The winners for the 37th annual Robinson-Lineberger Literary Competition were recently announced at an awards ceremony held at the Lincoln Cultural Center. This competition is sponsored by the Trustees of the Flo Robinson Estate and the Robert Lineberger Estate to memorialize Flo Robinson’s lifelong interest in poetry and prose and to encourage local writers in the pursuit of excellence in their craft.

The 2021 Robinson Lineberger Literary Winners are as follows:

Elementary Prose

1st Place went to Evangeline Kunkle, a student at Pumpkin Center Intermediate School for “The Promise”

2nd Place went to Jamie Carpenter, a student at Rock Springs Elementary for “I was Born on March First”

3rd Place went to Maya Haynes, a student at Catawba Springs for “Cape Hatteras”

Elementary Poetry                              

1st Place went to Kadence Taylor, a student at Lincoln Charter-Lincolnton for “To the White Dove on a Powerline”

2nd Place went to Skylar Reed, a student at Lincoln Charter-Lincolnton for “I am Offering”

3rd Place went to Tessa Lynn Juliano, a student at Lincoln Charter-Lincolnton for “Nature”

Middle School Prose                           

1st Place went to Olivia Hodges, a student at Lincoln Charter-Lincolnton for “A New Leaf”

2nd Place went to Marcus Coffie, a student at Lincolnton Middle School for “Entity”

3rd Place went to Clara Parlier, a student at Lincolnton Middle School for “The Painful Pandemic of 2020”

Middle School Poetry                         

1st Place went to Cecelia Hayes, a student at Lincolnton Middle School for “She is My Voice”

2nd Place went to Emily Hernandez, a student at Lincolnton Middle School for “Visual of Life”

3rd Place went to Macey Melinda Knepp, a student at Lincolnton Middle School for “The Loop”

High School Prose                               

1st Place went to Journey Barnes, a student at North Lincoln High School for “The Broken Glass Window”

2nd Place went to Zoe Huffman, a student at West Lincoln High School for “It Was Our First Home Game”

3rd Place went to Raven Lilyth Wyatt, a student at North Lincoln High School for “The SUU's Silent Regime”

High School Poetry

1st Place went to Zoe Huffman, a student at West Lincoln High School for “Growing Up in the Rearview”

2nd Place went to Sophie Miller, a student at North Lincoln High School for “Never Again”

3rd Place went to Matthew McCowan, a student at East Lincoln High School for “The Game”

Middle School Poetry winner:

“She is my voice”

By: Cecelia Hayes

“I am the school,

I was there when she learned.

I was there when she was gone,

Her education was in my hands.

Her education was in my hands,

I let it slip through my fingers.

If only I could have stopped them,

That evil force that wanted to penetrate my walls.

She speaks for me,

She is my voice.

Her name will be known,

Her face will be shown.

She is Malala,

I am the school.”

High School Prose winner

“The Broken Glass Window”

By: Journey Barnes

“When the rain pours down against the broken glass window she looks out at the sea. The waves seem light and free to her when others would see them as eerie. She hasn’t felt peace since before the war and I doubt she’ll ever feel it again, worried about the fighter jets flying up high over her head. It’s been six summers since the visitor came and knocked upon her door - left her standing with the broken glass window and her heart shattered upon the floor. She’s been sweeping up pieces with an old straw broom but her dustpan must’ve broke, so she pushes the pieces up under the rug and coughs when the dust hits her throat. I guess deep down she knows she should spend some money and call up her folks, but it’s been so long and they’ve probably moved on since they don’t know where she roams. All of her old high school friends stayed back in that old south town but she couldn’t wait to ditch her prom date and burn the city down. The waves crash harder and she knows it’s time to lock the windows up but she’s too late now and it’s pouring down so I guess she’s out of luck. No one in that city knows her story or her name, but she’d sit them down and sing real loud and make them play her games. When the timer dings and the city sleeps she begins to pace the floor, she opens up her curtains and she closes up her drawers. The old flashlight she points to the sky makes a small visible stream. She yells out to the stars while the man on the moon sees. Her friends back home searched the highs and lows and decided she was gone. She knows deep down that they’ve already began their moving on. The lightning strikes closer and brighter and hotter and this must be the sign. The rocks on the shore can be home no more when she’s floating in the sky. The city doesn’t know she left without so much as “bye”. The man on the moon sings a sad tune and the sky starts to cry. This time when the rain pours down against the broken glass window there’s no one to look upon the sea. And no one to hear it calling to them except for maybe, me.”

Elementary Prose winner

“The Promise”

By: Evangeline Kunkle 

“Inhaling the sweet smell of mixed flowers and feeling the peaceful busyness of spring, Margaret slowly walked through the garden with a happy soul for that is what Mother’s flowers always gave her. Breathing in the perfume with closed eyes, Margaret thought of all the springs and summers that she and Mother had worked on this garden. The sad truth came rushing in all at once. How sick her mother had been the last few months, that she was to live with her uncle, how she would have to leave her home. These thoughts felt like a thick stone wall separating Margaret from all of her peace and joy. She felt this way after her father had died. She felt anger creeping up. Margaret pushed these feelings away and thought of something else. She looked over at the mint leaves and thought of her mother. Margaret bolted for the house which she thought of as a castle with all of it´s winding hallways and long corridors cluttered with papers of artwork, schoolwork, and letters. Her imagination could take her anywhere in that house. Margaret raced through the halls dragging her hand on the wall. When she made it to the kitchen she reached for the fridge door and pulled it open, pulling out a sheet cake she had made for her mother earlier in the day. When she made it to her mother's room Magaret saw Mother, looking up from a book and at her with a bright smile as Margaret came toward her. She sat down on the other side of the bed and put the cake in the middle. ´´I made something for you´´ she said with her face gleaming. ´´That I can see´´ Margaret´s mother said. ´´Do you want a piece of cake?´´ Margaret asked eagerly. Her mother reasoned with a smile and said ´´I sure do.´´ Margaret cut out pieces for each of them. The two of them talked and talked until it was dark out and they both fell asleep on the bed. 

Margaret woke up the next morning. She sat up on the bed with a mournful spirit. She spent the day packing and talking to her mother. The ride to the airport was silent, the two of them were afraid of the future that would soon be there. When they got to the airport Margaret hugged her Mother so tight she felt like she was glued to her. She didn't realize it at first but she was crying and so was her mother. She felt like she had no reason to do anything else but hold on. She felt the anger again. Then she pushed it away but that led to more tears. She felt like never letting go. Then her mother said. ´´I need to give you something so that you and I can talk to each other.´´ 

Then she pulled a cell phone out of her pocket. Margaret stared at it and pictured calling and texting her mom on it. ´´I put my phone number on here and your Uncle's as well, it will feel like I am right there with you.´´ Her mother's words echoed in Magaret´s head. 

´´Okay.´´ Said Margaret looking up at her. 

´´Promise to call me everyday?´´ Said her mother with tear filled eyes. 

´´Promise.´´ Said Margaret hugging her mother for the last time. 

When Margaret sat on the plane seat next to the window, she felt like she had forgotten something but then realized that this feeling was because she was leaving without her mother. Although she knew she was sad, Margaret thought about her mother's words which gave her courage and reminded her of the comforts of home. She looked at the phone and repeated under her breath, ´´Promise.´´ 

The months away from home felt like years to Margaret, she felt like she would never get to go home. The months that passed were filled with hardship and struggles but soon Margaret found herself in her motherś arms again. Margaret and her mother made a new promise to cherish every new day that they were given because each one was a gift.”

The 2021 Robinson Lineberger Adult Winners were:


First Place – “Harley and Maggot” by Harper Girvin

Second Place – “My Mother’s Two for One” by Harriet Robbinson Dobbins

Third Place – “Ashley’s Storey” by Ashley Strawser Smith


First Place – “Down to Earth” by Jenny Blevins

Second Place – “The Cardinal” by Elizabeth Heatherly

Third Place – “I Stand with You” by Doug Croft

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