A palpable tension filled the room one Wednesday evening in mid-April. Amidst low chatter, nervous glances, and light refreshments, dozens of student writers gathered to hear the winners announced for the 2012 Literary Awards.
Earlier this spring, students were invited to submit writing entries in five categories: best play, best short story, best single poem, best work of literary nonfiction, and best collection of poems. Students could submit work to multiple categories but were limited to one submission per category. Each first-place award carries a cash prize of $200.
Nearly 100 submissions from 53 students were reviewed initially by creative writing faculty, who named five or six finalists in each category. The finalists’ work was then reviewed by writers from outside the English Department.
As this year’s Writer-in-Residence Joshua Poteat took the podium as emcee, the crowd's nervous energy turned to anticipation. As the winners were announced, they were invited to the podium to read their work.
The 2012 English Literary Awards were given as follows:
Best play: Howard Scammon Drama Prize
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. This year’s award was judged by Clay McLeod Chapman, creator of an internationally performed storytelling session called “The Pumpkin Pie Show.” Currently, Chapman is writing the book for “the Stranger,” a new musical with Bruce Hornsby. There were nine entries in this category.
Best short story: Glenwood Clark Prize
Glenwood Clark taught English at William and Mary from 1920 to 1964 and was a writer of juvenile fiction. This year’s award was judged by Tom Heacox, a poet and professor emeritus in the English Department. There were 32 entries in this category.
1st place: “Responsible Pet Ownership” by William Lawrence '15
2nd place: “Home” by Katie Demeria '13
3rd place: “Stay a Little Longer” by Andrew Carter '12
Honorable Mention: “Baby, Child of Mine” by Julie Heaton '12
Best single poem: Academy of American Poets Prize
This year’s award was judged by Remica Bingham-Risher ,who has published poems in numerous journals and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2005. There were 29 entries in this category.
2nd place: “The Overdose” by Christina Trimarco '12
3rd place: “A History of Windsor” by William Wright '12
Honorable Mention: “A Geometry of Leaving” by Lindsey Hutchinson '12; “Taking In Aaliyah” by Rebecca Starr '13
Best work of literary nonfiction: Tiberius Gracchus Jones Prize
Tiberius Gracchus Jones graduated in 1845 and later became the first president of Richmond College, now the University of Richmond. This year’s award was judged by Sam Kashner, contributing writer at Vanity Fair magazine. There were 16 entries in this category.
2nd place: “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Maureen McNabb '12
3rd place: “The Simple Life” by Julie Heaton '12
Best collection of poems: Goronwy Owen Prize
Goronwy Owen was a Welsh poet who immigrated to Virginia in 1757 and taught at the College. This year’s award was judged by Brian Henry, who received his B.A. in English from William and Mary and an M.F.A. at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has published eight books of poetry and written poetry criticism. There were 10 entries in this category.
Runner up: “The Bodied Sling” by Christina Trimarco '12