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Neshaminy Journal literary contest winners named

And the winners of Neshaminy Historical and Literary Journal literary contest are: Bill O’ Toole, grand prize, “World Famous Bucks County Casino”; Natalie Dyen, second, “Oscar Hammerstein, Highland Farm and The Sound of Music”; and third place winner, David Jarrett, “Behind the Rebellion.”

Five Honorable Mentions were conferred on Linda Wisniewski, Will Kirk, Don Swaim (two), and David Jarrett.

Neshaminy Journal’s inaugural issue is expected to be published in time for the second annual Bucks County Bookfest, Oct. 12 and 13.
Neshaminy, a Lenape name for the creek that flows more than 40 miles through the center of Bucks County, focuses on exploration through historical legacy in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoir and art.

Stu Abramson, president of the Doylestown Historical Society (DHS), said the journal’s publication comes as a result of months of planning by him and Don Swaim, who founded and has led the Bucks County Writers Workshop (BCWW) for over 20 years. The idea for a journal was spawned as a result of the two men meeting last year at the Bookfest.

The Neshaminy staff includes Stu Abramson, president, DHS, publisher; Don Swaim, BCWW, executive editor; David Updike, Philadelphia Art Museum, BCWW member, managing editor; Bill Donahue, BCWW, associate managing editor; Pat Achilles, illustrator/staff artist; and Ron Moran staff photographer, along with Rebecca Quinn, senior graphic designer, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

According to Abramson, the inaugural issue will include one or more scholastic submissions from students in the Central Bucks School District. The plan is for the journal to be published twice yearly and distributed by local bookshops and museums, as well as through Amazon in both print and digital editions.

“Our journal is styled after the one put out by The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, which has been published for the last 142 years,” said Abramson.

A panel of judges was drawn from the world of publishing and journalism and gleaned from the advisory board: Bill Steig, chairman; Colleen Dunne, co-chair, Bucks County Bookfest; Amy Mazzanti, co-chair, Bucks County Bookfest; Anne Kaler, retired English professor, Gwynedd Mercy/Pearl S. Buck Writing Center; Jennifer Lin, former reporter, Philadelphia Inquirer; Mary McCaw, book editor; Carol Breslin, retired English professor, Gwynedd Mercy University; Nathan Haltor, special programs manager, Doylestown Bookshop; and Wayne Lahr, Perkasie branch, Bucks County Library.

“We received 21 entries in the categories of fiction, biography, journalism and poetry,” said Haltor, who presented the awards at the Doylestown Historical Society meeting Aug. 1.

The grand prize was $250 for O’Toole’s short story about the Lenape nation’s endless struggle for fairness. Second prize of $150 was given for a feel-good biographical sketch about one of Doylestown’s favorite sons, Oscar Hammerstein, by Dyen. Third place earned Jarret $100 for his historically themed work set during the Revolution depicting a farm girl sold into servitude by a desperate father.

The front cover of the inaugural issue of the journal is taken from a photograph by Ron Moran. Bill Mitman provided videography for PBS Channel 39.

You can now watch PBS39’s TV report on the launch of the new Neshaminy Journal. Visit

The presentation was recorded by Tom Brunt, DHS’s social media director. It runs 27:41, and can be seen in its entirety on YouTube: