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2016 Briar Cliff Review contest winners announced

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Briar Cliff Review is proud to announce the winners of its annual writing contest. The winning entries include “Midwinter, My Mother,” by Laura Apol (best poetry), “Thirty and Out,” by S.J. MacLean (best fiction) and “On Kindness,” by Laura Distelheim (best creative non-fiction). These works will be featured in the 28th edition of the literary magazine, which will be released and available for purchase on April 21.

Laura Apol

Apol, of Lyons, Mich., is an associate professor of literacy at Michigan State University, with a focus on children’s/young adult literature and creative writing. She has authored several collections of her own poems, “Crossing the Ladder of Sun” (winner of the Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry), “Celestial Bodies” (winner of the Overleaf Chapbook Manuscript Competition), “Falling into Grace” and “Requiem, Rwanda” – her newest full-length collection, drawn from her work using writing to facilitate healing among survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.


MacLean is an author of short stories from Danville, Calif. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in literary reviews and newspapers including Inkwell, The Pennsylvania Literary Review, Contra Costa Times, Healthcare News, San Ramon Valley Herald and Tri-Valley Herald. MacLean holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern Maine.


Distelheim is an author and social activist from Highland Park, Ill., whose essays have been featured in publications including The Chicago Tribune Magazine, Whetstone, DoubleTake and Pleiades. Among numerous awards for her work, Distelheim received a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for her “Grace Notes,” a collection of profiles on people who found the strength to overcome challenges of poverty, illness, displacement, discrimination and persecution. In 2003, Distelheim created Neighbor to Neighbor — a non-profit organization committed to combating hunger among impoverished children living her community.

Founded in 1989, The Briar Cliff Review is an eclectic literary and art magazine, published annually by the English and writing departments at Briar Cliff University. Its editors are committed to nurturing writers and artists and fostering the best of both emerging and established writers and artists.

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