Passages North is thrilled to announce the winner of this year’s Ray Ventre Nonfiction Prize*! We had a fantastic selection of entries this year, with over 130 pieces that ranged from gut-wrenching to intellectually exhilarating and always had us asking what else can this genre do? We’d like to thank Jenny Boully for helping us choose our winner, as well as everyone who submitted. The winning essay, and three honorable mentions, will appear in Issue 39 of Passages North, due out February 2018.
Winner: Danielle Lea Buchanan, “Derailments”
About Buchanan’s essay, Jenny Boully writes “‘Derailments’ isn't simply about why things go wrong: it's an examination of unseen sufferings, hidden tragedies, unwitnessed soul crushings. The piece brings together, so that they may present all their ironies and misfortunes side-by-side, the hopes and injustices and the dire means through which humans will suffer in order to journey to a new and better life. It's about love unrealized, fractured bones, dismemberment, and bondage. The author doesn't, however, tarry too long anywhere: after all, the world, as do trains, keeps going forward without regard to our individual lives. There's also a sweeping lushness of language, a mechanical friction and musicality. I enjoyed so much the clashes of sound in this piece.”
Garrett Brown, “Disassembly Required”
Noam Dorr, “Fragment | Fragment”
Tessa Mellas, “Keeping Houses”
Beth Bachmann, “Sun, God”
Megan Ellis, “Shedding: A Primer”
Jaimie Eubanks, “The Nature of Obstacles”
Patricia Murphy, “Toast: A Love Story”
Charlotte O’Brien, “Something in the Way”
Peyton Prater, “A Virtual Reality Itinerary According to the Harrison-Wheeler Equation of State for Cold, Dead Matter”
Natasha Sajé, “59 Theses”
*The Ray Ventre Nonfiction Prize has been renamed from the Hrushka Nonfiction Prize in memory of Dr. Ray Ventre, the beloved late head of the English Department at Northern Michigan University. We will never stop missing his endless support of Passages North, his contributions (great and small) to the NMU community, and his infectious snort-laugh.