Riverside Writers Golden NIB Contest 2022

Each year our chapter holds a writing contest called the Golden Nib Contest. There are three categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction and Poetry. The submissions of the first-place winners are entered into the Virginia Writers Club state-wide Golden Nib contest.

I have been a member of the Fredericksburg chapter for at least five years and have never submitted an entry. This year was different. I entered the fiction category and won first-place.


  • 1st “This, Just in” by Malanna Henderson
  • 2nd “Duels with Dollars” by Beth Spragins
  • 3rd “The Coolness of Water” by you, Carol Horton

Now and then I read books on the craft of writing. Last year, I read Stephen King’s book, “On Writing.” The first half chronicles his relationship with writing. The second half gives writers practical information on many aspects of the craft. He even went so far as to suggest writing prompts for a short story of suspense and asked writers to send it to him! I was so excited at the prospect of Mr. King reading my story, I started on it right away. I hit all the marks and then checked the book to make sure I had the right address. I must have missed the paragraph where he said don’t send any more stories. I checked the copywrite, the book was published over 20 years ago. I bet he is still getting stories from writers in the mail. Well, I wasn’t going to be one of them. So, I just filed it away until I heard about the contest.

I’m a meticulous editor. I’ll read a story over and over. Re-write a few sections, if it’s necessary, and do more editing until I’m satisfied. Before I submitted the story, I asked two friends who are avid readers to read it. They both gave me a few pointers which I used.

This is the first contest I’ve won in a short story category. I’m going to send them both an email with my thanks for their input.

My two previous first-place awards were in one-act play festivals. As a matter of fact, I am preparing a one-act play to enter into a contest. The deadline is in October. I need to get busy because the deadline will arrive before I know it.

Published by Malanna Carey Henderson

Malanna Carey Henderson is a Detroit native who presently resides in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Her adoptive city is rich in history. America's early colonial period and four major battles of the Civil War have marked its landscape. George Washington, his mother, sister, and brother-in-law attended the same church of which Malanna is a member. As a child, Malanna was an avid reader. Her favorite genres were biographies, mysteries, and historical fiction. The more books she read, the greater the urge to write grew. Malanna's creative attributes encompass playwriting, composing music, and singing. She has won two first-place awards for her one-act plays. On the Wings of Freedom is a book that combines several genres: a quest for social justice, adventure, and romance. The backdrop is 19th-century America. Here, the legal practices of the antebellum south are tested against the principles of freedom and democracy. On the Wings of Freedom is Malanna's first novel.

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