Celebrating Roberta Gates, Winner of the 2021 Dogwood Literary Award in Fiction

Roberta Hartling Gates, Winner of the Dogwood 2021 Literary Award in Fiction

The editors are pleased to announce that judge James Tate Hill has named Roberta Gates’ story “Little Black Dress” as the winner of the 2021 Dogwood Literary Award in Fiction. Mrs. Gates will receive $500 and her story will be published in Dogwood’s 2021 edition.  Finalists for the award were Emily Polk and Cristina Baptista, whose work will also appear in Dogwood 2021, due out in late May.

In his citation selecting Gates’ story, Judge James Tate Hill wrote, “Selecting this year’s winning story for the Dogwood Prize was not easy. “Streetlight People” engaged me throughout with its wit and sense of surprise. “Small Destinies” seduced me with its lush prose and deep wisdom. “Little Black Dress” weaves a layered tale of disappointment and acceptance, but after reading these entries multiple times, it’s Donna with her little black dress, torn and triumphantly abandoned, that lingers with me most vividly. I look forward to reading more work by this writer—by all three of these writers—out in the world.”

Roberta Hartling Gates has been published in Confrontation, Fourth Genre, The Louisville Review, and the Beloit Fiction Journal, as well as elsewhere, and is now working on a novel set in Vichy France. She has an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a reader for The Examined Life Journal. She lives in suburban Chicago with her husband.

Judge James Tate Hill is the author of a memoir, Blind Man’s Bluff, coming July 2021 from W. W. Norton, and a novel, Academy Gothic, winner of the Nilsen Prize for a First Novel. His essays have been listed as Notable in the 2019 and 2020 editions of Best American Essays, and his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Story Quarterly, Hobart, and Waxwing, among others. He serves as fiction editor for the literary journal Monkeybicycle and contributing editor for Literary Hub, where he writes a monthly audiobooks column.

The editors would like to thank the hundreds of writers who entered the contest and invite all writers to consider entering again when submissions reopen in the late summer.  Familiarize yourself with a back issue of the magazine or subscribe by clicking on the “buy” tab in the menu above.

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