Time to try for campus writing honors

Illinois Wesleyan University student poets and fiction writers are invited to enter annual competitions for the Academy of American Poets University Prize and the Babbitt’s Prize for Short Fiction. The prizes, administered by the English department, are open to all currently enrolled students. In previous years, non-English majors and minors have also won.

The winner of each prize receives $100 and notoriety. The Academy of American Poets Prize has a long history of helping to launch the careers of poets, among them Sylvia Plath, Tess Gallagher, Mark Strand, and Joy Harjo. And The Babbitt’s Prize for Short Fiction is sponsored by Babbitt’s Books in uptown Normal as a way to provide fiction writers with their own opportunity for fame . . . and a hundred bucks.

To enter the Academy of American Poets’ Prize, students should submit 4-6 poems, single-spaced, with the total length not to exceed 12 pages. To compete for the Babbitt’s Prize, students should submit up to 18 double-spaced pages of fiction—either a single short story or a segment from a novel that can stand alone. Judges will be looking for literary quality, energy, innovation, interesting plots, memorable characters, dialogue that rings true, fresh language, and a sure voice. Students may submit only one entry to each competition.

Members of the IWU English department faculty will serve as preliminary judges, with the final decisions rendered by an accomplished, published writer not connected to IWU. All entries should be submitted by 4 p.m. Friday, March 12 to Julie Lappin, English department office coordinator.

Susquehanna Review seeks undergrad poetry/prose

The Susquehanna Review, the nationally distributed student-run literary magazine at Susquehanna University, is looking for “works of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry written by the most promising undergraduates in the United States.” The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2010, and all submissions will be considered for the Gary Fincke Creative Writing Prize—a $100 prize to the best in poetry and prose. There is no entry fee. For submission details, check out the review’s website.

Argus staffers honored at ICPA

This past weekend members of The Argus, Illinois Wesleyan University’s student-run newspaper, traveled to Chicago for the annual Illinois College Press Association convention, at which student journalists from all over the state convene to attend sessions presented by working professionals from the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and The Daily Herald. This year’s keynote speaker was Tribune columnist Eric Zorn, while one of the presenters was Argus alum Gail Gaboda (’88), Special Sections Editor/Designer for The Daily Herald.

At the awards luncheon, attended by (seated, l to r) former opinions editor William Hanzel, news editor Jackie Connelly, former features editor Dave Buesing, sports editor Ashley Jaconetti, (standing) former editor-in-chief Garrett Rapp, current editor-in-chief Nicole Travis, former managing editor Laura Spradlin, and opinions editor Jeff Danzinger, the staff learned that The Argus received 11 awards from ICPA. Each year a newspaper can nominate two entries in 34 categories which are judged by professional journalists whose newspapers are members of the Illinois Press Association. Congratulations to this year’s winners:

1st Place, Feature Photo—Reggie Taole Zhu

2nd Place, Spot News Photo—Natalie Lalagos

2nd Place, Headline Writing—Dave Buesing

2nd Place, Editorial—Garrett Rapp

2nd Place, Sports Game Story—Jessica Hinterlong

2nd Place, Sports Page Design—Ashley Jaconetti

3rd Place, Sports Game Story—Ashley Jaconetti

3rd Place, Front Page Layout—Nicole Travis

Honorable Mention, Advertisement Less Than Full Page—Ben Marion

Honorable Mention, Column (Excluding Sports)—Jessica Meyer

Honorable Mention, Sports Feature—Michael Kreuser

Sainsbury announced as Bakeless Prize finalist

Professor Alison Sainsbury has learned that she is one of seven finalists for the 2010 Katharine Bakeless Nason Prize in Non-Fiction. The annual competition is sponsored by the nation’s most famous writers’ conference, The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the winner will be announced in May, 2010. For non-fiction writers, it’s easily the highest-profile prize out there, and more than a hundred submissions were received this year

If chosen, Alison’s memoir, Lost River, will be published by Graywolf Press. Recently she read from Lost River at the second Tributaries Faculty lecture series (photo: Tributaries) and moved the audience with her story of how she’s had to grapple with her father’s suicide in a reading that Tributaries editors described as “somber brilliance.” She teaches creative non-fiction at IWU and will offer a class on the lyric essay at the 300-level in fall 2010.

Next STD colloquium to be Feb. 25

The next Sigma Tau Delta colloquium will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 25. Professor Pam Muirhead will host at her house (3 White Place, a seven-block walk east of campus). Featured speakers will be Ashley Jaconetti, who will present her paper “‘Bend and Not Break’: Moll Cutpurse’s Embodiment of Containment and Subversion in The Roaring Girl and Her Ability to Challenge Norms in a Patriarchal Society, and Professor Michael Theune, who will present “Negative Capability T wang dillo dee: A Critique of Contemporary Uses of John Keats’s Term ‘Negative Capability’ and a Playful Effort to Supplant the Use of That Term with Another Phrase from Keats: ‘T wang dillo dee.'”

Contest announced for undergrad nonfiction

Thoreau’s Rooster, a national web review for undergraduate writers of creative nonfiction that’s edited by students at Assumption College, is looking for students’ best creative nonfiction. The deadline for submissions in order to be considered for the $200 Editor’s Prize is March 15.

Email attached entries to rooster@assumption.edu by March 15 and include in email a paragraph of biographical information, name of academic institution, teacher, and teacher’s email, as well as the writer’s email and snail mail addresses for the summer. If you’re curious, check out their website.

Time to sign up for Sigma Tau Delta Book Club

Sigma Tau Delta announced that the 2010 Book Club Selection is none other than A Feast of Light by IWU’s own Professor Lynn DeVore. Sign up by February 19 at the English House to reserve your copy, or email iwusigmatd@gmail.com for more information. The Book Club begins with a discussion on April 1, 2010 at 12:15 p.m. in the Cartwright Room of Memorial Center, followed by a 4 p.m. presentation and Q&A with the author in Beckman Auditorium in Ames Library.

A Feast of Light is based in part on Lynn’s experiences in the Vietnam War.

Tribs Faculty Feature highlights collaboration

In case you didn’t get the memo, Tributaries, IWU’s student-run literary magazine, is presenting their first Faculty Feature of the semester tonight, Tuesday, February 16,  at 8 p.m. in Presser Hall—coincidentally, in Room 16.

The emphasis this time is on collaboration, and the colloquium features local writer and English alum Nancy Steele Brokaw (’71) and Professor David Vayo, director of the music composition department at IWU. They will present sections from the spring opera Fertile Ground, which they wrote, and talk about the collaboration between a writer and musician. Last year, Brokaw collaborated with Professor Robert Bray on the locally produced and performed play, Lincoln’s In Town! Brokaw is also a former feature writer for The Pantagraph and a children’s book author.

Vayo has received awards and commissions from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, ASCAP, and numerous other agencies and organizations. His compositions have been performed more than 300 times, including venues in Hong Kong, the Netherlands, German, France, and Thailand.

Arts show is looking for talent . . . including poets

Kamaya Thompson (’12) reports that the organization she founded, Only Punks Pull Triggers, is teaming up with Amnesty International to put on an arts show on April 10 in the Hansen Student Center. “We’ll be expressing non-violence through the creative arts by displaying student artwork, presenting skits by Only Punks Pull Triggers casts, showcasing live bands, dance, poetry, and more,” Kamaya says.

They’re wanting a big audience, of course, so mark that date on your calendar. But right now they’re looking for students to be in the show. “You can perform anything you’d like, as long as its related to the cause–spreading positivity throughout the community,” Kamaya says. “If there’s a song, dance, poem, etc., that you’d like to perform, please contact me as soon as possible at kthomps2@iwu.edu.