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  • Leslie Jill Patterson

winners of the ihlr 2017 trifecta

Every November, Iron Horse Literary Review opens its submission gates for our annual Trifecta competition, which celebrates marathon-long stories, essays, and poems. The winners receive $250 each and are published in our summer series of e-singles, perfect for vacation reading on your handheld devices.

The winning manuscripts will be released later this month, right here, for free! Read them! Share them! And next November, send us your own marathon-long manuscripts. We can’t wait to read them--


Winner: “The Twi-Lite” by C.J. Spataro

C.J. Spataro is the MFA program director at Rosemont College in suburban Philadelphia and the editorial director of Philadelphia Stories and PS Books. She is a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant winner for fiction, and her short fiction has appeared in a number of literary journals including Permafrost, The Baltimore Review, XConnect, Mason’s Road, and Painted Bride Quarterly. Her work has also been anthologized in Another Breath, Forgotten Philadelphia, Extraordinary Gifts, and 50 Over 50.


“The Hollow” by Robert Busby

“What’s A Little Kindness Between Foes” by K.K. Fox

“Mississippi River Museum or Half-Breeds” by Keith Lesmeister

“The Girl Who Only Sleeps on Planes: A Blog” by Kelly Lynn Thomas


Winner: “A Letter from Bernie, A Letter from Ben” by Willa Schmidt

Willa Elizabeth Schmidt was a reference librarian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for twenty-five years and now serves as an ESL tutor through the Literacy Network. Her work has appeared in journals including Bellevue Literary Review, Calyx, Kalliope, Potomac Review, and Passages North. Her fiction was included in the 2014 collection Best Short Stories from the Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest, and an essay is forthcoming in an anthology from Red Hen Press, Two Countries: U.S. Daughters and Sons of Immigrant Parents.


“A Hole in the Heart Is a Hole in the Head Is a Hole in the Ground” by Nicholas Martin

“Journey to the Deep West” by David Oates

“Pastor Dan’s Chapel Jam” by Katie O’Reilly


Winner: “Helpless Intruders in a Strange World” by Heather Altfeld

Heather Altfeld’s first book, The Disappearing Theatre, won the Poets at Work Book Prize, selected by Stephen Dunn. Her poems appear in Narrative Magazine, Pleiades, ZYZZYVA, Poetry Northwest, and others. She won the 2015 Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry with Nimrod International Magazine of Poetry and Prose. Her current research and areas of interest include Children’s Literature, Anthropology and Poetry, and things that have vanished. She lives in Northern California and teaches in the English Department and the Honors Program at California State University, Chico, and is a longtime member of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley.


“War Song” by Albert Haley

“Poem Ending When a Child Is Split in Two” by Aaron Krol

“Division of the Mississippi” by Andrew Nurkin

Bonus Trifecta

This year, we'll also be sharing a 2016 AWP Intro Award winner--Nathaniel Barron's the title/opening chapter of his novel in progress, From the Watch Tower--in our 2017 Trifecta Series. Nathaniel Barron is enrolled in the creative writing program at Colorado State University. His winning manuscript was selected by AWP Intro judge Mary Grimm.

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