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Student Writing Awards showcase SSU’s creative talent


April 14


Literary minds at SSU gathered in the Sodexo Ballroom to acknowledge the best examples of student writing.

Each year, literary minds at Shawnee State University gather in the Sodexo Ballroom to acknowledge the best examples of student writing.

Neil Carpathios, Ph.D., assistant professor of English and Humanities, emceed the evening that featured awards in three categories—creative nonfiction, poetry, and short fiction.

In creative nonfiction, Holly Brown’s “Hope and Monsters” received honorable mention in which she tells of a near-death experience with grace and quiet poetic flair, and how the event provided a newfound appreciation for all of life’s offerings.

This year’s creative nonfiction winner was Anna Stevens’ “Connections.” In this essay, the narrator shares her journey with language and the discovery of how words came to represent not only freedom but a means to make deep connections. With honesty and sincere passion, the speaker gives us a glimpse into her love of reading and writing, as well as her love for the people in her life.

In poetry, there were two honorable mentions. First, Kortney Jewell’s “Portsmouth” strives to convey some of the longing and conflict below the surface of daily life in one’s hometown. Second, Shannon White’s “My Cancer” creates ironic tension in the awareness that one’s life is connected to, and in some ways, symbiotic, with death.

This year’s poetry winner was Rikki Cornett’s “11:59 P.M.” The poem finds new ways of conveying an idea or theme with fresh and original imagery. Using spare, tight diction and careful word choice, the poet captures the almost surreal in-between state of sleep and wakefulness.

In fiction, Zack Burton’s “Heliotropes” won honorable mention. At the center of this dark, quirky tale, two brothers live a dangerous, violent, squeamishly bizarre life. Using a fractured narrative style, razor-sharp dialogue, subtle humor, and even some vampire motifs thrown in for good measure, the author takes readers for a fascinating and entertaining ride.

The fiction winner, Dane Palla’s “Assessing the Damage,” touches on a universal experience: how sometimes we can’t help but measure ourselves in relation to others. Sidney and Tom are two friends who took different paths in life. The author of this piece beautifully captures the feelings of regret and “what-if” when the narrator is reunited with his journeyman pal. In a style that is quietly realistic, the writer lets us into the narrator’s authentic and bittersweet self-awareness.

All the award-winning pieces will be published in the upcoming Spring 2014 issue of Shawnee State University’s magazine Silhouette. For more information, contact Neil Carpathios at ncarpathios@shawnee.edu


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