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Students’ creative writing efforts garner scholarships

BOONE—Three Appalachian State University students have each received $500 scholarships based on their winning work in creative writing competitions.

Leah Wilson’s short story “Selling Out” won first place in the Marion Coe Scholarship in Prose competition. Wilson is a senior English major from Greenville. The scholarship honors the memory of fiction writer Marian Coe.

“Like Raymond Carver’s ‘Cathedral,’ this story reveals how an encounter between strangers holds the power to alter lives,” wrote John McNally who judged the competition. McNally is a professor of English and creative writing at Wake Forest University. “Leah Wilson carefully captures the small, perfect details that reveal the difficulties of Margie’s life, and the tension is so well controlled that this story is a page-turner,” McNally wrote.

Ariel Parsons of Boone has received the John Foster West Scholarship in Poetry. The scholarship honors novelist John Foster West, founder of Appalachian’s creative writing program. Parsons is a junior English major. Students entering the competition must submit three poems.

The competition was judged by Dr. Amy Knox Brown, assistant professor of English and creative writing, and director of the Center for Women Writers at Salem College. “In these three poems, Ariel Parsons reveals astonishing skill at working with form,” Brown wrote. “The sestina is particularly masterful: unforced, surprising, and moving. The villanelle effectively employs enjambment and perfect rhymes, and the free verse poem ends with a punch. An excellent selection.”

Adam Warren of Mebane received the Truman Capote Scholarship in Creative Writing for his story “A Pattern of Recognition.” Warren is a junior English major.

The competition was judged by Matthew Vollmer, who teaches fiction writing at Virginia Tech.

Vollmer wrote, “The plot of the story… is so compelling (and ultimately convincing) that I was not only engrossed, but invested—and, in the end, heartbroken. I stayed up way past my bedtime to read this, and when I was done, I was happy, not only to have read something good, but to know that there are young writers from my home state churning out stuff this great.”

Warren’s story is about a dramatic chain of events that occur after a young couple have a child and the mother ends up with postpartum depression.

“The fact that Adam not only kept me reading but also that he made me really feel something is a testament to his success. I have every reason to believe I’ll see his name in print someday, and I look forward to it,” Vollmer wrote.

The Capote scholarship was established in 1995 with a $35,000 gift from the Capote Literary Trust to create an endowed fund to support the creative writing program at Appalachian.