Last Call for #BarnhillPrize Submissions

Our current submission period is open from June 1, 2021 to July 31, 2021. Submit your nonfiction to be considered for the #BarnhillPrize


Previous winners of The Anne C. Barnhill Prize for Creative Nonfiction 

Mary J. Mahoney, Suburbs Plagued by Foraging Deer 2019
Marsha Lynn Smith, 4 Generations of Black Hair Matters 2020

Read all our published essays via our Creative Nonfiction menu tab.

#BarnhillPrize judge 2021 Mike Smith

Creative Nonfiction

“Listen” — Advent Ghosts 2020

The historical society sells a gilded ornament each year. This, of John, of Jack, shows his eyes downcast. His widow chose the image for the portrait, after enduring faithlessness, blood, and grief. Her black veil burns with heat, not chill.

What is preservation if not a gathering of lost souls, their dreams, their crimes, all that they believed was buried with them? What is this present, masquerading as the past, rousing spirits and preparing the way for all who are damaged? New ghosts cling to the old white house, rewriting its fate and haunting the future.

They will be heard.


Advent Ghosts 100 Word Storytelling is put on by Loren Eaton at I Saw Lightning FallYou can read this year’s entries there. Visit back here throughout the day for a growing crop of spooky stories from a range of writers! Loren posts them all day today, the darkest day of the year.

This is an exactly 100-word flash fiction piece for a tradition of writing ghost stories on Christmas Eve. We acknowledge a sinful and hopeless world, and welcome the dawn in full awareness that Christmas day brings us light.

Search tag “Advent Ghosts” to read all of my 100-word stories for this project over the years.