When Sunspot decided to launch an annual contest focused on a single word that would change every year, they deliberately selected a divisive word. They expected that having “cunt” in the title, even when they replaced the vowel with an asterisk, would create problems publicizing the contest, and that turned out to be correct.
They hoped that the focus on an inflammatory word would generate creative responses from authors and artists worldwide. The role of women in different societies, gender identity and fluidity, and human rights are, in some ways, the defining issues of our times.
The creative community responded with powerful works that blew the staff away. The tone of various pieces ranged from angry to empowered, from jackhammer decibels to whispering calm. In every case, the undercurrent lifted veils and carried all people toward a climactic resolution.
The significant quality of so many entries confounded the final judging process. There simply was no way to choose between the top two entries. The decision, therefore, was to declare two winners. As promised in Sunspot’s guidelines, the cash award was not split; it was doubled.
First place for a poem went to Morrow Dowdle for “To Russia with Love.” First place for artwork went to Valyntina Grenier for “Over His Eye.”
The winning entries will be published for the first time in the next edition of Sunspot Lit. The winners will be featured on the website, as well. They each received a $50 cash prize and the awe of the staff.