By Jill Miller
Certain accomplishments are easy to see: Art hangs in galleries; athletes play on the field; singers and musicians get up on stage. For writers, it is a different story.
Union University’s creative writing competition, however, offered a way for students’ writing to be seen by others.
The first-place winner in the fiction category was Austin Gray, a senior English major; the second-place winner was Whitney Williams, a senior English and philosophy double major; and the third-place winner was Whitney Williams, with a different piece.
The first-place winner in the poetry category was Ellen Cline, a junior art major; honorable mention winners were Julia Appleton, a senior English major, Chelsea Cothran, junior biology major, Rebecca Edgren, junior English major, and Ellen Cline, with a separate piece.
The first place winner for the creative nonfiction category was Rebecca Edgren; the second place winner was Rebecca Edgren with another piece; and the third place winner was Austin Gray.
The contest, hosted by the English department, is in its 21st year. Entrants could enter up to two pieces in each of the three categories: poetry, short story or creative nonfiction.
Single entries could be no longer than 20 pages.
Winners of the Union competition and a high school competition were announced Tuesday, March 19, at the Creative Writing Workshop on Union’s campus, held for high school students that participated in a separate high school creative writing competition.
High schools in Jackson and West Tennessee were invited to sessions led by Union faculty and upperclassmen who are English creative writing majors.
The participating high school students’ work was judged by Union faculty. Entry was open to all students.
“We get a lot of good writers from all the disciplines,” said Bobby Rogers, professor of English.
Judging for college students is completed by outside judges.
Entries are submitted to Lauren Smothers, department secretary, who codes the stories, making them anonymous to faculty, Rogers said.
From there, each category was narrowed down to the top five finalists, whose work was sent to the judges.
Beth Bachmann, writer in residence at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, judged the poetry finalists. The fiction judge, Tom Franklin, is an associate professor of fiction writing at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss.
Creative nonfiction was judged by Graham Hillard, associate professor of English at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville.
Stephanie Traylor, sophomore English major, entered the short story category.
“People think you can’t really write unless you’re published by a big-time publishing house,” Traylor said.