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Nearly 600 writers from around the world attempted to capture the beauty and absurdity of everyday life in essays for the 2016 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. Check out the winners.

Best-selling author, humorist, syndicated columnist and feminist scholar Gina Barreca will emcee the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition Awards Ceremony at 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 30, at the Centerville Library, 111 W. Spring Valley Rd. Held in conjunction with the University of Dayton's Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, it's free and open to the public.

In this year’s competition, 563 writers from 46 states and eight countries entered previously unpublished essays in humor and human interest categories — roughly 253,350 words.

Here are the winners:

Humor (Global): Mary Kay Fleming, Crescent Springs, Kentucky

Humor (Local): Kevin Tucker, Vandalia, Ohio

Human Interest (Global): Vikki Reich, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Human Interest (Local): Becky Koop, Dayton, Ohio, who holds a bachelor's degree in marketing and an MBA from the University of Dayton.

Here are the honorable mentions:

Humor (Global): Karen Hamilton, Toronto, Canada; Sharon Kramer, Wheaton, Illinois; Laurie O’Connor Stephans, Plano, Illinois; Nancy Roman, Litchfield, Connecticut; and Marcia Smart, Thousand Oaks, California

Humor (Local): Darlene Sunshine, Dayton, Ohio, and Timothy Walker, Dayton, Ohio

Human Interest (Global): Maia Aziz, Lasalle, Canada; Marti Benson Smith, Colorado Springs, Colorado; Andrea Darvill, Christina Lake, Canada; Janie Emaus, Winnetka, California; and Mona Shand, Brighton, Michigan

Human Interest (Local): Wendy Gilmore, Centerville, Ohio; Allison Mundy, Dayton, Ohio; and Lindsey Roth, Dayton, Ohio

The four winners receive $500 and a free registration to the sold-out March 31-April 2 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop at the University of Dayton. They will read their essays at the awards ceremony.

Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson and a Kettering, Ohio native, was the finalist judge for the humor category. Daryn Kagan, syndicated columnist and former CNN anchor, served as the finalist judge for the human interest entries. The nearly 50 preliminary judges included nationally known authors, columnists, screenwriters, stand-up comedians and a longtime writer for David Letterman.

“I’d like to give a special thanks to our outstanding panel of first-round judges. The caliber of writing for the essays that advanced to the final round was spectacular,” said Debe Dockins, coordinator of the contest for the Washington-Centerville Public Library. “Nancy and Daryn had their work cut out for them, and they did not disappoint. This contest aims to channel the spirit of Erma’s writing, the beauty and absurdity of everyday life, and I think these essays hit the mark.”

To read the winning entries, click here.

The biennial Erma Bombeck Writing Competition, which began 20 years ago, pays tribute to Erma Bombeck, one of America’s greatest humorists and coincides with the University of Dayton’s Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.


News and Communications Staff