Sparrow at my Window - How Nature Eased my Pain and Helped me Heal

Submission Deadline: March 31, 2013

The inspiration for this year's Kelly Culhane Writing Prize came from my own experience with the passing of my niece Kelly in August of 2010. As was my morning ritual on that Tuesday I walked to the upstairs rear window to look out and check the weather. Approaching the window, the horn on the neighbor's car honked once. There was nobody in the car. I stepped closer to the window to see what was happening and a brown sparrow flew to the white pine tree branch two feet away from the window. The tiny brown sparrow looked me intently in the eyes, chirped once and Kelly's presence instantly filled the room and my being. I knew instantly and certainly that she had died. I looked at the clock. It read 7:29 a.m. A half hour later Sister Joyce called to tell me what I already knew. Beloved Kelly Meier Culhane, wife, mother, daughter, sister, niece...after a three-year struggle with debilitating breast cancer, had started on her new journey at the precise time of the sparrow's visit. I am still humbled that one of her first stops on her new and irrevocable path was to say goodbye to her, "Uncle Muk."

The sparrow's (and Kelly's) visit comforted me as much as a hug, touch, or visit. The palpable sense of her spirit with me reassured me, eased my pain and helped me heal.

My hope for the contest is to honor Kelly of course, but also to honor and respect the spiritual nature of our living and dieing. I believe that your writing and sharing will ease and heal your process and that publishing your words of healing will be a gift to you and all who read them.

Best wishes and God bless your writing.

Your topic for this contest is: Sparrow at my window - How nature eased my pain and helped me heal . (see submission requirements in the right sidebar)

Kelly's Facebook page is still visible (link on left sidebar) if you want to learn a little more about this vivacious, courageous, talented, wise, and totally compassionate woman.

grand prize

Ten Day Writing Retreat at The Burren Cottage in County Clare, Ireland
Includes a half day guided walk of some of the more remote and beautiful parts of Mullaghmore Mountain within the Burren National Park.
Lodging and RT airfare JFK to Shannon provided
Visit for details and more pictures of the property.

first prize

Book-length manuscript line edit*

first prize

Wintermoon Summersun One-Day Kayaking Adventure

Publication Award

The top 100+ submissions published in a 240-page anthology released in October 2013 for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. **

Submission requirements: 1,200 word limit.
Hard copy submissions must include cover letter, be typed
double-spaced. Title and page number only on content.
Electronic submissions preferred. A $25 reading fee
must accompany all submissions.
To enter, follow Electronic Submission guidelines, or
send hard-copy submissions along with your check
(payable to Savage Press for $25) to:

Savage Press
Attn: Kelly Culhane Writing Prize
PO BOX 115

Deadline: March 31, 2013

Submission Requirements
  • 1,200 word limit.
  • Hard copy submissions must be typed and double-spaced, with title and page number only on each content page.
  • A $25 reading fee must accompany all submissions.
  • Electronic submissions preferred. Paypal payment required.
Net proceeds distributed to:
  • The Young Survivors Coalition
  • The American Cancer Society
  • CaringBridge
  • Project Lulu
  • The Breast Cancer Research Foundation
  • and others
Electronic Submissions
Email your submission to before the deadline. (follow submission guidlines)
Enter your name below, and click the
Pay For Submissions button to send the reading fee through PayPal.
Author's Full Name
Pay with Paypal
Grand Prize: Trip to Ireland

Cottage "Eìrì Na Greine" - which is Irish and translates into "The Rising Sun"- is located in the Burren National Park next to Mullaghmore mountain overlooking the Burren landscape.

The house is newly built in a very quiet and scenic spot with a lake within a short walking distance. Donkeys can be seen roaming the meadows behind the house. | more |