion if I didn’t ask her to be a judge. (Lord, is she pesty!) But Laurel is also a writer of great distinction. She’s been published in The Sun, is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and has done about a jillion other writerish things. So, yeah, she’s awesome.

Thank you, judges! You kicked booty.

***

Even though there is only one prize winner, I asked each of the judges to give me their top three choices in order to better determine a winner in the event of a three-way tie for first place.

The following individuals appeared on at least one judge’s top-three list. I would highly recommend scooting over to The Sully Award page to read their entries. These people are going places, believe me.

Katie Bennett

Andrew Joyce

Jennifer Ali

Jilanne Hoffmann

EDC Writing

Frank Hubeny

But in a competition like this, there needs to be only one winner. And we have a good one.

The individual who will take home this year’s Sully Award earned the No. 1 spot on two top-three lists.

Even though the judges were not required to comment on their selections, one judge couldn’t help herself. She praised the story’s

“outstanding use of dialogue to engage readers with rich backstory and compelling characters. I want to know more about all of them and how they are connected.”

Intrigued eh? Well, don’t worry, I’ll post the winning story at the bottom of the post.

And the winner is…

Kate Loveton!

Congratualtions, Kate! You are the winner of the First Annual Sully Award for Excellence in Writerishness!

Along with your certificate, your will receive a $20 gift card to Starbucks, a $10 gift card to iTunes and a $20 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

All you have to do is head on up to the “Hire Me” menu bar and send me an email.

Thanks for entering, everyone! And thanks for making The Sully Award happen!

***

G is for George

By Kate Loveton

“What’s with the dog?” asked James, settling into the folding chair near his brother.

Stuart brushed the lapel of his Brooks Brothers coat before answering. “I haven’t a clue. He was lying next to the casket when I arrived. Fitting, though – just the sort of mutt George might have latched onto. Since when are dogs allowed in funeral homes?”

The dog stared at the brothers. His milky, tea-colored eyes were sorrowful.

“Speaking of mutts,” said James, “did you notice the character in the back of the room?”

“Rather hard to miss since he’s the only one here besides you, me and the dog.”

“Think he’s one of George’s converts?”

“More likely one of his AA pals. Those people do hang on.”

The brothers were silent, thinking of George’s plunge from businessman to drunk and then sidewalk preacher.

“Wonder what Father would make of this,” mused James.

“He’d give thanks that the old boy’s death ends a sorry family chapter.”

“George was a good man,” muttered the man from the back of the room.

James rose. “Let’s go, Stuart. We’ve stayed long enough to pay our respects.”

The dog never raised his head as they walked past the casket.

©2017 All Rights Reserved Kate Loveton, Odyssey of a Novice Writer