Life in the Time of the Coronavirus Contest

We are thrilled to announce the winners of our Life in the Time of the Coronavirus Contest!

These are challenging times and our entrants bravely and acutely documented their experience living through the COVID-19 pandemic.

First Place winners will receive $1,000. Second Place winners get $500 and Third Place winners get $200 each. All runner-ups will get $100 each. Cash prizes are partly funded by a generous grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

We've published all their amazing work here to serve as a historical document of the times.


  • 1st - J.P. Hoornstra, "Birth, Death, and Existential Ambivalence in the time of COVID-19”
    Judge’s Comments: Touching essay, J.P. Hoornstra becomes a father while he struggles to stay alive during the coronavirus pandemic. With strong details, the reader stands alongside Hoornstra as he contemplates fatherhood and the silent sufferers in the shadows of our communities. This tight essay packs a punch.
  • 2nd - Shawna Kenney, “Temblors”
    Judge’s Comments: Shawna Kenney explores the deep pain of losing a beloved pet as the world is turning upside down. When she describes opening her home and heart to a foster dog, joy jumps off the page. When things take a turn for the worse, her agony does the same. Kenney takes us on an emotional rollercoaster throughout the piece.
  • 3rd - Pam Tallman, “Pandemic Pals: Tales from the Sofa”
    Judge’s Comments: Nice writing, shows small moments of joy.

Runner-Ups (in alphabetical order by last name):

Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order by last name):


Runner-Ups (in alphabetical order by last name):


  • No prizes given due to few entries.


  • 1st - Steven Vargas, “Dance in Isolation”
    Judge’s Comments: There was so much effort put into this piece from content, writing, editing and shooting and music. The laser focus of one student who chronicles not only how isolation has changed the dedication to his craft, but how it has changed around the world through his interview with another dancer — the take away that for 45 minutes you are able to leave the chaos of COVID behind is powerful. The self-portraits of a dancer and video of him dancing alone only make this video diary piece even stronger. The most compelling part was how he concluded the video. Moving. It deserves first place.
  • 2nd - Lyric Niv
    Judge’s Comments: Here is the insight into what the high school senior class of 2020 is experiencing I have been looking for. The guilt, the carelessness, the concern, the loss, the grief, of missing out on all that many of us have had as they come of age and virtually graduate and prom, is heartbreaking and eye-opening. And for a 17- to 18-year-old, maturely written and illustrated. Well written.
  • 3rd - Stephanie Lai
    Judge’s Comments: Chinese-American student journalist at the height of COVID in New York. The isolation is not just in our homes, for this journalist it’s what’s in her race. Riding on a train in COVID — people clustered at the other end of the subway car … simply because she is Asian — showing the fear not only of COVID but being socially isolated bring you to her perspective. Well done.

Runner-Ups (in alphabetical order by last name):

3 Thoughts to “Life in the Time of the Coronavirus Contest”

  1. Gill Pringle

    This was such a brilliant idea. Thank you LAPC for giving us something to strive for during coronavirus.

  2. Elizabeth Rogers

    I am thrilled to see that an 11 yr old girl & 9 yr old boy are part of the mix!

  3. Sharon Stello

    Thank you for organizing this and giving us a creative outlet during the quarantine.

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