An undercover cop is shot by mistake on Chicago’s South Side. To the woman who fired the gun, he whispers in her ear what might be his last words: “Disappear” and then “You gotta get gone . . . become invisible. They gonna come after you, sweets.”

This sets the stage for the winner of the Chicago Writers Association’s 6th Annual First Chapter Contest. 

This opening chapter to Map of My Escape by Cheryl L. Reed captured first place. Cheryl has been awarded a full scholarship to attend either the All-Genre Novel-In-Progress (NIP) Bookcamp & Writing Retreat on June 12-18, 2022 or the Speculative Fiction NIP Bookcamp (date to be scheduled), at the Cedar Valley Center & Spa, 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee, near West Bend, Wisconsin (value: $1385).

Second place goes to the first chapter of Mary Dean Cason's Banished Daughters of Eve. Mary has received a cash award of $150.

Third place has been awarded to Karen Brenner for the opening chapter of The Trinity River Trilogy. Karen has received a cash award of $75, which she has generously donated to CWA.

Honorable mentions and cash prizes of $25 each have been awarded to: 

Fatal and Valuable by Cynthia Todd Quam 

Confirmation Bias by Bruce Dravis 

American Mai by Joyce Burns Zeiss

The Lasting Season by Patricia Ann McNair

Congratulations to all of the winners! You'll be able to read the top three winning chapters in upcoming editions of CWA’s Write City Magazine.

Members of CWA’s Board of Directors selected the prize winners, which will be published in CWA’s e-zine, Write City Magazine. 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. 

Look for details about the 7th Annual First Chapter Contest coming in the summer of 2022.