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Click on the video to learn more about the Peter K. Hixson Memorial Award for Creative Writers!

The Peter K. Hixson Memorial Award for Creative Writers

2018 Winners Of The Peter K. Hixson Memorial Award

Poetry Winner: Jessica Mehta

Poetry Wild Card: Denzel Scott

Poetry Honorable Mention: Damian Rucci

Short story Winner: Laura Pochintesta

Peter K. Hixson (1947-2007) was a much-beloved client of Writer’s Relief. In his writing, he was never afraid to tackle important issues, but he also had a lyrical and playful outlook. With funding from Peter’s estate, additional contributions from family members, and generous donations from the public, we are deeply honored to offer the Peter K. Hixson Memorial Award for Creative Writers.

What The Award Entails

The 2018 Peter K. Hixson Memorial Award will be presented to two writers:

  • One poet
  • One short story writer

Each winner will receive $1,800 in Writer’s Relief submission services free of charge.

Winners will be selected by the Writer’s Relief Review Board based on:

  • Strength of writing sample
  • Strength of personal statement and financial (or other) need

Winners will be notified by phone and email.

Contest Submission Rules


  • Send 5 previously unpublished poems in one .DOC or .RTF file.
  • Applications with more or less than five poems will be disqualified. Sorry! No exceptions.
  • One-inch margins, 12pt Times New Roman or other standard font, single-spaced.
  • One poem per page, please.
  • Include all contact information in some manner on the first page of your submission.
  • Poems may not have appeared anywhere online or in print.
  • No children’s poetry.

NOTE: If you win for poetry, you’ll need to have ten poems ready for submission.

Short Stories (fiction):

  • Send two short stories as separate .DOC or .RTF files.
  • Each piece must be less than 3,000 words.
  • One-inch margins, 12 pt. Times New Roman or other standard font, double-spaced.
  • Include all contact information in some manner on the first page of your submission.
  • Fiction should not have appeared anywhere online or in print.

Please note: Due to overwhelming submissions, we are only able to reply to those who are selected as winners.

We are not accepting submissions for novels. For novelists, consider sending stand-alone excerpts. This is a great strategy to build publication credits before approaching literary agents. Check out ways to create an excerpt.

Tips For Your Personal Statement

In your personal statement, please tell us (in first person):

  • A little about yourself
  • Any personal circumstances (financial or other hardships) that would make this award especially meaningful/helpful for you
  • How this award would improve your writing career/life

The personal statement may not exceed two paragraphs (1,000 characters MAX).



Who Is Eligible To Apply

All writers eighteen or older are welcome, but early- to mid-career writers with financial or other need are especially encouraged to apply. To honor Peter’s too brief career in creative writing, preference will be given to writers who have not necessarily been widely published but who demonstrate exceptional technique, voice, and perspective.

Writer’s Relief clients past or present, employees past or present, and previous winners are not eligible.

No preference will be given to applicants who identify themselves as friends or family of Peter K. Hixson.

Writers from all nations and backgrounds are welcome! Submissions must be in English (for targeting primarily to American literary journals or American literary agencies).

Applicants must be at least eighteen years old. Applicants warrant that all writing is their original creation and has not been published in any form in print or online. We cannot work with previously published poetry and short stories; most editors won’t consider it.

Writers are welcome to apply to both this award and to our Review Board (for admission to our Full Service client list) if they choose to.




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