Announcing the Winners of the 2024 Iron Pen Contest | Info for the Awards Reading 3/9

Hello Iron Pen Contestants!

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in Iron Pen 2024. We received many terrific entries, and our excellent judges— Tammy Davis (nonfiction), Hannah Scott-Ravikumar (fiction), and Hannah Showalter (poetry), who are last year’s winners in each category—had very difficult decisions to make in their evaluations. We appreciate everyone’s time and talents in making this year’s contest one of the most competitive we’ve ever had.

Without any further ado, here are the winners of the 2024 Iron Pen Contest, by category:


1st Place: Peter Hadlandsmyth, of Iowa City, IA: “Pick Up”

2nd Place: David Nash, of La Crescent, MN – “The Fourth”

3rd Place: Dee A. Robb, of New Windsor, IL: “I Know What They’re Thinking”

Honorable Mention: Natalie Murphy, of Chandler, AZ: “Shoot Your Shot”

Honorable Mention: Lex Wurth, of Ames, IA: “Pink Power Nail Polish”


1st Place: Jacob Duncan, of Aledo, IL: “Someday In the Mood for Love – After Wong Kar-Wai”

2nd Place: David Wright, of Monmouth, IL: “Why I Try to Keep Sins Away from My Lips (and Yours)”

3rd Place: Kathleen Fields, of Oak Park, IL: Morning Glory, Amen


1st place: Kristin DeMarr, of Davenport, IA: “You won’t tell folks what you fear any of this says about you”

2nd place: Emily Harvey, of Davenport, IA: “Going Home”

3rd place: Jessica Brent, of Tulsa, OK: “Owasso”

Honorable Mention: Mary Deakin, of Davenport, IA: “Intrusive Thoughts”

Honorable Mention: Samantha DeFilippo, of McHenry, IL: “The Never-Ending To Do List”

***Congrats to all of our winners!*** 

The Award Ceremony and Reading is this Saturday, March 9 at 12pm CST at the Rock Island Public Library, Downtown Branch, 2nd Floor Community Room. It will also be livestreamed to MWC’s YouTube page:

The winners, 2nd, 3rd Places and Honorable Mentions will be our featured readers, but anyone who participated is welcome to read their entry to this year’s contest. If you would like to read during the event, please send an email to let us know if you plan on reading so we have an idea of how many readers to expect: – Thanks!  

We will have the checks, medals, and certificates at the event; if you cannot attend, we will mail them to you on Monday, March 11. We will also have our drawing for the full registration to the David R. Collins Writing Conference, and for some other prizes, during the event on Saturday (please note: you do not need to be present to win the Conference registration—anyone with a paid Iron Pen Entry will be included in the raffle, and each paid entry enters your name one time—so, for example, if you entered in all 3 categories, your name will be in the drawing 3 times). You are of course welcome & encouraged to help spread the word about the event; here’s the Facebook event page:

We hope you had fun with this year’s prompt—everyone certainly did a great job of going from zero to finished piece in a mere 24 hours! Thank you all so much again! Please let me know if you have any other questions about the contest or the Award Ceremony this Saturday 3/9. Thanks again and have a good day…

All best,