The Norton Writer's Prize 2012 Winners

We are delighted to announce the winner of the 2012 Norton Writer’s Prize: Daniel Penny of Grinnell College for his personal essay “Seven Layers of Compressed Plywood.” The judges praised Penny’s powerful use of similes and metaphors, humor and juxtaposition to describe both the joys and dangers of skateboarding.

Two runners-up stood out among the pool of outstanding entries: Lane Scott Jones for her narrative, “Controlled Burn,” and Peter Henggeler for his analytical piece, “‘That within which passeth show: Problems with the Interior Self in Hamlet."

You can click on the titles below to read the winning essays.


Daniel Penny

Seven Layers of Compressed Plywood
Daniel Penny
Grinnell College
Daniel Penny writes nonfiction, fiction and poetry, and is particularly interested in the emerging form of the lyric essay. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and currently attends Grinnell College where he is co-editor of The Grinnell Review. His work has appeared in The Rumpus, The New Inquiry, The Siren, The Grinnell Review, and Berlin Independents Guide. This fall, Daniel will start his first year at Columbia’s MFA program in creative writing.


Lane Scott Jones

Controlled Burn
Lane Scott Jones
Auburn University
At the age of 16, Lane enrolled as a full-time student at Guilford College in her hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina. After finishing two years there, she headed south to the land of sweet tea and the SEC to attend Auburn University on full scholarship. She has completed an English major and is spending her remaining two semesters racking up a marketing minor, dabbling in studio art, and interning compulsively. Lane rarely finds herself without a pen in hand, whether she's crafting non-fiction essays or just scribbling down bits of overheard conversation. Her story, “Controlled Burn,” came out of those piecemeal records.

Peter Henggeler

That within which passeth show: Problems with the Interior Self in Hamlet
Peter Henggeler
Gonzaga University
Peter Henggeler is originally from Kansas City, MO. A 2012 graduate of Gonzaga University with a BA in English and Philosophy, Peter has stayed in the northwest, moving to Boise, ID where he works in online marketing and brand protection. His interests include reading (of course), fishing, cooking, trying new beer, and enjoying the beautiful Idaho outdoors. Peter lives with his fiancée, Emma, and two cats.