We are awarding fifty dollars and a complimentary print issue to readers who submit the best feedback on pieces appearing in each issue of The Summerset Review. For information on how to submit your feedback, see our Guidelines page.

For the current issue, running now through December 1, 2009, the purse is set at $100.

The following are the award winners who commented on pieces in the Summer 2009 issue. Each will be awarded fifty dollars and a complimentary issue of Volume Two:

Jenna Rindo of Pickett, Wisconsin
Pat Tompkins of San Mateo, California

We want to thank all those of you who submitted entries. We recognize the investment you've made to read our publication and write to us. We sincerely appreciate the interest.

Jenna writes -

Scott Miles brings many layers of both subtle and obvious conflict to his story "Cupco." We feel tension around political, religious, generational, gender and communicative discord between the characters. We notice Americans' general ignorance of international political conflict and its preoccupation with scandals (such as the Clinton/Lewinski affair). At first, Dina notes her bony hand and wants to be plumper. After a few months in America, she thinks Lewinski would be more attractive if she lost a few pounds. There's the mismatch of Dina's perceived relationship with her American/Bosnian sponsor, Esma, after exchanging letters and meeting in person. Cowlicks wilt with age and lurk at family gatherings, teeth are unavailable, and American idioms (plenty of mice in the sea) are off by just a word.

As a teacher of English as a second language in an elementary school, I found myself thinking about my Hmong students who come to me with complicated histories and family members who still wait for safe passage from Laos and Thailand. Often my students have the added responsibility of interpreting for their parents as they go to medical appointments and complete job applications and school paperwork. Iím hoping Miles' incredible use of detail will help readers grow some empathy for new arrivals.

Pat writes about "Speaking from the Throat" -

I am glad Aubrey Hirsch decided to speak up about her medical problem and treatment. I have also suffered from a misdiagnosed thyroid problem, although in my case the problem was a supposedly hypo- or underactive thyroid. She addresses an important, all too common health care ailment: the misdiagnosis. Doctors even have a fancy word to say I donít know whatís causing the problem: idiopathic.

Her essay also told me something I didnít know. The scary radioactive treatment and the possibility of contagion was news to me. What a lonely, frightening ordeal. It is the kind of experience you canít fully understand without having gone through it yourself, but that doesnít mean you shouldnít write about it. Hirsch is talking about more than a bizarre treatment; her writing is a blend of the personal and the universal, a key element of meaningful essays.

As much as I like what's in the essay—details like the failure to have a throw-away bowl—I also appreciate what's absent. There's none of the Why Me? angst common to many essays about serious illness. And she conveys her lesson without using any popular jargon like empowerment.