2013 High School Writing Contest Winners Announced

Winners to read alongside award-winning poets, novelists

2013 Contest Winners:



  1. Dalia Ahmed [Miami, Florida]
  2. Talin Tahajian [Belmont, MA]
  3. Hanel Baveja [Ann Arbor, MI]


  1. Alexa Derman [West Field, NJ]
  2. Catrina Sun Tan [San Francisco, CA]
  3. Nick Burns [Ventura, CA]


  1. Jenny Jung [Andover, MA]
  2. Allison Light [Little Rock, AR]
  3. Tyler Randazzo [Bethlehem, NH]


  • Poetry: Stephanie Hsu, [Fremont, CA]
  • Fiction: Sara Lagen [Monterey, CA]
  • Nonfiction: Eloise Perrochet [Northridge, CA]

The Sierra Nevada Review staff and the writing faculty at Sierra Nevada College are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s high school writing contest.

In poetry, first place went to Dalia Ahmed for How to Mix Native Blood with Foreign Water: A Lab. Second Place went to Talin Tahajian for Dream in which the moon is replaced by my grandfather’s lymphoma tumor. Third place went to Hanel Baveja for Concavity of Checkmate.

The Local’s Prize in poetry (Nevada and California writers only) went to Stephanie Hsu for her poem Mitosis.

Finalists for the poetry prize included Hanel Baveja for Gas Station at the End of the World, Allison Light for How to Read A Palm, Emily Markwiese for The Penumbra King, Yasmin Belkhyr for The Wolves Play Dead, and Melissa Ho for Cages for Cinderblocks.

In fiction, first place went to Alexa Derman for Kindergarten. Second place went to Catrina Sun Tan for The 29 and third place to Nick Burns for The Moon Country.

Sara Lagen won the Local’s Prize with her story The Countdown.

Finalists in fiction included Emily Nichols for A Mistaken Fear, Oksana Picca for Dollified, Allison Paley for The Door, Celeste Barnaby for Carcass, and Celeste Valdez for The Inhabitance.

In nonfiction, first place went to Jenny Jung for A Reality on a Friday Night, second place to Allison Light for How to be Holy, and third place to Tyler Randazzo for Camp.

Eloise Perrochet won the Local’s Prize with Death of a Dogfish.

Finalist in the nonfiction category included Talin Tahajian for Curtain Calls, Anne Li for An Introduction to Slam Poetry, Elise Thompson for Truth, Trauma, and Transit, Sarah Cameron for Squatter’s Hill, and Jamie Cho for Cessation.

The winners and finalist will be honored at a ceremony on Friday, January 10 at Sierra Nevada College, as part of the MFA in creative writing residency events. The residency offers readings free and open to the public. The student writers will have the opportunity to read their work publically and will receive cash prizes. First place winners receive $500.00, second place $250.00 and third place $100.00. The Local’s Prize is $100.00. These students are also eligible for a $20,000.00 scholarship to attend Sierra Nevada College.

Laura Wetherington, Faculty Advisor for the Sierra Nevada Review commented, “The final decisions were incredibly difficult given the quality of work we received this year.”