SPRINGFIELD - Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White announced the winners of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award in the 14th annual Illinois Emerging Writers Competition for 2018. The winners are from Saunemin, Evanston and Jacksonville.

Donna O’Shaughnessy of Saunemin was awarded first place for her poem “In the Kitchen They Danced.” Emma Morris of Evanston received second place for her poem “MS 57947.” Laura Bandy of Jacksonville was the third-place winner for her poem “Knockout.” The winners read their poems and received their awards during a ceremony on December 4 at the Illinois State Library in Springfield.

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“We created the Illinois Emerging Writers Competition to promote creative writing and provide an opportunity to recognize new literary talent in the state,” White said. “Illinois has a long and rich literary heritage, and these poets are adding to the tradition established by legendary poet Gwendolyn Brooks. Great poems have the ability to enrich and enhance our lives, and I’m pleased to congratulate this year’s talented winners.”

The competition is named for the late Pulitzer Prize-winning Illinois Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks and is sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book. Kevin Stein, Illinois Poet Laureate 2003-2017, served as the final judge of the competition.

The winning poems are available at http://cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/center_for_the_book/. Also, the winning poems will be submitted for possible publication in the “Ninth Letter,” “RHINO” and “Quiddity” magazines and “Poetic License Press” publications.

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