In a solitary stay on a mountaintop, the vibrant beauty of nature shows the explorer a side of the world that cannot be glimpsed in the bustle of cities below. Austin Hagwood '15 recounts his experiences as a fire lookout in Montana's Bitterroot Mountains in his essay "The lookout," which won first place in this magazine's fifth annual Young Alumni Essay Contest.
Editors spent a day reading the entries in the 2017 contest and selected the winners after follow-up readings and discussions. The names of the authors were not attached to the essays and were not revealed until after the winning entries were chosen.
Hagwood’s first-place essay and four second-place essays written by John DiTillo, Erin Ramsey-Tooher, Steven Salido Fisher and William Kearney appear in this issue’s CrossCurrents section. The five honorable-mention essays will appear at magazine.nd.edu in the coming weeks.
The winning 2017 contest essays and their authors:
First place ($500 prize):
"The lookout," Austin Hagwood '15
Second places ($250 prize):
"River town," John DiTillo '08, '15M.A.
"Between these walls," Erin Ramsey-Tooher '09
"Snow, rock and flesh," Steven Salido Fisher '16
"The foolish father," William Kearney '08
Honorable mentions ($50 prize):
"Narratives," Mary-Kate Burns '16
"The last letter," Grace Chiarella '14
"Home in the heartland," Sara Felsenstein '12
"The wedding gift," Maya Jain '17
"In lieu of a response," Ellen Roof '15