Presenting the Winners of the 2014 Wabash Prize for Nonfiction

We are thrilled to announce that Leslie Jamison, judge of the 2014 Wabash Prize for Nonfiction, has chosen “Ghost Language” by Jessica Wilbanks as the winning essay.  Here’s what Jamison has to say about Jessica Wilbanks’ essay:

“Ghost Language” is a searching, visceral examination of faith and its negative margins–its nerve endings are sharply attuned to the proximate world–the song of its particulars–and the yearning for something less proximate, something divine. It’s a piercing examination of memory and longing–the vexed terms by which one can be haunted by one’s own lost faith.

“Ghost Language” will be published in the spring issue of Sycamore Review.  We’re also excited to announce that Pamela Schmid’s essay, “Black Roses,” was selected by Jamison as the runner-up and will appear in the upcoming issue of Sycamore Review as well. Here’s what Jamison has to say about Pamela Schmid’s work:

“Black Roses” is a deeply moving narrative of patience and loss. It’s a narrative of fertility struggles that manages to be unapologetic about its emotional heft, and the gravity of its investments, without devolving into maudlin sentiment or self-pity. It gripped me absolutely.

We’d like to congratulate all of the finalists and semifinalists who were chosen from a wide and talented pool of entrants.


Sean Ironman, “Chasing Something in the Night”

Sally J. Johnson, “Breastwork”

Sheryl Louise Rivett, “Inheritance”


Marjorie Hakala, “Jumping the Fence”

Jill Kolongowski, “Luck: An Annotated History”

Julie Jeanell Leung, “Moon of the Century”

Jess Smith, “D.”

Barrett Warner, “My Thousand Year Old Disease”

Congratulations again to our winner, runner-up, and finalists.  And a big thank you to all who submitted! Stay tuned for an excerpt from the winning essay!