A racial riot on Chicago’s near west side as seen through the eyes of a young girl serves as the springboard for the winner of the Chicago Writers Association’s 2nd Annual First Chapter Contest.

Frank S. Joseph’s opening chapter to To Do Justice captured first place. Frank will be awarded a full scholarship to attend the Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp & Writing Retreat May 20 to 26, 2018, at the Cedar Valley Center & Spa, 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee, near West Bend, Wisconsin (value: $1375).

Tied for second place were the first chapters of Renee James’ crime thriller, North Rush, and Maureen Connolly’s pensive A Million Miles from Yesterday. Each will receive a cash award of $150.

Third place and a cash award of $75 is awarded to Mary T. Wagner for the opening chapter of her suspense novel, The D.A. Wore Stilettos.

Members of CWA’s Board of Directors selected the prize winners, which will be published in CWA’s e-zine, Write City Magazine, from approximately 40 entries. Judging was based on merits that should be found in a first chapter, including a good opening hook, strong characterizations, compelling voice, conflict, dialogue, and no grammar/mechanical errors.

Thank you to all of those who entered. The field of entries was highly competitive. The judges were all impressed by the quality of this year’s entries. Those who entered and did not win but want to attend the Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp & Writing Retreat may apply the $15 entry fee towards the already reduced Bookcamp registration cost for CWA members.

The 3rd Annual First Chapter Contest is closed to entries. Our judges are busy reading the record number of submissions we received. We expect winners to be announced by early December.