Award winning Author

Michael John Wiese

Michael John Wiese loves writing. Writing for writing sake, writing because there is a story out there in ether that will change someone’s life, writing because stories have changed his.

Michael writes non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. His passion as of late is Prison Reform, not only because he is a prisoner, but because he believes witnesses have a duty to shed light upon systems that need to be changed.

Michael holds a Bachelor of  Art in Interdisciplinary Studies English/Business from Adam State University. He has published work in The Old Red Kimono, The Willow Review, The Listening Eye, Illuminations, the online poetry journal Ekphrastic Review, and the anthology Hear Us. He won the 2021 Willow Review Award in Non-fiction for his short memoir piece “The Inside Kind of Storm,”  the 2021 Arizona Poetry Center’s Non-fiction award for “The Necessity of Community,” and the American Short Fiction’s 2021 Insider Prize for “The Execution.”


American Short Fiction’s 2023 Insider Prize

From its very first sentence, I should start by telling you I’m not suicidal, “Dying for a Chance to Live” snagged me. The voice in this story is compelling and hilarious and tragic. Reading this story is a bit like a comedy wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a love-story. I kept turning pages because I was invested in the quirky narrator and I did not want to believe that his fate was sealed before the story even began; I wanted to believe in redemption and self-determination and even, in good old-fashioned character development. Wiese delivers on all fronts. As a stand-alone short story, this tale works and works well. But honestly? I hope Wiese turns this into a much longer project—a novel. And that is the beauty of a contest like this. Hopefully winning this competition is the sort of assurance a writer needs to keep going, to keep getting better, to keep reading, and not to quit on their craft.

– Nickolas Butler


American Short Fiction’s 2022 Insider Prize

“The Execution” is an absolutely stunning work of storytelling and reflection. I had to read it again after I stopped weeping. I wanted to take it apart and see how he’d done it. But like the best essays, there’s no way to figure it out. It just is. And what this essay is, is a heartbreaking, visceral exploration of the humanity one must lose and bury to survive an inhumane world, and the humanity we desperately cling to in order to maintain the hope we can survive. It’s powerfully written—switching from a detached voice, showing the learned detachment necessary to stay silent while witnessing a horrific murder and while explaIning the systems of violence that not only allow but encourage this brutality, to a deeply personal voice detailing the human cost of bearing witness to such violence. The Execution, as an essay crafting the profoundly painful into something exquisite, is perfect. And I am in awe.

–Lauren Hough


Arizona Poetry Center's 2021 Non-fiction Award

Judge Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black says this about "The Necessity of Community"

Every paragraph of 'The Necessity of Community' is laced with vitality and creativity, to make manifest the culture of learning that the author and his fellow travelers in prison have worked to establish. With skillful weaving of the personal, altruistic and collective benefits of participation in a college community in prison, he makes the case for the untold brilliance that exists behind the walls of America’s carceral archipelago.


Books by Michael John Wiese

The Chronicles of Seraphi

A Trilogy

We are in a spiritual battle, good versus evil. To help win the battle of good, an angel is sent from the heavens to oversee and mentor students at a local school. As the story unfolds, you will find yourself being drawn in this battle of good versus evil. But who will prevail?

Writing Samples:

Dying for a Chance to Live

1st Place
American Short Fiction’s
2023 Insider Prize

I should start by telling you I’m not suicidal. So, don’t go Googling phone numbers and prevention lines even if there was one time when I technically killed myself. Calm down, I wasn’t dead for long, three minutes tops…

The Necessity of Community

1st Place in Non-fiction
The University of Arizona Poetry Center
2021 Resilience: Today & Tomorrow

Building community in prison is as difficult as you’d think, but vastly more rewarding than you can imagine. Friendships forger in the hellfire of prison are durable to the extreme. I still get Christmas cards from a guy I did time with ten years ago. I haven’t seen him in over a decade, he lives a thousand miles from me, but every holiday season he writes…

Judith's Confession


I love running fingers
through dark curly hair.
Seeing a long sharp nose and
strong square chin.

You look at me like an army to conquer
like I’m meek and mild, but I’m seething with malice…

Goya's Republic


They say the Gods live
        up on the hill,

but it hadn’t always
        been so.

First, there was infanticide,
        Native Sons gone to grist and gristle,

until patricide reigned
        only to postpone the tyranny…

Bury Me in White


Copper shards in Merlot
Dense and deep and wealthy
Luna pries apart a pristine bower…

Country Boy Lane


I tell you what — the night was hot, humid, and hummin
        With fixin to’s and getting gone’s the night the street signs came down.

The Ebony Between the Stars


There are lions in the mulberry
and wolves in the willows
All love is young under a broken moon…



Like most ideas, she was conceived, and brought forth into a world she could not understand…

About Michael John Wiese

Biographical Context

My name is Michael John Wiese, and I am a prisoner of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. I have been incarcerated for twelve years and am serving a thirty year prison sentence. I will be eligible for parole in February of 2024. In order to make my incarceration productive, I have focused on getting as much education as possible.

During my college studies, I discovered that I love writing. This, in itself, is quite extraordinary, since my last English class had been in High School over 20 years before, and I barely passed that class. I am ADHD and dyslectic. I have learned to use these things that were disabilities as strengths.

I began writing almost as soon as I entered prison. I love writing in all genres, but have learned that my real strength is in creative non-fiction. I have published work in The Old Red Kimono Magazine, The Willow Review, The Listening Eye, Illuminations, the online poetry journal Ekphrastic Review, and the anthology Hear Us. I won the 2021 Willow Review Award for Non-fiction for my short memoir piece, “The Inside Kind of Storm,” the 2021 Arizona Poetry Center’s Non-Fiction award for “The Necessity of Community,” and the American Short Fiction’s 2021 Insider Prize for “The Execution.”

All the while I took as many college classes as possible. I earned my Associates of Applied Science in Business Management (2016) and an Associates of Applied Science in Horticulture (2019). I graduated from Adams State University, Summa Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (English/Business) 2021.

Throughout my incarceration, I have watched the system eat people up, all but destroying them before shooting them back into society. I have watched the spark in a man’s eyes blink out. It has become my life’s ambition to shine a light on this system so that a person’s poor choice does not define their entire life. My entire focus moving forward is to educate as many prisoners as possible. That is why I am seeking a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. My prison education has helped me survive this ordeal, and I want to give that option to as many men and women as possible.

As a writer, I want to tell the world about what is happening within the American prison systems, because I have faith in the American people. I believe that if they learn about what is going on and are given a decent alternative, they will act to end the abuses in the prison industry. I know by personal experience the transforming power of a college education, and I want to share that with anyone who wants to learn.


“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent a part of the main… any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

– John Donne

Business Services




Ghost Writer

Prison Journalism

Starving Writer Fund

Starting out in this field can be hard. Help support my goals by donating any amount.

This money will be used for education, contest fees, printing materials, and everything else writing related!


Please, write me at:

Michael John Wiese
1800 Luther Dr.
Navasota, TX 77868

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