HATTIESBURG – Three
student writers from The University of Southern Mississippi have
won awards in the annual Southern Literary Festival competition,
placing first in two categories and second in one. The festival
conducts writing contests among undergraduate students from more
than 20 colleges and universities in the South and Southeast. Results
were announced this weekend.
Southern Miss students dominated the short story competition,
taking both first and second place. Colter Cruthirds of Biloxi won
first prize for a dazzling piece titled "Old Maid Marion,"
in which a woman's life flashes before her as she falls to what
may-or may not-be her death. Landon Kraemer of Clinton took second
for his short story titled "The Beast and the General Lee,"
a story about a young man who discovers his enemy to be more complicated
than he had ever imagined.
David Nordin of Jackson won the one-act play competition
for "But Saturday's a Rugby Day." The comedy follows a
reluctant husband on a shopping trip with his wife, as he becomes
victim of a series of weird catastrophes only to be rescued by the
intervention of a kindly, Gilbert-and-Sullivan-quoting abominable
"They're more than just good student writers,"
said Steven Barthelme, professor of English. "They're good
writers, period." Barthelme teaches in the Center for Writers,
the nationally ranked creative writing program at Southern Miss.
"And, of course, we're very pleased with the recognition of
the program and the university."
Cruthirds is also the winner of last year's Howard
Bahr Award in undergraduate creative writing. Kraemer is a previous
winner of the English freshman essay prize. This is the second time
in four years Southern Miss writers have won both first and second
place in the short story category in the Southern Literary Festival
Southern Miss undergraduates who have won awards for
imaginative writing at the festival in past years have gone on to
graduate programs across the country at the University of Virginia,
Florida State University, the Johns Hopkins University, and other
distinguished schools. A number have also published books.
"We hope to maintain an undergraduate program
as strong as our well-known graduate program," Barthelme said.
"We have talented writers at all levels." The encouragement
of awards and recognition, he noted, is often essential for young
writers to believe in their own abilities.
The Southern Literary Festival, three days of lectures
and workshops in creative writing, is being held March 31-April
2 at Mississippi College in Clinton.
For more information about the Center for Writers
at Southern Miss, contact Rie Fortenberry at (601) 266-5600.