fbpx

Need help submitting your writing to literary journals or book publishers/literary agents? Click here! →

Peter K. Hixson Award Winner Reviews and Testimonials

May 29, 2018

To the family of Peter K. Hixson,

I am extremely grateful to have received this award at a very pivotal moment for me. Without it, I likely would have stopped trying to publish out of frustration and impatience. The day I received a phone call from Writer’s Relief, I sat on the bench outside the grocery store and cried. I felt heard and seen. I had been writing into a vacuum for a long time, so feeling heard matters to me more than I can express.

Being able to send work to someone and to have a group who cheers for me when my pieces are accepted has been deeply life-giving. My writing habits have improved. I can better identify when a piece is done and when it is still in process. I know writing is a slow and long process, but Writer’s Relief has lightened the load and given me more hope and confidence. I’m getting close to finishing a full volume, which would not have happened without this award.

Years ago, when I started thinking about publishing, it was after I heard a poem being read on the radio. I felt I needed those words on that particular day; they enabled me to rise above my current challenges and keep going. My body was filled with a strong sense of buoyancy. Those words were like a tiny life raft, I thought at the time. From that point on, I have consistently thought of poems like tiny life rafts. I know that not every raft is right for every person, but I still believe in making life rafts and sending them out.

I mention this because I see this award accomplishing this “life raft” work as well. For me it has certainly carried me on my path in a way and at a time when I could not carry myself where I wanted to go.

Thank you for making this work possible for writers every year. I am profoundly grateful.

Truly,

Liz Bruno


May 23, 2018

Dear Hixson Family,

Six months I am writing to thank you for honoring me in Peter’s memory with the gift of six months of services from Writer’s Relief. I’d written a bunch of stories, and had done some submissions, but I was feeling lost, overwhelmed, and like I was wasting my time away from my day job and my children.

I want to tell you that the biggest gift I got from Writer’s Relief was being published — 2 of my 3 stories will appear in national magazines, and I’m so excited and pleased at that result. More than that, though, it’s been amazing to have them walk me through the process, and to see them do the dirty work for me and to see that it’s not such dirty work at all — witnessing them, and working with them, has been a true instance of teaching me to fish (and now being able to eat forever).

But the absolute biggest impact has been, starting with the award and continuing through my experiences working with the Writer’s Relief team and the literary magazines, is a boost of confidence, and letting me see my work, and its value, through fresh eyes. I’d almost completely lost sight of what I was doing, and why I was doing it, and felt like this was exactly the opportunity to set me on the right path.

I’m so grateful to you for giving me this chance. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Matthue Roth


May 15, 2018

Dear Hixson family,

I am writing to thank you for establishing and continuing the Hixson Award for writers. The award has meant so very much to me, freeing me from time spent researching submissions and encouraging me to write new poetry for each cycle. The encouragement that comes with such an award is invaluable. Writing is lonely, and often without much encouragement, but this award has truly bolstered my confidence. I have received the copies of my poem “Mother’s Question” that was accepted by The Cape Rock for their Issue 46, and I am waiting to receive copies of the literary journal that includes my poem “Mike Harrington.”  Of course I still have work out for review and am waiting word on other poems.

Again, on behalf of myself and other writers who have and will benefit from the Peter Hixson Award, I thank you and sincerely hope that you realize just how important this award is and the gratitude of the writers who receive it.

Sincerely,

Patti Capel Swartz


October 30, 2017

To the Family of Peter K. Hixson:

Thank you so much for continuing the Peter K. Hixson Award for poetry! Receiving this award means so much to me, as I am sure it has meant much to the other writers who have received it. One of the struggles of writing is having and maintaining confidence in one’s work, or at least that is true for me. Receiving this award has bolstered my confidence and allows me to more fully believe that my work is worthwhile.

Sending work is also a difficulty, and the help I will receive targeting publications and editing suggestions are invaluable to me. I really cannot tell you how important this award is and how much it means to me to receive it. I can only hope that my heartfelt thanks go some small way to letting you know the importance of the award to me and, I am sure, to other writers who have received it.

Thank you for your kindness and for continuing this award which means so very much!

Sincerely,

Patti Capel Swartz


To the family of Peter K. Hixson:

I am profoundly grateful for the ways in which you are supporting writers, myself included. This support is foundational and life giving for me.
It brings to mind a part of George MacDonald’s book called “The Princess and The Goblin.” The young girl Irene is given an invisible thread that her grandmother has woven out spider silk and attached to a (mysterious) ring. It pulls on Irene’s finger and she follows it to safety in times of need or danger. It allows her to save herself and rescue her friend Curdie.

For me, the support of this award is akin to that invisible thread pulling in the dark. That string has and is going to keep me moving. I cannot imagine a more beautiful gift. Thank you for being a part of my journey and work. Thank you for helping me to feel less alone. That means more than I can explain.

My deep gratitude and thanks to all of you,

Liz Bruno


To the family of Mr. Hixson,

In the short time since I received my Writers’ Relief scholarship, I’ve been catching up on Peter’s work, and using this occasion (and this reward) as an excuse to dive back into my own stories. I’m excited for the great opportunity that you’re providing me, and I’m honored and delighted to be in his company.

Thank you for this chance, and thank you for your generosity, support, and good wishes.

I hope I’ll be able to make you proud.

Sincerely,

Matthue


Winning the Peter K. Hixson Memorial Award with Writer’s Relief has sincerely made a huge positive impact on my life. Thanks to the Hixson Family and Writer’s Relief, I now have the first publication credits of my writing career. I am so grateful for the opportunity to make real progress. Writer’s Relief was wonderful to work with. They responded promptly to every email, kept me organized, and gave me the boost I needed to move forward. In the last six months, I have gained experience, publications, confidence, and best of all, time to write! Before winning this award, I was overwhelmed and did not know where to begin. Now, I am excited at what the future will bring! Thank you, Hixson Family and Writer’s Relief!

Serena Eve Richardson


Dear family of Peter K Hixson,

Today was a great day. I got a call telling me that my stories had been awarded an Honorable Mention in the Short Story category of the Peter K. Hixson Memorial Award. You can’t imagine what this means to me.

I have been writing stories since the 1990s and submitted a few. I even got a warm note from Lois Rosenthal, editor of STORY, saying that she read a story I submitted “with great pleasure.” She encouraged me to keep submitting work as did Laurie Henry, Associate Editor of STORY.
The years between then and now were filled with the necessity of raising a child on my own, which meant 15 credit hours of teaching, year round, at a community college, and some administrative work when I served as Interim Academic Vice President for a year.

Although I made several academic presentations including a 2014 TEDx talk, and published two texts, I never had the time, and therefore peace of mind, to read my own work without interruption. Now in the year of my retirement, the time has finally come when I can spend days together, uninterrupted, on the stories and poems I’ve written through these years, and get them ready for others to read.

During this time that I have been focused on my own writing, I have also been filled with doubts about whether my work would be read, should be read. I am at the older end of writers. There are new schools of thought, new ways of writing, and I have felt like the old gray mare in the barn.

To tell you how much this award—entirely based on your generosity and love of Peter—has meant, I said to myself the other day that if I didn’t get any recognition in the next few months, I simply wouldn’t write any more. Today, everything has changed.

Thank you so very much,

Bonnie MacDougall


To the Family of Peter K. Hixson,

A few days ago I received a phone call with the news that I had been awarded the Peter K. Hixson Memorial Scholarship for Short Fiction through Writer’s Relief. I wanted to write and tell you how honored I am to receive this opportunity and how grateful I am that you have chosen to celebrate Peter with this legacy in support of other writers.

When I first entered my work in this contest, I was struck by the details in Mr. Hixson’s biographical information on the Writer’s Relief website. The first paragraph stated that his creative roots had gone back to the third grade when a teacher fueled his interest in poetry. I immediately felt a connection to that early creative instinct and thought of the influence of teachers in my life, and about the blue all-capitals typewriter that my mother gave me for Christmas when I was seven, so that I could preserve my poems for posterity.

I enjoyed reading about the Renaissance Man that Peter Hixson was, and I was excited to note some similarities between us. I have spent the majority of my adult life teaching and working in professional theatre and non-profits. If Peter could accomplish all that he did, and still have time to share some wonderful writing with the world in his too-short time here on Earth, then perhaps there’s hope for me, too.

I struggled to be the only person in my family to go to college and graduate school, and I have suffered some set-backs financially and to my health, and in my personal and professional life. For the last year I have done social work and am a foster care advocate and recruiter. I am proud of the work I do, and I know it’s important, but the words and stories inside me, are something that I long to share with others as well. Being chosen for this honor has given me a new sense of self-efficacy and hope about writing professionally, and I feel certain that this opportunity will be a turning point for me in that regard.

Thank you so much for this generous gift and for sharing Peter’s inspiration to help others as we attempt our own literary journeys.

Sincerely,

Melissa Heath-Lee


July 17, 2017

To: the family of Peter K. Hixson

As the poetry winner of 2016, I am very grateful for your contributions that made possible the Peter K. Hixson Memorial Award for Creative Writers. Thanks to the award, I was able to focus on writing instead of keeping track of submissions. Writer’s Relief handled the process with grace and efficiency. The service has made possible furthering my aim of publishing poetry. Two of my poems were published in high-quality national journals –“A Bias Toward the Beneficial” in the ecologically-oriented Hopper Literary Magazine and “Born-ing” in the well-known Spoon River Poetry Review. Further, my poem “Blindside” was published in the Chronogram, a respected Hudson Valley area newspaper. These publications helped boost my confidence.

I had the occasion recently to read a few poems in Santa Fe and in Berkeley, CA to appreciative audiences. These successes have encouraged me to continue writing. Now I’m working on putting together a chapbook.

Again, please accept my ongoing gratitude for the opportunity your award has provided.

Sincerely,

Mary Newell


September 21, 2015

To the Hixson Family,

What a magnificent way to honor the memory of Peter K. Hixson, to provide such a generous offer of support to emerging writers like myself through Writer’s Relief. I was shocked to learn that I’d been given this wonderful award. And when I fully understood exactly what it meant to be given such an award, I was overwhelmed. I was ecstatic, yes, to have my work merit such attention, but then to realize that, through the Peter K. Hixson award, I was also given a stress-free stretch of time to do nothing but concentrate on my work, and on uncovering my best work as I was able, has greatly motivated me in a way that I have not been able to on my own without such assistance. And may never have been able to, honestly.

I can’t tell you how amazing it has been to have been given such a network of professionals to work with a they aid me in guiding my craft. You have made a marked difference in my life as a writer, and I look forward not only to furthering my career as a writer through this opportunity, but to also cherish the knowledge that there were people like Peter in this world who cared enough to look out for the rest of us. None of this would have been possible without him, nor without you and your continued interests in the writers, like me, that are still waiting to make their mark like Peter did.

Thank you. Truly and humbly. I am inspired by your selflessness, and I hope the day will come when I will be able to give back as you have.

Sincerely,

T.K. Lee


August 28, 2015

Dear Hixson Family,

I’m writing to thank you for your donation and support of my work through the Peter K. Hixson Memorial Award. It means so much to me that Writer’s Relief will be doing the work of submitting some of my stories this season. Without your donation, their support would be out of my financial reach. Thank you so much for making this possible.

I’m a college adjunct, working with non-traditional students to help them improve their basic writing skills, and I just graduated from Purdue University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing after nearly ten years of schooling. I took classes at community college as I could afford them and ended up in the University of Washington’s Evening Degree program, working days and taking night classes to get my BA in English so that I could apply for and attend an MFA program. This is all to say that I have been working very hard this last decade to pursue the study of writing and your contribution will allow me to move into the next phase of my career.

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity. It is so important to me, and such a boost in my confidence. I appreciate your support and thank you for the work you do to support writers like me.

Sincerely,

Katie McClendon


August 24, 2015

Please pass this along to the Hixson family:

Thank you for your generosity in sponsoring the Peter K. Hixson award.
I’m a social worker for Child Protective Services, so time and energy are scarce resources for me. Writing is one of the ways that I deal with all the emotions that I encounter during the week. With the gift of Writer’s Relief to take care of the submission part of the process, I can concentrate my after-hours energy on what I love most: writing.

Thank you for making this possible for me. I will do my best to make good use of it.

Regards,

Laura Ruth Loomis


April 4, 2014

Dear Hixson Family,

Thank you for providing opportunities like this for writers. Receiving this award taught me many invaluable lessons about the submission process. I am grateful for all the interest and support shown by those who assisted me.

Thank you,

Brittany Tacconi

(A La Carte) Honorable Mentions


March 31, 2014

Dear Hixson Family,

Thank you so much for your foresight and generosity in establishing the Peter K. Hixson Memorial Award at Writer’s Relief. Please allow me to share a few images with you that will likely tell you what you already know—that this award is accomplishing all that you set out to do and is most certainly an honor to Peter’s memory.

First invaluable moment: A phone call from someone I didn’t know saying, “We loved your writing!” It is one thing for my mom to tell me I can write and an entirely different and much more rare thing to hear it from a complete stranger, much less one whose business is writing. That is a nugget of hope that I will remember and refer to when the inevitable rejection letters come.

Second, logging into the online database and seeing that my work was actually out there in the world being read by a slew of journals. I’ve read enough advice about publishing to know how the submission game is supposed to be played, but I have never mustered the organization or the gumption to actually send a story to 25 outlets at once. It’s magical.

Third, receiving another thanks-but-no-thanks email and thinking, “Oh well, that’s just one journal; there are others,” instead of, “Oh God, not another one, bring on the Ben & Jerry’s.” Getting used to rejection might be the greatest of the many gifts this award gave me. The staff members at Writer’s Relief put in almost email something along the lines of, “Remember, rejection is just one step closer to publication.” When I began the process with them, I thought, that’s easy for you to say. By the end, I believed it.

With much gratitude,

Rachel Henry


March 23, 2014

To the family of Peter K. Hixson,

The experience of being a Peter K. Hixson award winner has been transformative. I have learned about the process of becoming a published writer; the required document formatting, the large number of submissions necessary to secure a coveted spot in a literary publication, and the challenging work of locating the most appropriate literary markets. More importantly, I have gained confidence in my own writing abilities. Through the award, I had two short stories accepted for publication, and a third piece accepted because I felt brave enough to submit on my own. Having these credits, and possibly even a few more, will hopefully enhance my chances of landing a good literary agent and publishing house for my first novel, Life on the Other Side, which is in the final editing stage.

By preparing my work for Writer’s Relief and keeping up with their cycle deadlines, I have discovered a new commitment to my craft and a belief in what a few months ago seemed to be the impossible. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I will remain forever grateful.

Warmly,

Lisa Sturm


April 4, 2014

Dear Hixson Family,

Thank you for providing opportunities like this for writers. Receiving this award taught me many invaluable lessons about the submission process. I am grateful for all the interest and support shown by those who assisted me.

Thank you,

Brittany Tacconi

(A La Carte) Honorable Mentions


March 31, 2014

Dear Hixson Family,

Thank you so much for your foresight and generosity in establishing the Peter K. Hixson Memorial Award at Writer’s Relief. Please allow me to share a few images with you that will likely tell you what you already know—that this award is accomplishing all that you set out to do and is most certainly an honor to Peter’s memory.

First invaluable moment: A phone call from someone I didn’t know saying, “We loved your writing!” It is one thing for my mom to tell me I can write and an entirely different and much more rare thing to hear it from a complete stranger, much less one whose business is writing. That is a nugget of hope that I will remember and refer to when the inevitable rejection letters come.

Second, logging into the online database and seeing that my work was actually out there in the world being read by a slew of journals. I’ve read enough advice about publishing to know how the submission game is supposed to be played, but I have never mustered the organization or the gumption to actually send a story to 25 outlets at once. It’s magical.

Third, receiving another thanks-but-no-thanks email and thinking, “Oh well, that’s just one journal; there are others,” instead of, “Oh God, not another one, bring on the Ben & Jerry’s.” Getting used to rejection might be the greatest of the many gifts this award gave me. The staff members at Writer’s Relief put in almost email something along the lines of, “Remember, rejection is just one step closer to publication.” When I began the process with them, I thought, that’s easy for you to say. By the end, I believed it.

With much gratitude,

Rachel Henry


August 23, 2013

Dear family of Peter K. Hixson,

Thank you for establishing the Peter K. Hixson Memorial Award. From the moment they first said, “We loved your writing” over the phone, the Writer’s Relief team has provided invaluable support and encouragement.

I work full-time, and finding time to submit my writing is a constant struggle. I often go months without sending anything off, so to think that my work will be submitted to 75 magazines without my having to spend more than a few minutes is not at all short of miraculous.
Beyond the purely functional, the award has given me a great deal of hope. As you probably know, the pre-published writing life can sometimes be discouraging, and simply knowing that professionals who work in the industry find my work worthy of submission is heartening.

Please know you have made a profound difference in my life.

With deepest gratitude,

Rachel Henry


August 7, 2013

Dear Hixson Family –

One often envisions a writer as someone hunched over a desk, a desk lamp and its dim circle of light the only companionship in the lonely darkness. Dramatic, I know, but the image illustrates a major stereotype of the writing life – loneliness and isolation. But, this couldn’t be further from truth.

While writers often craft their work alone, it takes the support and encouragement of the writing community to refine their work and then move it into the world.

I imagine Peter probably thanked many people during his writing career and because of their help wanted to give back the support he had received.

Now it’s my turn to thank Peter. Because of his generous gift my internal dialogue has shifted from, “It’s worth a shot,” to “I have a shot!” Peter’s gift has given me access to invaluable resources, guidance and hope.

Hope is often a term thrown around loosely (like awesome or literally) and is often associated with a person’s desires or wants, but in its true form, hope is a lighthouse. This award has given me hope that goes beyond the superficial hope of getting published.

It’s a hope that I am on the right path. Hope that there is help out there in the world. Hope that maybe this poor farm boy can get past the gatekeepers, on to shore and into the city. I’m sure every past, present and future recipient of this award feels the same way and is extremely grateful for the Hixson family’s support of and donations to this award.

Thank you for providing this opportunity. I will pay it forward through my writing and supporting and encouraging other writers desperately in need of hope.

Best wishes,

Aaron Schultz


August 6, 2013

Dear Hixson Family,

How can I express to you the shot in the arm that your kindness has provided to me as a writer? I had heard of a writer’s submission service from a wealthy friend years ago, and thought what an amazing help that would be. I looked it up at the beginning of June and read with longing the services offered. I remember thinking, “ I wish there were scholarships…” I couldn’t believe my eyes when I received an email notification of the Peter K. Hixson Memorial Award, and the prospect of winning a year’s worth of services! I worked on having all my poems and information ready and waiting for the July opening date.

I received my MFA in 1983, went to Bread Loaf on a scholarship, and later Vermont Studio Center, but I am TERRIBLE about promoting my own work. My poetry manuscript was a finalist in 2004, but is still not published, though I continue to write, and have published here and there. I am a mom and teacher, and need Writer’s Relief to help me with self-promotion for which I am so derelict.

When I received the call that I had won 2 months of services for Honorable Mention in Poetry, I was so encouraged and thankful. You have no idea what a blessing this is to me personally, and what far reaching ramifications your gift of love continues to have.

In the present climate of public education with its emphasis on testing, as a teacher with a poet’s heart, I feel like a caged bird. But God reminds me that writing is my sky, and I am free to fly whenever I want.

Thanks for helping me along the path to realizing my life long dreams.

Blessings,

Rachel Landrum Crumble


August 5, 2013

Dear Hixson Family,

A thousand cheers for the support you provide to writers like me through the legacy of the Peter K. Hixson Memorial Scholarship for creative writers.

Between being a teacher for middle school, taking graduate courses in counseling, and trying to coach several robotics teams in order to give some of our most restless kids a chance for active, engaged learning, I have little time to write and even less to research and submit work. Any time I am pursuing my own work, I feel like I am taking time away from my kids. They are what get me out of bed in cold January and keep me in grad classes late hot evenings in July.

When I am working with a kid who struggles in science but loves writing more than anything, it helps to be able to point to my work as a writer. More than just the specific cases, though, it’s also about doing everything I can to give them reasons to look up to me— not for my sake, but because every one of those reasons is magnified five-fold when I look them in the eye and tell them I believe in what they can accomplish.

When I said a thousand cheers, I meant it, because there are actually a lot of different people saying thank you. There is, of course, me the writer. Bigger than that is me the teacher. Largest of all, though, is the chorus of voices from every student past and future that sees another accomplishment on my list and turns up the volume of my comments every time I have told them, or will tell them, that I believe in them.

Sincerely,

Erik Richardson


July 31, 2013

To the family of Peter K. Hixson,

Thank you so much for continuing to support the Peter K. Hixson writing award. I can’t tell you how much it has meant to me to be the Wild Card winner for short fiction. I had applied for the Writer’s Relief full service program a few months ago, but decided that it was not something that I could afford at this time. Now I am thrilled to be submitting my first short story and hope to use the award to get a few short pieces published as well as locate a literary agent to market my first novel, which is based on my experiences as an inner-city psychotherapist. With the help of this award, I might be able to accomplish in a few short months what could otherwise taken me years.

My best wishes, to your entire family and may Peter’s memory always blessed.

Fondly,

Lisa Sturm


Dear Writer’s Relief,

The most important thing I learned was how competitive the “po biz” is. I had no idea that it took so many submissions to get one acceptance! I think—no, I know—that without having won the Hixson Memorial Award, I would have given up on publishing any of my poems, and maybe I would have stopped writing them too.

To go along with that last thought, I learned that people other than my friends appreciated and were moved by my poetry. This was so important, and it’s this that I will hold on to as I go off on my own, as it were, to face a million more rejections.

I also learned a crucial PROCESS for submitting poetry. That is, don’t be haphazard; make yourself a spreadsheet; submit in bunches of 25 or 30 at a time. I would never have done that in the past. Prior to winning the Hixson award, I would have tossed a few poems here and tossed a few poems there and thought it luck if they landed in fertile soil.

Finally, I learned that I’m not, in fact, the Queen of Proofreading. Your proofreaders had a few tricks up their sleeves that I never bothered to learn (despite the fact that I’ve taught college-level composition for over twenty years), and now I’m going to bother to learn them.

Please give Ronnie my best regards. And tell the Hixson family that I am forever grateful for the award.

— Laura Wendorff, 2012 Peter K. Hixson Award Winner
Work accepted into Foliate Oak, Forge, The Minetta Review, and Sanskrit

 


 

Dear Ronnie,

Thank you again for all your work on my behalf. It was a great honor to receive the Peter K. Hixson Award and to receive your Full Service package. I learned much, but more importantly, I felt supported as a writer.

— Lisa Cheby, 2011 Peter K. Hixson Award Winner
Work accepted by Eclipse and Compass Rose



YES, IT'S MY LUCKY DAY!
Sign me up for
FREE Publishing Leads & Tips
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

WHY? Because our insider
know-how has helped
writers get over 18,000+ acceptances.

FREE Publishing Leads and Tips! Our e-publication, Submit Write Now!, delivered weekly to your inbox.
 
  • BEST (and proven) submission tips
  • Hot publishing leads
  • Calls to submit
  • Contest alerts
  • Notification of industry changes
  • And much more!
close-link


STOP! BEFORE YOU GO...
Sign me up for
FREE Publishing Leads & Tips
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

WHY? Because our insider
know-how has helped
writers get over 18,000+ acceptances.

FREE Publishing Leads and Tips! Our e-publication, Submit Write Now!, delivered weekly to your inbox.
 
  • BEST (and proven) submission tips
  • Hot publishing leads
  • Calls to submit
  • Contest alerts
  • Notification of industry changes
  • And much more!
close-link
Yes! Send My Free Guide!

Get Your FREE Goal-Oriented
Writer Guide!

We’ll send the link to this handy guide filled with
expert advice and smart tips so you can start
reaching your writing goals today!

 
Bonus: Stay updated! We’ll email you weekly links
to more great articles featuring the best writing
strategies and insider info!
close-link
Yes! Send My Free Guide!

Get Your FREE Goal-Oriented
Writer Guide!

We’ll send the link to this handy guide filled with
expert advice and smart tips so you can start
reaching your writing goals today!

 
Bonus: Stay updated! We’ll email you weekly links
to more great articles featuring the best writing
strategies and insider info!
close-link
Live Chat Software