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Kristin Hannah, best-selling author of 20 novels, including Home Front (St. Martin's Press)
"I was surprised by how difficult it was to choose a winning entry. So many of the stories were beautifully composed and carefully told. I began my career entering writing competitions—each of my entries taught me something and gave me an opportunity—so they're very near to my heart. Becoming an author can be such a fragile dream, so it was wonderful to offer these writers encouragement."
Jennifer Enderlin, Vice President and Associate Publisher, St. Martin's Press
"The level of quality among the finalists and the depth of emotion they were able to achieve in such a short format was impressive. As an editor, this contest gave me a wonderful awareness that some of my future favorite (and undiscovered) authors are out there, writing away!"
Linda Fears, Family Circle Editor-in-Chief
Darcy Jacobs, Family Circle Executive EditorMeet the Winners 1st Place: "Buried Treasure" by Diana Bletter
"Like many Americans, my family has recently faced financial challenges," says Diana. "I wrote this story out of the conviction that we should always look for hope and beauty in our life, especially during trying times. I learned from entering and winning the contest that if we work hard enough, miracles do happen!" Living in Speonk, New York, Diana is a freelance writer and mom of six.
Jennifer: "A beautiful, simple story about what is truly important in life. I also thought it was such a realistic portrait of what makes a husband and wife lean on each other when the going gets tough."
"It's an enlightening process to imagine yourself in someone else's shoes and to become immersed in their perspective," says Amy. "Through this piece, I broadened my understanding of the human experience." Amy is a freelance writer and illustrator in Buffalo, New York, and blogs about raising her four kids.
Darcy: "In a few thousand words, we enter the world of Samuel, a sweetly petulant tween, his harried mom and her dementia-stricken grandmother. Humor, heartbreak and hope."
"My story let me explore my definition of success, coalescing my belief that it's about being one's best self and, to paraphrase the Special Olympics, be brave in the attempt regardless of outcome," says Kathy. "This validation motivates me to continue to support my dreams." A mom of three in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Kathy fulfilled her childhood wish of being a writer by entering this contest.
Kristin: "This lovely story about graduation day was beautifully emotional and universal in its appeal. I can't imagine any mother reading it and not being moved."
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