Sausalito, CA — November 7, 1998 — The WELL(www.well.com), the pioneering online discussion community known for articulate conversation and acclaimed writers, announces the winners of its Online Writing Awards.

Grand prize is $500, and winners in four individual categories (online news and journalism, conversational posts, fiction, and best writing using links) will receive a year’s free WELL membership. (The winning submissions could formerly be viewed at https://www.well.com/archives/contest/1998contest.)

The grand prize winner was “A Gift of Hypertext,” by Wired News Editor Steve Silberman. Silberman likened links to the Jewish tradition of “responsa literature,” in which sacred words “do not stand above the floods of human discourse, but enter into them.”

In the conversational category, Donna deMedicis, a South Carolina columnist for wowwomen.com, won with her description of a young girl storming an all-boys’ fort. Christy Sanford, a Florida author of eight books, won first prize for best use of links with her piece “No_Pink,” and Miriam Zellnik, an Oregon online columnist, won the online fiction category with “Eats,” a piece about a woman who eats Montana.

“First person singular is the language of the Net. We found that personal voice was the quality that resonated most deeply through the entries,” said WELL Executive Director Gail Williams. “The winners demonstrate what most distinguishes Internet writing, where we are free to use the vocabulary of the heart, of the most private self.”

The judges are Dr. Carol Adair, an English teacher at the College of Marin, Linda Dyer, a poet, Jennifer Powell, an artist and publisher, Emily Gertz, a web designer and online magazine writer, Jim Ausman, an Internet veteran and part-time magazine editor, and widely-published author Joe Flower.

The WELL(www.well.com), which is located in Sausalito, was founded 13 years ago. Soon, the site caught on with an eclectic mix of computer activists, writers and other articulate participants, giving rise to an organization often described as the world’s most influential online community.

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