Hunger Mountain Announces Winners of the 2015 Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult & Children’s Writing

Winners, who hail from Missouri, Connecticut, California, and India, receive prize money, publication, and invitation to literary representation

Montpelier, Vt.—Hunger Mountain, the Vermont College of Fine Arts Journal of the Arts, today announced the winners of the 2015 Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult & Children’s Writing. The contest received nearly 200 entries and was judged by Ammi-Joan Paquette, children’s author and senior agent with Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

“I very much enjoyed this opportunity to judge such worthy entries, and had a tough time choosing just one winner out of each batch of finalists,” said Paquette. “The kind of fresh, unique, and well-crafted writing for children and young adults that I saw in these contest entries are just the type of work I’m looking for in the publishing industry,” she said.

Paquette invited some of the prizewinning authors to submit writing to be considered for literary representation at EMLA, making this contest a doorway into the publishing world for new and emerging authors.

“This is exactly the kind of connection we hope to see for emerging artists who publish and win prizes at Hunger Mountain,” said Editor Miciah Gault. “I’m thrilled that our judge this year found such quality work in our contestants, and even more thrilled to help our prizewinners gain the audience they deserve,” she said.

First place in the Katherine Paterson Prize was awarded to Rachel Furey, of Jefferson City, Missouri, for her young adult fiction story “Tilt-a-Whirl,” about a teenage girl who, after losing her dog, is afraid to open up to possibilities of human love and friendship. One of Hunger Mountain’s first readers called the writing “powerful.”

“Over the past seven years, the Katherine Paterson Prize has been awarded to some of the most accomplished and interesting new voices in children’s literature,” said Hunger Mountain Children’s Literature Editor Caroline Carlson. “This isn’t the first time Rachel Furey has caught our guest judge’s eye—she received a special mention from judge Katherine Applegate in last year’s contest—and we’re so pleased to bring her exceptional work to a wider audience,” she said.

The winner receives $1,000 and publication in a special prizewinner issue of Hunger Mountain.

Three category winners were also selected: Elaine Alexander, of Colchester, Conn., for her picture book, “Angler Fish: Black Devil of the Deep;” Mathangi Subramanian, of New Delhi, India, for her middle grade manuscript, “Banu the Builder;” and Sharry Wright, of San Francisco, Calif., for her young adult novel excerpt, “The Lies and Illusions of Lucy Sparrow.” Category winners receive $100 and publication in Hunger Mountain.

The full list of finalists and special mentions are listed on the Hunger Mountain website at


About Rachel Furey
Rachel Furey completed her doctorate at Texas Tech and now teaches at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. She won Sycamore Review’s Wabash Prize for Fiction and her work has also appeared in journals such as One Teen Story, Crab Orchard Review, Cicada, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Women’s Basketball Magazine, and Chautauqua.

About Ammi-Joan Paquette
Ammi-Joan Paquette is a senior agent with Erin Murphy Literary Agency, representing all types of children’s and YA literature. She is also the author of the middle-grade novel Princess Juniper of the Hourglass (Philomel, 2015), and other books including Rules for Ghosting (Walker, 2013), Nowhere Girl (Walker, 2011), and Ghost in the House (Candlewick, 2013). In her agent acquisitions, Joan is particularly drawn to richly voiced, unforgettable characters and settings, as well as tightly-paced, well-plotted stories with twists and turns that keep you guessing right until the end. Visit her on the web at

About the Katherine Paterson Prize
Named after award-winning author Katherine Paterson, author of more than 30 books for young people, including Bridge to Terabithia and The Great Gilly Hopkins, The Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing began at Hunger Mountain in 2009, to recognize outstanding writing for young audiences. The inaugural contest, judged by the eponymous Paterson, was awarded to Liz Cook, a graduate of VCFA’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children & Young Adults program. The prize is open to all writers who wish to submit work in the picture book, middle grade, or young adult category. The deadline for the 2016 Katherine Paterson Prize is March 1, 2016, with judge TBD.

About Hunger Mountain
Founded in 2002 by Caroline Mercurio, Hunger Mountain is a print and online journal of the arts publishing fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, visual art, young adult and children’s writing, and literary miscellany. The mission is to cultivate engagement with and conversation about the arts by publishing high-quality, innovative literary and visual art by both established and emerging artists, offering opportunities for interactivity and discourse. Its editorial offices are located at the Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) in historic Montpelier, Vt. The print issue comes out annually in the spring, and online content changes on a regular basis. Learn more at