Healing Stories Creative Writing Contest

About the Contest

It is with great pleasure that we conclude the Fourth Annual “Healing Stories Creative Writing Contest” sponsored by Tuckson Health Connections in collaboration with the Department of English at Howard University.

The “Healing Stories” initiative arises out of the tragic reality of the excessive burden of poor health and premature death experienced by communities of color. Within this context, it is essential that disease prevention and medical care interventions be guided by enhanced insights into real life health related motivations, family dynamics, and community influences.

Our initiative is targeted to the creative writing community of HBCU institutions and is designed to stimulate students to create and share works of poetry, fiction, and memoir or autobiography that explore elements of the struggle to achieve health and wholeness as well as the burdens associated with coping with illness. Ultimately, we hope this exploration of character and circumstance will benefit both the student writers and health professionals who deliver prevention and curative services.

This competition is an opportunity for students to develop their talent, showcase their work, make an important social contribution to the healing arts, and have the opportunity to earn prize rewards. The contest will offer a $1,000 first place prize, a $500 second place prize, and a $250 third place prize in each category. Additionally, noteworthy submissions will be published on the Tuckson Health Connections website and actively promoted via social and other media.

A distinguished panel of judges — including actor and artist Malcolm-Jamal Warner and USA Today Health Reporter Jayne O’Donnell — will evaluate the submissions and award the prizes.

All entries must be submitted before 11:59pm EST April 1, 2017.

Entry Form

The contest is closed.

UPDATE: Winners will be announced May 1 (instead of April 15 as previously posted). Please check back to read the winning short stories, memoirs and poems then.


The contest is open to undergraduate and graduate students attending a recognized HBCU. Students will be required to provide an official university-issued email address for an HBCU faculty member who can be contacted to verify that the student is, in fact, matriculating this semester at the institution.

Official Contest Guidelines

Entry Deadline

Entries must be received before 11:59pm EST on April 1, 2017. Submissions received after that will not be accepted.


The contest will offer a $1,000 first place prize, a $500 second place prize, and a $250 third place prize. Additionally, noteworthy submissions will be made available on the Howard University Department of English and Tuckson Health Connections websites and actively promoted via social and other media.


Contact us at writingcontest@tucksonhealthconnections.com


2017 Winners

Congratulations to the 2017 winners of our Healing Stories Creative Writing Contest. This year, more than 50 students from over 20 HBCUs entered the contest. Among those HBCUs represented with student entries are Alabama State U, Alcorn State U, Bowie State, Clark Atlanta U, Delaware State U, Florida A&M U, Ft. Valley State U, Gadsden State U, Grambling State U, Howard U, Huston-Tillotson U, Jackson State U, Morehouse C, Morgan State U, Norfolk State U, Savannah State U, Spelman C, Stillman C, Tennessee State U, Texas Southern U, Tougaloo C, Tuskegee U, U of District of Columbia, U of Maryland, Eastern Shore, U of Virgin Islands, and Wilberforce U.

This year was also a banner year in terms of the number of entries we received, with more than 60 entries in the poetry category alone. We hope you will take the time to read through these thoughtful and evocative writing submissions on health and healing and that you will consider applying or encouraging someone to apply to the contest next year. Happy reading, and be well!


1st place: “Resisting Self-Diagnosis on the Road to Healing” – Angel Dye (Howard U)

Here’s what the judges said about “Resisting Self-Diagnosis…” This daring poem evokes a holistic and empowered sense of healing even as it paints, in metaphor and imagery, a debilitating pain and trauma. The structure of the poem—presented in six parts—gestures toward the complex stages of healing. The poem captures the struggle in both small achievements and the risk of setbacks. It also acknowledges that the path to healing is not an untrodden way in the lines “Even when you have to crawl or tiptoe toward your truths, trust / the counsel in the footprints stamped before you.”

2nd place: “Unspoken” Andranique Green (Hutson-Tillotson)

3rd place: “Daily Runs Alongside Depression Pain Anxiety” C.L. Mirabel (Norfolk State U)


Short Story

1st place: “My Sister’s Keeper” by Quiaira B. Terrell (Hutson-Tillotson U)

Here’s what the judges said about “My Sister’s Keeper.” This story is well-crafted, complete with distinct and full-bodied characters, sparse prose and clever dialogue. Each word is poised to move the story forward. This writer’s talent is undeniable.

2nd place: “Raincoat” by K. Deaunta Edwards (Stillman C)

3rd place: “Listen” T. S. R. Brown (Bowie State U)


Honorable Mentions:

“Results” by Brianna Doe (Howard U)

“How I Stopped Hating Myself” by Jansen Felton (Ft. Valley State U)