IWU’s prizewinning poets and writers to read

Mark Thursday, April 15 on your calendars. That’s when winners and runners-up of the IWU creative writing contests will read from their work at 4 p.m. in the Merwin Gallery in the School of Art.

Judge Pinckney Benedict selected a short story by senior Sam Awan as this year’s winner of the Babbitt’s Prize for Short Fiction, sponsored by Babbitt’s Books in uptown Normal. Runners-up were seniors Layla Chapman and Garrett Rapp. Benedict called Awan’s story “brilliant in its details and execution,” adding, “When it has found its final form, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see this story published in a good magazine.”

Judge Carol Quinn chose co-winners for this year’s Academy of American Poets Prize, praising BethAnne Roberts for her “kaleidoscopic records of the experiences of a vivacious poetic mind” and Mike Whitfield for spinning “skeins of narrative only to nimbly thread and rethread them through arresting, haunting images.” There were no honorable mentions.

Benedict, an NEA fellow in fiction, has published two collections of stories and his fiction has appeared in a number of venues, including Esquire and StoryQuarterly. Quinn’s first book of poems won the 2008 Cider Press Review Book Award and her work has appeared in such magazines as The Cincinnati Review, The American Literary Review, and The National Poetry Review.