Results: The Nasiona Writing Prompts Tournament #1


We are now accepting submissions for tournament #2: A CHILDHOOD SECRET OVERHEARD. Submissions must be non-fiction stories about your life. Think micro-memoir. Deadline: October 25th. $5.25 USD. Click here for submission details.⁣⁣⁣ The winner takes home 35% of the $$ pot and the runner-up takes home 15% of the $$ pot.⁣⁣⁣


1. Barrak Alzaid

You played a different game
when my wandering eyes found yours.
Faaeh. We lobbed the word across
the corridor of Arabic classrooms,
grins scribbled on our faces.
Our throats opened, lips slackened.
We loosened the consonants. Faaaeh.
Two syllables stretched apart like sweet
strands of sha’ar banat.
When we reached fist-bump distance,
our tongues pressed against the soft palate
pinning the word at its center,
pressing the joint until
we cleaved it in two.

2. Kara Knickerbocker

Daily Hunt
“C’mon, the world isn’t that bad,” he says, laughing. I clutch my keys until they carve red mountain peaks into my palm. Thirty times around the sun and still I’m surprised how much anger burns alive in the body; how fear hangs in the throat. Every catcall a land mine, every compliment a camouflage. ”Just smile,” he says, moving closer, eyes loaded. I can’t outrun what I know: “smile” is synonymous for “survival” in every season for women. I can’t unlock the safety of my jaw. My words, my only weapon- could turn on me at any moment.

3. Chasita Olivas

My mother was the only one of 12 siblings to be sent to the US after grandpa’s intestines were ruptured by his horse. My dad crossed the border after his older brothers decided to make money helping others also cross the desert. Tia Lupita came later, a scared and clueless 16-year-old, sharing the queen bed of her newly-wed brother. Before that was Tia Adriana, who ran from her dead mother with dark curly hair like mine. The rest stayed in poverty, living in the homes they grew up in, surrounded by family and friends.

4. Bailey Henderson

Opening Julia Child’s Cookbook at Age 23
One egg. Crack in bowl. Drop shell in trash. Grab a fork. Whisk. Preheat gas stove on high. Pull milk from fridge. Splash a little in. Squint. Add a little more. A little more. Sigh. Screw lid on. Reach for pepper. Shake. Dip fork in. Remember the heating pan without butter. Grab butter dish. Slide in too much. Wince from harsh sizzle. Dump beaten egg in pan. Watch close. Grab a wooden spatula. Stand in the steam. Poke too soon. Stir. Scrape burnt scraps. Splat the near-inedible egg on a plate. Wash blackened pan. Go to fridge. Grab one egg.

5. Maria Ornelas-June

In the waiting room of a gynecologist’s office, I wondered what they would call me. Mevrouw Ju-nay? Maybe, they’d go full Dutch and call me Mevrouw Juni?
Ju-nay it was. In the examining room, the nurse told me to undress completely. I was given no gown or sheet. Everything? I asked, disbelievingly.
Buck naked is how I met my Dutch gynecologist.
Later, a chest x-ray. I was shown to a dressing room next to the x-ray room. Confidently, with my titties out, I approached the male Dutch technician who looked away in deep embarrassment. Did I miss something?

T6. Emily Skinner

crow’s feet
plotted are my city’s chain link fences
not far from boundaries of cedar wood
cabins lined by wherry boats with dresses
white picket gates who house the men of “good”
stops at RONNIES FOOD MKT., not past tense
stand by, looking in or out at “other”
children are not able to make sense
their arms are sore, from hard yanks by mother
my school zone, really just the fence district
separate but equal- still my confines
pretty half houses are set and hand-picked
within the drawn and disfigured grid lines
an introduction for all to know;
the present-day reality of jim crow.

T6. Sara Brown


The bay sinks in buttery light. On the deck, we watch minnows circle, teasing them with corner sausage-bread hooked with a safety pin. A line hangs off a topless broomstick. No catch. The sunset hovers in strawberry milk, wind sails with the tang of deviled eggs.
We think into existence the water faces owned by children my mother lost and know they’re trying to teach us how to be in the right place at the right time.
Knees pressed along dewy wood, open mouths show us how air can betray. We don’t know why we have come up short.

8. Simué Rose Isabel

Biting Clit
I was in another low-lit classy backroom again…except with another guy..another tiger print thong, another out-of-place Mariah Carey song to remind me of another mistake recurring. I’d returned to stripping…And yet, again on my back laying on a soft-suede brown couch, legs splayed, core exposed, and facade well placed- I looked down at the chubby white latino face, thigh clasped hands, and thin lips laving my labia folds… lick, tongue flick, and as I came he bit my fucking clit. On instinct, I punched his smiling face with a fist; and remembered he paid me for this.

TOP-8: Author Bios

Barrak Alzaid is an artist and writer. His current project, Fabulous at Five, relates his queer coming of age in Kuwait. It is a story of family fracture, reconciliation, and finding true love in the most unexpected of places: home. In 2018 he was a fellow at the Lambda Literary Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, His memoir and nonfiction work features in Nailed Magazine, Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, The Ordinary Chaos of Being Human: Tales From Many Muslim Worlds, and an anthology of Muslim-American writings edited by Kazim Ali.

Kara Knickerbocker is the author of the chapbooks The Shedding Before the Swell (dancing girl press 2018) and Next to Everything that is Breakable (Finishing Line Press 2017). Her poetry and essays have appeared in: Poet Lore, Construction, Portland Review, and the anthologies Pennsylvania’s Best Emerging Poets, Crack the Spine, and more. She currently lives in Pittsburgh where she writes with the Madwomen in the Attic at Carlow University, and co-curates the MadFridays Reading Series. Find her online at

Chasita (they/them) is a beautifully brown writer who thought a Literature degree from UC Berkeley would jump start their career. They use writing as a way to find peace in a hectic world that demands their labor when all they really want is to be. They are currently working on poetry, stories, and screenplays that explore individuality and community through love, pain, and laughter. Chasita is from San Diego and currently lives with their sister who is also an unemployed graduate from Berkeley.

Bailey Henderson is a post-graduate creative writer, seasoned ‘Clue’ detective, alright ‘Mario-Kart’ racer, and hopeful ‘Great Gatsby’ party attendee. She enjoys thunderstorms on the beach and spending time getting lost in unrealistic daydreams – those are the best to indulge in some days.

My name is Maria-Luisa Ornelas-June. I was born and raised in Laredo, TX and graduated Plan II from the University of Texas at Austin. After getting a law degree at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, I accompanied my husband to overseas postings where I raised my three children in the Netherlands and Singapore. After our last posting in India, I now reside in Houston, TX.

What I enjoyed most about this prompt was re-connecting with the fact that everything is micro, even the mezzo and the macro. i care about the people next to me, in addition to those who are not. this is the current in my writing. i lead with empathy. this is the value in my writing. i am always learning. this is beauty of my writing.

My name is Sara Brown. I just started the MFA program at University of Nevada Las Vegas this fall with a Graduate Assistantship. I have had my poetry and creative nonfiction recently published in Permafrost, Southwest Review, Swimming with Elephants, West Trade Review, and William and Mary Review. I have also recently been nominated for a Pushcart Award.

Dabbling creative writer, aspiring social entrepreneur, disabled veteran, and exotic performer.


 Matches playedWinsLossesWin %Average Vote %# of votes1st Place2nd PlaceFinals appearanceSemifinals appearanceQuarterfinals appearancePrize winnings $ in USD
Barrak Alzaid55010083.3310/121 11192.4
Kara Knickerbocker54180759/12 111139.6
Chasita Olivas4317566.676/9   11 
Bailey Henderson4317563.647/11   11 
Maria Ornelas-June32166.6771.435/7    1 
Emily Skinner32166.6762.55/8    1 
Sara Brown32166.6762.55/8    1 
Simué Rose Isabel32166.67504/8    1 
Susana Molinolo21150603/5      
Gina Biltstein21150603/5      
Rachel Kellner21150603/5      
Joshua Reisig21150603/5      
Joyce Chen21150402/5      
Logan Bishop21150402/5      
Alex Shapiro21150402/5      
Patricia Smorzewski21150402/5      
Lee Parpart101033.331/3      
Carly Lewis101033.331/3      
Dev Jannerson101033.331/3      
Jon Meyers101000/2      
Suzanne Hartmann101000/2      
Diane Gottlieb101000/2      
Zoe Loos101000/2      
Celeste Leeds-Laliberte101000/2      
Brent Gudzus101000/2      
Isaac Winters101000/2      
Maha Ahmed101000/2      
Victoria Buitron101000/2      
Nico Elliot (NB)101000/2      
Elena Ender101000/2      
Callie Connelly101000/2      
Sarah Berger101000/2      


Round 1VotesRound 2VotesQuarterfinalsVotesSemifinalsVotesFinalVotesWinner
Susana Molinolo2         
vs. Susana Molinolo1       
Sarah Berger0         
  vs. Sara Brown1     
Sara Brown2         
vs. Sara Brown2       
Nick Elliot0         
    vs. Barrak Alzaid2   
Joyce Chen2         
vs. Joyce Chen0       
Lee Parpart1         
  vs. Barrak Alzaid2     
Barrak Alzaid2         
vs. Barrak Alzaid2       
Victoria Buitron0         
      vs. Barrak Alzaid2 
Chasita Olivas2         
vs. Chasita Olivas2       
Maha Ahmed0         
  vs. Chasita Olivas2     
Logan Bishop2         
vs. Logan Bishop0       
Isaac Winters0         
    vs. Chasita Olivas0   
Elena Ender0         
vs. Emily Skinner2       
Emily Skinner2         
  vs. Emily Skinner1     
Gina Biltstein2         
vs. Gina Biltstein1       
Callie Connelly0         
        vs. Barrak Alzaid (WINNER)
Brent Gudzus0         
vs. Rachel Kellner1       
Rachel Kellner2         
  vs. Simué Rose Isabel0     
Carly Lewis1         
vs. Simué Rose Isabel2       
Simué Rose Isabel2         
    vs. Kara Knickerbocker2   
Alex Shapiro2         
vs. Alex Shapiro0       
Dev Jannerson1         
  vs. Kara Knickerbocker2     
Celeste Leeds-Laliberte0         
vs. Kara Knickerbocker2       
Kara Knickerbocker2         
      vs. Kara Knickerbocker1 
Zoe Loos0         
vs. Maria Ornelas-June2       
Maria Ornelas-June2         
  vs. Maria Ornelas-June1     
Patricia Smorzewski2         
vs Patricia Smorzewski0       
Jon Meyers1         
    vs. Bailey Henderson1   
Suzanne Hartmann0         
vs. Joshua Reisig1       
Joshua Reisig2         
  vs. Bailey Henderson2     
Bailey Henderson2         
vs. Bailey Henderson2       
Diane Gottlieb0         
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