Introducing Our Contest Judges

Now that we’ve congratulated our winner and runners up, it’s time to say thanks to the two fabulous readers who judged the entries for the 2018 undergraduate competition. We are so grateful that Jordi Alonso and Anna Wehrwein made time for our contest amid the demands of writing and art-making and teaching!

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Jordi Alonso graduated with an AB in English from Kenyon College in 2014 and was the first Turner Fellow in Poetry at Stony Brook University where he received his MFA. He is the Gus T. Ridgel Fellow in English at the University of Missouri where he is a PhD candidate studying the cultural transmission of nymphs in literature. He’s been published in Kenyon Review Online, Noble/Gas QtrlyRoanoke ReviewLevure Littéraire, and other journals. Honeyvoiced, his first book, was published by XOXOX Press and his chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook, was published by Red Flag Poetry Press in 2017.


Anna Wehrwein is an artist originally from the Boston area. She received her BS in Art and BA in English/Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her MFA in Drawing and Painting from the University of Tennessee. Her work has been featured in New American Paintings and Friend of the Artist and has been exhibited nationally. During the summer of 2017 she was a resident at Vermont Studio Center. She currently lives in Columbia, MO where she is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Missouri.

MU Undergraduate Runners Up

Yesterday, we introduced our winning writer, Kirstin Smith.

We also have some talented runners up to acknowledge:

  • Sabrina Brons for her story, “Gossip”
  • Sabrina Heffern for her story, “On the Wings of Her Fledglings”
  • Kelly Schoessling for her story, “Is it Distance or Space?”

They have also been invited to share their submissions at our reading event at the George Caleb Bingham Gallery, located in the Fine Arts Building on the MU Campus on Tuesday, February 27th at 5:00 p.m.

Stick around after to celebrate at SRLBX x THERETHERENOW (206 Hitt St.) and enjoy snacks, refreshments, and art.

Winner of the MU Undergraduate Juried Writing Competition

We are proud to announce that Kirstin Smith is the winner of the 2018 MU Undergraduate Juried Writing competition!

Our judges, Jordi Alonso and Anna Wehrwein, chose Kirstin’s intense work of flash fiction, “Milk Carton Faces.”

Kirstin Smith is a sophomore at the University of Missouri, majoring in Biology and minoring in Anthropology. Her writing career began at a young age with successes such as being published in the Young Authors chronicle with many other aspiring writers as a fifth grader. From there, she devoted many hours to writing hundreds of fan stories of the DC universe, Batman specifically, and amassed nearly 500 works by her junior year of high school. She continues writing in her free time to cope with depression and aims to one day help others with her words.

You can read “Milk Carton Faces” any time at the George Caleb Bingham Gallery or SRLBX x THERETHERENOW.

Better yet, you can hear Kirstin read her work at our reading event at the George Caleb Bingham Gallery, located in the Fine Arts Building on the MU Campus on Tuesday, February 27th at 5:00 p.m.

After the reading, we’ll carry on celebrating with an after party at SRLBX x THERETHERENOW (207 Hitt St.) Stop by for refreshments and art!

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Feb. 27 Undergraduate Competition Reading Event

On Tuesday, February 27th we will celebrate the winning writer and runners up of the 2018 MU Undergraduate Juried Writing Competition. The reading will be held at the George Caleb Bingham Gallery, located in the Fine Arts Building on the MU Campus.

The event begins at 5:00 p.m. and the first reading will commence around 5:15 p.m..

Find the event on Facebook to get updates and RSVP.

After the reading, we will continue the celebration at SRLBX x THERETHERENOW (207 Hitt St.), where the winning piece will also be displayed on our new, permanent LED installation. Join us there for snacks and refreshments plus art and lovely people.

LED at SRLBX x THERETHERENOW

For the first time, Literature Emitting Diodes will have a long-term home. We had resolved to slow things down here in Columbia and engage more deeply with a place and its people. Now we have the perfect partnership to make that happen.

We have joined forces with Serial Box Projects and theretherenow. to create a year of LED programming at 207 Hitt St., right in the middle of downtown Columbia and the MU Campus.

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Later in February, this new site will simultaneously display the winning work from the 2018 Undergraduate Juried Writing Competition, which will also appear at the George Caleb Bingham Gallery. Until then, we’ve inaugurated the new LED display with writing from our very own Carley Gomez. Her poem, “Dystopian Dime,” is already up and running!

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And the Winner is… Rebecca Pelky!

We wish to extend a hearty congratulations to Rebecca Pelky!
Rebecca is the winner of the Columbia Daily Tribune’s LED Writing Competition!

R-PelkyRebecca Pelky is a Ridgel Fellow at the University of Missouri, Columbia, where she studies poetry and Native American Literature. She has earned an MFA in creative writing and a BS in Zoology from Northern Michigan University, as well as a BA in English from Indiana University. Her poetry and nonfiction can be found in Booth, River Styx, Dunes Review, and The Chattahoochee Review, among other journals.

Rebecca’s poem, Midland, will be displayed 24/7 on our scrolling LED sign at Makes Scents from August 16th to September 15th. Check it out and see for yourself why our judges thought this fantastic poem should light up downtown!

We also want to thank our judges, Aarik Danielsen and Jennifer McCauley for taking time to read the many submissions we received, and making hard decisions among all of the deserving pieces.

Thanks also to the City of Columbia Office of Cultural Affairs for supporting the prize. It’s great to live in a community where the city values the contributions of local writers.

Jennifer Maritza McCauley

Our installation at the 2017 Unbound Book Festival will feature new work by Columbia author, Jennifer Maritza McCauley. We couldn’t be happier about sharing her writing with Columbia’s literature lovers!
In case you don’t already know her work:

JMMJennifer Maritza McCauley is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Missouri. She is also Contest Editor at The Missouri Review, associate editor at Origins Literary Journal and reviews editor at Fjords Review. She has received creative writing fellowships from SAFTA, CantoMundo and the Knight Foundation, and her work appears or is forthcoming in Columbia Journal, Vassar Review, Passages North and Jabberwock Review, amongst other outlets. Her poetry collection SCAR ON/SCAR OFF will be released in fall 2017.

Come see us on April 21st and 22nd to experience Jennifer’s work scrolling by on our LED display – you won’t be disappointed.

LED at the Unbound Book Festival

The 2017 Unbound Book Festival is coming right up, and we are excited to be participating! Events begin Friday, April 21, with “An Evening with Salman Rushdie” at Jesse Auditorium. We’ll be announcing our exact location soon, but definitely look for our LED display at Jesse Hall that evening.

The festival proper runs all day Saturday (April 22), and we’ll be set up in the Kimball Ballroom at Stephens College. There’s a full schedule of book signings and other events, so come find us in the fray. We will be selling copies of the LED Anthology and handing out information about an exciting new LED writing competition! Check back soon for details about submissions, prizes, and more.

But wait! We haven’t announced the most important part yet – the writer! Brand new work by Columbia author Jennifer Maritza McCauley will be gracing our LED display. We are honored and extremely exciting to be bringing her work to this year’s festival! Don’t leave on Saturday without reading her contribution!

We are also deeply grateful for the Columbia Daily Tribune, who made this happen. The Tribune introduced Literature Emitting Diodes to the folks at the Unbound Book Festival, and has worked tirelessly on the logistics of our participation.

The Tribune is also co-sponsoring and facilitating our new competition (more about that soon!)