PhotobucketWhen Kath and I asked if you’d be interested in an unpublished writer joining the cast here at WU, we weren’t expecting the response we received — a definitive YES (187 of them, to be exact). And when we finally opened the doors for submissions, we weren’t expecting to receive so many worthy essays.

We thought this decision would be easy. It has been anything but easy. It has been stomach-ache-ing-ly hard. And I don’t even care if the fabu Dave King would scold me for using a non-word like stomach-ache-ing-ly; the sentiment is true.

Really? Just one? Kath and I have wondered. Can’t we take them all? And if you think I’m kidding, then you should know that we even considered creating a Writer Unboxed 2–a panel of unpublished writers with a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to offer, according to us. It’s an idea that continues to simmer on our collective back burner, and we may revisit it sometime in 2011–after I’ve worked through all of the phases for my second book.

But back to the decision. Hard. Stomachaches. Choices. Gah.

You should know that several people could’ve had this position. The submissions were that good. But in the end, we did decide that a few people and their essays stood out from the pack.

Here are our WU Unpublished Writer QUARTER-FINALISTS:

Lisa Janice Cohen
Cassandra A. Brown
Nina Badzin
Rebecca Hargreaves
Amy Nathan
Samantha Clark
Meryl K Evans
Pamela Toler
Rob Gokee

Which also includes this list of

WU Unpublished Writer SEMI-FINALISTS:

Heather Reid
Erika Liodice
Barb Mountjoy
Christy Hayes
Laura Espinosa
Erika Robuck

Which also includes this list of

WU Unpublished Writer FINALISTS:

Tracy Hahn-Burkett
Lydia Sharp
Suzannah Windsor Freeman
Jeanne Kisacky
Anne Brown
Jan O’Hara
Kristan Hoffman
Sharon Bially

So who wins the spot? We’re in the process of sending email notifications now, and we’ll post the results here on the blog by 5 p.m. EST. We have a few surprises in store.

Congrats and a big THANK YOU to all of our amazing finalists!

Photo courtesy Flickr’s Tyla’75

About Therese Walsh

Therese Walsh co-founded Writer Unboxed in 2006. Her second novel, The Moon Sisters, was published in March. Her debut, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, sold to Random House in a two-book deal in 2008, was named one of January Magazine’s Best Books, and was a Target Breakout Book. She's never been published with a lit magazine, but LOST's Carlton Cuse liked her Twitter haiku best and that made her pretty happy.