A look at the works of 2017’s Grady Award winners

This past Thursday, April 27, students had the pleasure of attending the English department’s last New Writing Lecture series event for the spring. This was the reading and recognition of the Grady Award winner for Creative Writing.

Toward the end of the academic year, the department hosts a special lecture night for the Grady Award winners. These winners are both graduate and undergraduate students who entered the prestigious competition in order for their works to be judged. This competition is for both poetry and manuscript writers. Other student works had the opportunity to be showcased throughout the year, but this particular lecture was reserved for only the first place and second place winners under both styles of writing at the bachelor of arts and master of arts levels.

The poetry winners this year were students Joseph Ahern, Brendan Allen, Katherine Dubois and Paul Eaton.

Katherine Dubois is the first place undergraduate winner for poetry. She read a series of short and mid-length poems. Her leading selection was comprised of 10 parts and encompassed thought processes from underprivileged children she worked with, as well as her own. Her pacing and separation of the parts made this piece dramatic and strong.

Joseph Ahern provides a humorous spin on serious topics like abusive homes, Alzheimer’s and religion. His short poems were creative and witty, leaving the audience laughing until the poem’s true, “tragic” essence sets in. In his nervousness of not having written something new since the awards, he created a poem in preparation of the event. You would never have guessed it was a last second addition. He also provided an untitled poem for which he is “open to suggestions for” when it comes to naming. He was awarded second place for poetry at the undergraduate level.

Among those who received awards for their fiction writing were, Kaitlin Abrams, Brady Andrews, Alex Terrell and Morghen Tidd.

When David Kress introduced Alex Terrell, he mentioned a previous conversation he had with her. “She warned me beforehand that she had never read in public before and this would be a trainwreck,” to which he replied: “Then I hope you deliver and it’s the biggest trainwreck ever.”

Her reading of her short story “Black Dog” was both supernatural and dark. She also sounded like she had been reading for years in front of audiences, as she was very confident in her narration. She was awarded second place at the undergraduate level for fiction.

Morghen Tidd was awarded first place fiction at the undergraduate level. Tidd’s representation of the rapid thoughts of a young woman struggling with herself in her contemporary work (which does not have a set title) perfectly captures anxiety and self-doubt, along with a relatable, strong, feminine stubbornness.

This year, students were judged by Amber Sparks, an author of “The Unfinished World” and “Shut Up/ Look Pretty,” as well as Jenn McCreary, a poet and author of “Elderly’s Not My Country.”

Every year the English department holds a lecture series in which they invite various writers, authors, guest speakers and students to come and read works they have created, or to teach about particular related topics. This lecture continues to be one that is popular among students, because they can see and hear some of the great works that their peers are producing right here on campus

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