$1,000 "Waiting" Essay Prize Awarded

Creative Nonfiction is pleased to announce the winners of the “Waiting” essay contest, chosen by the magazine’s editors out of more than 650 submissions.

Joe Fassler is the first-place winner of the $1,000 prize for his essay, “Wait Times.” The piece describes his traumatic trip to an emergency room with his wife, Rachel, who writhes in pain for nearly fifteen hours as her illness—ovarian torsion, easily identified yet extremely painful and dangerous—is misdiagnosed and her pain ignored. In this experience, he sees a healthcare system numbed to patients’ pain and, worse, disparaging specifically of women’s pain. He writes: “We saw this from the moment we entered the hospital, as nurses—predominantly female nurses—downplayed Rachel’s pain, ridiculed it, criticized it, even plain ignored it.”

Fassler is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a current resident of Brooklyn. His work appears in venues like the Boston Review, Electric Literature’s “Recommended Reading,” and TheAtlantic.com, where he interviews writers for the “By Heart” series.

Read our interview with Joe >>

Sue William Silverman is the winner of the $500 runner-up prize. Her essay, “Until My Number Is Up,” is a meditation on the role waiting plays in our lives, however little we realize it: “I’m faced with the trite but nonetheless frightening thought that life itself is a waiting room,” she writes. “Waiting for breakfast, for school to start, for college, for marriage or divorce. Waiting for an airplane to depart, for a concert to begin, for a parent to die, for a phone call with bad news, for an email with good news. Waiting, waiting, waiting at the grocery store checkout line, for a doctor’s appointment that will either cure me or end my waiting once and for all, for a therapist’s appointment that will only intensify my sense of loss and regret. Waiting for my body to fall apart.”

Sue William Silverman’s new memoir, The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew, is a finalist in Foreword Reviews’ 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards (essays category). Her two other memoirs are Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction and Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You, which won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs award in creative nonfiction. As a professional speaker, Sue has appeared on various national radio and television programs, such as The View and Anderson Cooper 360. She teaches in the low-residency MFA in Writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Creative Nonfiction #56: Waiting (Summer 2015) also features new work by Rachel Beanland, Mylène Dressler, Nathan Elliott, Josephine Fitzpatrick, Bridey Heing, Sangamithra Iyer, the late Judith Kitchen, Maggie Messitt, Dinty W. Moore, and Janine Zeitlin. Find out more about the issue here.