Pictures of our two winners Margo Gremmler & Adam Sleper

“John, we all like climax,” David Henry Sterry instructs one of the twenty Pitchapalooza contestants at this year’s Printers Row Lit Fest. “We wanna feel like we should smoke a cigarette when we’re done.” The issue of climax joins comp books, language that reflects the narrative and indicating the arc of the story as recommendations from the panel of judges on how to perfect a story pitch. Sheltered from a thunderous storm by the white festival tent, Arielle Eckstut and guest judge Joe Durepos sit to Sterry’s left as they regard the contestants one-by-one as they present their book pitches behind a podium. “Show us your writing chops,” Sterry directs to another aspiring novelist.