2020 Lit Fest Fellows

Fiction Fellow for Emerging Writers: Philip Anderson

Runners-Up: Margie Sarsfield, Valentina Rios.
Finalists: Antonia Angress, Georgia English, Zoa Saberhagen, Alyssa Northrop, Joseph Ponce.

Selected by: Rebecca Makkai.
Judge's Statement: "I found Mission Dolores quietly propulsive, and effortlessly readable. There's insight and humor and pathos, and I was sad to come to the end of the excerpt."

Philip Anderson has an MFA from Columbia University where he was also a creative writing teaching fellow. He has received grants and fellowships from Writers in Paradise, Catwalk Residency, and Vermont Studio Center. His work has most recently been in Martha’s Quarterly, Archways, and BULL: Men's Fiction. He currently lives in Connecticut with his partner and two cats, and he teaches at a community college. 


Nonfiction Fellow for Emerging Writers: Natalie Sharp

Runners-Up: Ilse Josepha Lazaroms, Chris Moore.
Finalists: Carolyn Getches, Peter Smith, Courtney Zenner, Katherine Shaefer, Kristen Zory King.

Selected by: T Kira Madden.
Judge's Statement: "Natalie Sharp whirls words until they land like a reinvention of language on the tongue. The work in Grief Notes is muscled and atmospheric, a pleasure, ache, and an education. I cannot wait to follow this writer’s career, always. These fragments spun me loose."

Natalie Sharp is a Black queer writer, dancer, and educator hailing from Savannah, GA and based in Denver, CO. She completed her MFA in poetry at the University of Colorado Boulder. Natalie was a 2019-20 Fulbright Student ETA (Armenia), the 2018 Denver Mercury representative for the Women of the World Poetry Slam, a 2017 Lambda Literary Emerging LGBTQ Voices Fellow in poetry, and a finalist for the 2017 Frontier Poetry Award for New Poets. Her poetry and nonfiction have previously appeared or are forthcoming in Cosmonauts Avenue, Puerto del Sol, BOAAT Press, Juked, The Shade Journal, and elsewhere. If you propose to her in a Waffle House, she will probably say yes. You can follow her on Instagram @short_sharp_shock.


Poetry Fellow for Emerging Writers: Georgianna J Van Gunten

Runners-Up: Felicity Sheehy, Sydney Gabrielle Mayes.
Finalists: Hinnah Mian, April Lim, Liza Sparks, S. Erin Batiste, Michael Chang.

Selected by: Jericho Brown.
Judge's Statement: "The winner is Poems from the Horse Hospital. These poems drift between dread and humor the way any life does. Each elegy here is a celebration of the ability to feel grief, the ability to feel anything at all.”

Georgianna J Van Gunten is a writer based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has an MFA with Vermont College of Fine Arts, and currently teaches creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She/her or they/them pronouns are preferred. A 2015 recipient of the Margaret Randall Poetry prize, publications include Gesture Literary Magazine, Le Petit Press, Semi-colon Press, Bombay Gin Literary Journal, et al. The writer was also named poet of the month for January 2020 at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe.


Dramatic Writing Fellow for Emerging Writers: Kevin Elkmann

Runner-Up: Cameron Snyder.
Finalists: Rachael Carnes, Mark Bowes, Jeffrey James Keyes, Alex Fountain, Luke Muyskens.

Selected by: Daniel Goldfarb.
Judge's Statement: “This pilot excerpt has a clear voice, some incredible visual storytelling, suspense, great black humor, and efficiently well-drawn characters. A world and a tone are established almost immediately. I found it to be fresh and engaging work.”

Kevin Elkmann is an award-winning Art Director and Copywriter. A 20-year resident of Colorado, he describes himself as an avid hiker, biker, and skier, but in reality, he mostly spends his time wandering around used book stores and daydreaming on bar patios. Kevin is often distracted with thoughts of nachos and whether or not the old man staring at him is a future version of himself who’s traveled back in time to see where it all went wrong. He writes nerdy, existential stories that try to point out the absurdity in life.


Veterans Writing Award*: James Speed Hensinger

 Runners-Up: Isaac Rollings, Michael McAndrew, Laura Mahal .
Finalist: Luke Anthony Martinez.

Selected by: Brian Turner.
Judge's Statement: "This writer's short meditation on a soldier's return from Vietnam is evocative and understated. The writing here is nuanced and uses great economy of language—not for the sake of compression only, but to create a space for the reader to participate in the construction of meaning. A Summer Evening works on several layers of meaning simultaneously--and with seamless ease."

James Speed Hensinger is a writer living above the smog in Westminster Colorado. He served in the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade in and around the Central Highlands of Vietnam in 1969-1970, which has seriously compromised his ability to enjoy time spent in the great outdoors. He has published a computer science book, and numerous non-fiction articles, as well as many recipes. He has supported himself as a silversmith, Volkswagen mechanic, landscape worker, graduate student teaching assistant, farm laborer, librarian, hardware store clerk, petroleum geologist, handyman, road laborer, emergency medical technician, backpacking guide, soldier, night watchman in a funeral home, software engineer, fur hunter, author, carpet cleaner, photographer, and dishwasher. He retired from his first career at 55, and is currently working on his memoir, DEROS, about the Vietnam War.

*Lighthouse is proud to offer fellowships for veterans, funded by a grant from Prevent and Prevail.