Student literary work will take center stage at an upcoming awards ceremony that celebrates the talent of up-and-coming writers at Tusculum University.
The presentation ceremony for the Curtis and Billie Owens Literary Awards will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Shulman Center on the Tusculum campus. The event is free and open to the community, the university said in a press release.
“This event recognizes the remarkable writing talent that permeates the University of Tusculum and exemplifies the importance we place on active, experiential learning,” said Wayne Thomas, Dean of the College of Civic and Liberal Arts. “Students have gone to great lengths to showcase their writing skills, and we are thrilled to honor them and encourage the continued development of their craft.”
The Curtis and Billie Owens Prizes will recognize student work in four categories: drama, fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The winners of each category will receive a monetary reward.
During the celebration, author Amy Wright, who is serving as a judge for the competition, will announce her selections from the work submitted by the students. Wright, an award-winning essayist and author of three books of poetry and six collections, will also give a reading of her own writings.
Wright’s essays appear in publications such as “Georgia Review”, “Fourth Genre”, “Kenyon Review”, and “Minding Nature”. She is the editor of Zone 3 magazine and has twice received Peter Taylor Fellowships for the Kenyon Review Writers’ Workshop. She has also received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission and a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
“We are honored to welcome Amy Wright,” said Kelsey Trom, Associate Professor of English. “I look forward to reading it – live readings always give me more insight into written work. We and our students can’t wait to hear from the winners she picked, because there are so many talented writers from all disciplines here in Tusculum – she’s a nail biter.
“Our students need the kind of feedback and validation that a professional writer and editor they don’t know can provide. Tusculum students get a head start on their own writing careers by networking with authors like Amy and learning from her model of creative excellence, productivity, and professionalism.
Previous winners of the Curtis and Billie Owens awards include Justin Phillip Reed, a 2013 Tusculum graduate and 2018 National Book Award winner for poetry.
Curtis Owens, who was a professor and held various administrative positions at Pace University, and his wife, Billie, established the awards in Tusculum in 1995. He graduated from Tusculum in 1928, where he played football, debated , won a prize for philosophy and two prizes for poetry and wrote the class poem for the year 1928.