The tradition of recognizing students’ literary achievements at William and Mary extends back more than fifty years. In spring 2011 the English Department presented five student awards, in the categories of best collection of poems, best single poem, best play, best work of literary nonfiction, and best short story. Each award carried a cash prize of $200.
The 2011 literary awards were given as follows:
Goronwy Owen Prize: Best collection of poems“The 51st Minute of Every Hour, During Which Carl Sagan Feels As If the World Is Caving In” by Jacob McCollum '13
Judge: Sophia Starnes, recent winner of the Whitbread Poetry Prize
Academy of American Poets Prize: Best single poem“The Condition of the Neighborhood” by Sean Carey '12
Judge: Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, Virginia poet laureate 2006-08
Howard Scammon Drama Prize: Best play“Fragments” by Francesca Chilcote '11
Judge: Artesia Green, Assistant Professor of Theater at William and Mary
Tiberius Gracchus Jones Prize: Best work of literary nonfiction“Keeping Up With the Thompsons” by Jordan Sutlive '14
Judge: Hilary Holladay, Visiting Professor of English at James Madison University
Glenwood Clark Prize: Best short story“Degage” by Sarah Underwood '11
Judge: Joshua Poteat, 2011-12 writer-in-residence
About the Contest and Judging
Students submit their writing in early spring, and a first round of blind judging is conducted by members of the creative writing faculty. The second and final round of judging is done by writers from outside the English Department.
Past judges include Jim Shepard, a National Book Award finalist; the poet Bob Hicok; and Paul Walsh, playwright and professor of dramaturgy at Yale. Former writers-in-residence Tom DeHaven, Blake Bailey, and Rosalind Brackenbury have also served as judges, as has Cheston Knapp '04, managing editor of Tin House magazine.
Four of the five literary awards are named for people with past connections to the College. Tiberius Gracchus Jones graduated in 1845 and later became the first president of Richmond College, now the University of Richmond. Glenwood Clark taught English at William and Mary from 1920 to 1964 and was a writer of juvenile fiction. Goronwy Owen was a Welsh poet who immigrated to Virginia in 1757 and taught at the College. Howard Scammon began teaching theater at the College in 1948 and later became widely known as an influential instructor of acting who taught Glenn Close and Linda Lavin.