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Winners of the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards for Young Writers 2015

Polyphony H.S. and the Community Foundation of Hudson Valley are pleased to announce the winners of the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards for Young Writers. Each year, three prize winners are chosen in Poetry, Short-Fiction, and Creative Non-Fiction. The winners are selected by published authors from our annual printed volume. In addition, two ranked honorable mentions are selected in each genre. The pieces represent some of the finest published works by teen writers in the world.


Poetry Judge, Anne Calcagno

Anne Calcagno’s first novel, Love Like A Dog, set in contemporary Chicago, won First Place in the category First Novel from the New Generation Indie Book Awards. It was also a Finalist in their category: Animals/Pets Books. Love Like a Dog was also awarded the Bronze Medal in the Great Lakes Regional Fiction category from the 15th Annual Independent Book Publisher Awards. And furthermore it received an Honorable Mention in the General Fiction category of the San Francisco Book Festival, which is part of the DYI Convention (Do it Yourself awards in Film, Music & Books). Love Like a Dog was also a shortlisted Finalist in Inkubate’s novel competition (1,200+ submissions, judged by Mary Gaitskill) for which Calcagno will attend the Summer Literary Seminar in Nairobi, Kenya, in December 2013.

She is at work on a second novel Struck By Dina about the Italian colonization of East Africa.

For stories in her collection Pray For Yourself, Anne received the San Francisco Foundation Phelan Literary Award, as well as an NEA and two Illinois Arts Council Artists Fellowships. Her fiction has appeared in The North American ReviewTriQuarterlyDenver QuarterlyEpoch, and a number of anthologies, including Don’t Tell Mama!, an anthology of Italian-American writing, In the Middle of the Middle West: Literary Nonfiction from the Heartland and Whose Panties Are These? More Misadventures from Funny Women on the Road. She won an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award for her story ‘What’s Yours?’ published in Other Voices. She has given readings and lectures throughout the country.

Winner: Audrey Spensley

Avon Lake High School, Avon Lake, Ohio
Indian Summer

1st Honorable Mention: Shakthi Shrima
Homeschool, Austin, Texas

2nd Honorable Mention: Alexandra Kindahl
Towson High School, Towson, Maryland
At Berklee


Fiction Judge, Luís Alberto Urrea

Luis Alberto Urrea is the award-winning author of 13 books, including The Hummingbird’s Daughter, The Devil’s Highway and Into the Beautiful North. Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, Luis has used the theme of borders, immigration and search for love and belonging throughout his work. A Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005 (nonfiction), he’s won the Kiriyama Prize (2006), the Lannan Award (2002), an American Book Award (1999) and was named to the Latino Literary Hall of Fame. He is a creative writing professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago and lives with his family in the ‘burbs (dreaming of returning West soon!).


Winner:  Walker Caplan
Lakeside School, Seattle, Washington

1st Honorable Mention: Kat Neis
Homeschool, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Onion Alleys

2nd Honorable Mention: Siqi Liu
Central Naperville High School, Naperville, Illinois



A student-run national literary magazine for high school writers and editors