[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen we founded the Christopher Hewitt Awards in 2013, I didn’t know who Christopher Hewitt was. What I knew was that I had recently taken on a role as Literary Editor for A&U, and one of my main goals was to seek new creative work about HIV/AIDS from diverse writers, for diverse readers. An annual award seemed like an ideal way to attract and recognize exciting new literature.
It seemed logical to name the award for Christopher Hewitt, who had been A&U’s first Literary Editor. It was only after doing a little research that I learned that he had been a successful writer in his own right, with poems and translations in publications including The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, and the anthology Queer Crips: Disabled Gay Men Tell Their Stories. At the time of his death in 2004 at the age of fifty-eight, he had been working on a memoir titled Brittle Bones, in part about living with osteogenesis imperfecta.
Still later, I came across Hewitt’s photo in his obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle, and I realized that I had briefly met him in 1993. I was sixteen, freshly out of the closet (when having a closet to come out of was still a given), and I’d sneak into a gay club in Berkeley called the Mix. Hewitt was there most Friday nights in his electric wheelchair, whirring around the dancefloor to ABBA and Erasure, and we would exchange hellos. In the years that followed, I would spot him across the room at cafes and writers events, each of us with a pen and rumpled spiral notebook at the ready.
Calling this the Christopher Hewitt Award was a logical choice—and an emotional one too, for A&U’s Managing Editor, Chael Needle, and Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, David Waggoner, who had both worked closely with Hewitt. But for me, connecting the name with the face and the memory made it all the more fitting on a heart level that the award—meant to encourage emerging writers as much as acknowledge established ones—should be named for him.
This is all a long way of saying that we at A&U are very excited to congratulate the winners of the third annual Christopher Hewitt Awards in Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Nonfiction. The quality of work submitted in all categories was outstanding, which made the work for our judges more challenging…and will make the rewards for our readers, we hope, that much sweeter. —Brent Calderwood
Creative Nonfiction: Victoria Noe, “Long-Term Survivor”
Fiction: Dale Corvino, “Drowned River”
Poetry: Sean Patrick Mulroy, “At the LGBT History Museum in San Francisco…”
Poetry: Noah Stetzer, “New New Colossus”
Brent Calderwood is the author of The God of Longing (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014) and Literary Editor for A&U. His website is brentcalderwood.com.