2022 Winners

Jillian Van Hefty

Jillian Van Hefty is a stay-at-home mom (a misnomer, she claims, because she “pretty much lives at Costco”). Her winning humorous essay is featured in the newly published Sisters! Bonded by Love and Laughter. Her work also has appeared on Points in Case; Jumpkick; Love What Matters; Haute Dish Literary Journal; Prometheus Dreaming; Eat, Darling, Eat; the Minnesota Women’s Press; and mother’s refrigerator. She was a finalist in the 2020 Erma Bombeck’s Humorist-in-Residence Program and took honorable mention in the 2018 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. She lives in small-town Minnesota with her husband, two sons and emotional support Keurig. 

Kristen Mulrooney

Kristen Mulrooney is a humorist and editor from Chelmsford, Massachusetts. Her writing can be found in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, House Beautiful and various humor publications. She is an editor of The Belladonna, a humor and satire site featuring the funny voices of women and non-binary writers. Her words and wisdom on the pitfalls of parenting will be included in the upcoming McSweeney’s Internet Tendency anthology Embrace the Merciless Joy. Kristen is the co-author of The Official Gilmore Girls Cookbook to be released in April 2022 by Simon and Schuster. She is the mother of three small, loud children. 

Mary Oves

Mary Oves is a college English professor in Galloway, New Jersey, a mother of three grown sons, and a freelance journalist and blogger for the past 35 years. Her work has appeared in periodicals such as The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Atlantic City Press, Bella Grace magazine and Shape magazine. When Mary lost her husband in 2017, she hiked up her big girl britches, ignored local eligible men and set about making a new life for herself. In the past four years, Mary has regaled the readers of her lifestyle blog with tales of online dating, single travel, dressing for your widowed 50’s, menopausal hot flashes and shopping for vibrators. With her unique brand of humor, she has bridged the gap between the grief of widowhood and the joys of reinvention.

Tracy Brady (2020 grand prize winner)*

Tracy Brady is a writer and communications professional from Carlisle, Massachusetts. She has worked on marketing campaigns for a variety of brands including Volkswagen, Hershey’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Bank of America and Partnership for Drug Free Kids. She also spent several years in New York and L.A. as a movie and television publicist with Turner Broadcasting, Fox Searchlight and Sony Pictures. Her writing has appeared in Fortune, Adweek, The Boston Globe Magazine, Muse by Clio and more. She is a mother of two boys and the author of two “widely unread, critically unacclaimed and financially disastrous novels” (Confessions of a Nervous Shiksa and Real Women Eat Beef). Her humor blog, FestivalofNeed.com, “stems the tide of existential doom accompanying mid-life.

*To be honored at the 2022 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop