Each year English majors and minors have the opportunity to earn membership in two honor societies and win awards based on their research and writing abilities.

2015 English Department Writing Contest Winners

From left to right: ILLINOIS WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH PRIZE FOR SHORT FICTION recipient Nunzia Martino, THE KAY NELSON MEMORIAL ESSAY PRIZE recipient Olivia Anderson, and THE ACADEMY OF AMERICAN POETS PRIZE recipient Erica Kucharski.

Honors

Creative & Critical Writing Awards

Journalism Awards & Scholarships

Recipients of 2015 IWU Creative Writing Awards announced

ILLINOIS WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH PRIZE FOR SHORT FICTION

Recipient: Nunzia Martino, for "Carina Mia."

Judge: Joe Amato

About Martino’s “Carina Mia,” Amato writes:

In “Carina Mia,” Nunzia Martino gives us an unflinching first-person account of a father whose love for his daughter, however heartfelt, is undermined by his own emotional insecurity. The story handles rather expertly the transcontinental (cultural) distance between alcoholic parent and anguished child, which distance only reinforces a growing lack of intimacy. We come to appreciate the humanity of our albeit flawed narrator, which might well call to mind our own all-too-human shortcomings, and we’re left to ponder the strangely familiar irony of a daughter finding the strength to carry on by recognizing that her father’s failings are not her own.

Martino will receive will receive $100 from the IWU English department.

Prize judge Joe Amato is the author of nine books, including Samuel Taylor’s Last Night (novel, Dalkey Archive Press); Big Man with a Shovel (novel, Steerage Press, 2011); Industrial Poetics: Demo Tracks for a Mobile Culture (criticism, University of Iowa Press, 2006); Under Virga (poetry, Chax Press, 2006); and Bookend: Anatomies of a Virtual Self (criticism, SUNY Press, 1997). His prose, poetry and digital art have been published in numerous journals, including Jacket, Denver Quarterly, Mandorla, New American Writing, Postmodern Culture, MiPOesias, Notre Dame Review, Nineteenth Century Studies, The Iowa Review, and The Spoon River Poetry Review.  Amato currently teaches writing and literature at Illinois State University.

 

THE ACADEMY OF AMERICAN POETS PRIZE

Recipient: Erica Kucharski

Judge: Kirstin Zona

About Kucharski’s poems, Zona writes:

There’s much to praise about this year’s winning poems: formal agility and risk-taking, emotional range, a playful and often sophisticated attention to aural associations and metonymic leaps, distilled, economic image-making, and a wonderfully strange descriptive prowess. But what I love most about these poems…is the notable ease with which they inhabit their voice. At once waggishly confident and self-questioning, the sensibility behind this writing is aware of its own aliveness, alert and earned. “The moon is full tonight,” writes the poet in “My Inferiority Complex.” “Why does it always have to be so/ condescending—rising up there, heavy/ and whole, as if to say, ‘Look at me/ you little fuckers!’” There’s not a whiff of self-deprecation or angsty self-consciousness here. Instead, a thrumming consciousness and facility with words that makes me want to read more.

Kucharski will receive $100 and a certificate from the Academy of American Poets, and will be announced in the Academy of American Poets' publications and news releases, with a chance for publication in a future anthology.

Academy of American Poets Prize judge Kirstin Hotelling Zona is the author of Drift (Finishing Line Press, 2011), a collection of poems, and a book of criticism, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, and May Swenson: The Feminist Poetics of Self-Restraint (University of Michigan, 2002).  Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including the Cincinnati Review, Southwest Review, Georgetown Review, Mississippi Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Poet Lore.  Zona also has published numerous essays on contemporary poets and poetics in journals such as Modernism/Modernity and Twentieth Century Literature.  She is the editor of Spoon River Poetry Review, and she co-hosts Poetry Radio on WGLT, the local NPR affiliate.  Zona teaches poetry and creative writing at Illinois State University.

 

THE KAY NELSON MEMORIAL ESSAY PRIZE

Recipient: Olivia Anderson, for her essay, “Blood Tide.”

The final judge for the Kay Nelson Prize was Diane McPherson.

About Olivia Anderson’s “Blood Tide,” McPherson writes:

This writer created a lovely and lyrical narrative voice, and the “braided” essay form seemed to me the perfect form for this moving essay about sisters and their similarities and differences. The intertitles were intriguing and added coherence to the individual sections of the essay.  I loved reading about the ways the sisters moved apart and came together again, and the ending was unexpectedly and effortlessly moving.

Anderson will receive $100.

Honorable Mentions: Olivian Heffernan, for “In the Same Bed,” and Jasmine Wright, for “As Best He Could.”

Kay Nelson Prize final judge Diane McPherson received an MFA (Fiction) and a Ph.D.(Women's Literature) from Cornell University.  Her publications include fiction in *The Greensboro Review*, and creative nonfiction in MotherJourneys (Spinsters Ink) and in a collection of essays about "alternative motherhood" (Demeter Press).  McPherson has previously served as a juror (creative nonfiction) for the Saltonstall Foundation.

Award recipients Olivia Anderson, Erica Kucharski, and Nunzia Martino read from their work on Monday, April 13, at 4 p.m. in the Memorial Center’s Joslin Atrium. The event was free and open to the public.