The winners of the 2018 Joseph Badal Poetry Contest recently read their winning work with Joseph Badal present during the reading, who is the award-winning author that sponsored the contest. Badal is an Amazon #1 Best-Selling Author and has been named One of the 50 Great Authors You Should Be Reading. He has won numerous awards, including the NM/AZ Book Awards Best Fiction-Mystery/Suspense for The Lone Wolf Agenda, and The Tony Hillerman Prize for Best Fiction Book for Ultimate Betrayal. He has won Gold and Silver Medals from the Military Writers Society of America for his writing.

Our second place undergraduate winner, Mia Coleman has degrees in biology and creative writing. She is still currently pursuing undergraduate coursework and is applying for medical school this coming summer. She still plans to write when she becomes a doctor.

Our first place undergraduate winner, Olivia Padilla is a native Burqueña. She is a senior double majoring in English and International Studies, with a minor in Spanish. She has studied abroad twice (Italy and Mexico), is the Vice President of LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens), and is the current UNM Princess (UNM Homecoming Queen 1st Runner Up). This semester, Olivia is a reader for the Blue Mesa Review and has published a blog post titled Let the Movida Live. She has also interviewed author Francisco Cantú on his latest work. The interview will be published in the upcoming issue of the Blue Mesa Review.

Our second place graduate winner, Tatiana Duvanova is a fiction writer and a Fulbright alumna. Originally from Russia, she is currently located in Albuquerque where she is pursuing her MFA in creative writing and serves as Fiction Editor for Blue Mesa Review. Her stories have appeared in Litro and Southword.

Our first place graduate winner, JJ Conn is a first year in the MFA for creative non-fiction and is encouraged in this endeavor by her wife Morgan, her dog Malcolm who gives her dragons, her cat Pez who lies on her keyboard, and her cat Jacks who, well, really isn’t encouraging at all and hisses at her for no reason.  She currently holds a BFA in printmaking, photography and illustration, a BA in Religious Studies and an MA in Art Education.  Recently, JJ became a Girl Scout leader and is trying to instill in her troop a love of art and writing while recording their antics for story ideas.