I spoke with the winner just a few minutes ago via phone. We have some formalities to conduct over the next days and weeks and of course we will be asking for permission to post the winning essay on the Simon & Schuster website. All I can say is that the winning essay really blew me away. I'll let you know where you can find it as soon as I have that information - it might be a few weeks.
Thank you all for your patience. This contest was much harder to judge than I could have ever imagined, and I couldn't have done it without the help of Bess and Venessa at Simon & Schuster, who did all the hard work.
Thank you to all who entered. It was incredibly moving to read all of your stories. Thank you for putting your hearts into this contest. I am in awe of everything that you've overcome, and I'm so proud of you. Keep writing. You are wonderful.