Each year Event holds a creative nonfiction contest in which the winners' manuscripts are published in a special Creative Non-Fiction Contest issue of the magazine. The winners, Kanina Dawson, Davis Swanson, and Ayelet Tsabari, each had pieces worthy of the $500 prize.
“Pashtu, for Bird and Other Words that Hurt” by Dawson was an intense view of a bombing from two different soldiers’ viewpoints. One is on the ground; the other is a lookout in a tower. The structure has each part separated by military time, and the font changes to italics with each shift. The detail is amazing. The soldier in the tower describes the scene from above, while the soldier on the ground has short, choppy sentences to exhibit the quick action and decision making processes after the attack.
Swanson’s piece, “Glimpses of my Father,” is just what the title states. He uses sections to recap different parts of his father’s life: “A Lover,” “The Basement Man,” “Travel,” and “Return, Photograph, Dementia, and Death.” What’s interesting is that he doesn’t go in order, but goes through each part as if he is sitting and recapping his father in his mind, jumping from memory to memory. It’s as if he knows his father, but at the same time the man remains a mystery to him.
The final winner, “You and What Army” by Tsabari, definitely had the most attitude. It’s about a Pakistani girl who was forced to join the army, accused of stealing guns, and had no fear of talking back in a place where order was high on the list.
Of course, not to overshadow the other pieces, the poetry and fiction were exquisite also. Authors such as Esther Mazakian and Elise Partridge had no trouble playing with format, while also paying close attention to imagery and word choice with lines such as “She’s sun-bittin /…a devil in the flesh / dining on their protein intake,” from “Loophole” and “a wolfs head brooch / with ten black pearls / a pair of ruby crusted clocks,” from “Where your Treasure is.”
“The Gray Metal Desk” by Barry Dempster allows readers into the life of a man named Brice, trying to cope with the fact that he may not be able to have children. It touches on his emotions, his ego, and the problems it could cause him and his wife.
Overall, the magazine contains a wonderful selection of poetry and fiction, not the least bit fearful of boundaries, making the imagery new and the topics interesting. This, along with the stories from fresh new talent, makes Event an enjoyable read from start to finish.