We are pleased and honored to announce the winners for the 2012 Gwen Frostic Creative Writing Awards. Below you’ll find the results for each genre, as well as comments from our judges. Please join us in congratulating the winners for their excellent work and their success.
Judge: Jennifer Vanderbes’ first novel, Easter Island, was named a “best book of 2003” by the Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor and her second novel, Strangers at the Feast, was published by Scribner in 2010. Her essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, and her work has been translated into sixteen languages. Her third novel, about a young girl who becomes a nurse during WWII, will be published in 2013.
Winner: “On Being Blessed” by Claire Robbins
“A sophisticated narrative combination of the personal and political. Suspenseful, insightful and vividly written.”
Honorable Mention: “The Scraps” by Tom Smith
“A gracefully-drawn portrait of a man struggling to become a good father. A mature and heartfelt story.”
Winner: “Wake Turbulence” by Laurie Cedilnik
“A vivid setting and a cast of memorable characters come together in this dramatic and absorbing story of a young girl trying to understand the meaning of motherhood.”
Honorable Mention: “White Maple” by Dan Toronto
“A sympathetic look at a young couple discovering their sexuality and the challenges of adulthood.”
Judge: Rachel Eliza Griffiths is the author of Mule & Pear (New Issues), Miracle Arrhythmia (Willow Books), and The Requited Distance (Sheep Meadow Press). Reviewer Roxane Gay (The Rumpus) writes, “Griffiths tackled sex(uality), slavery, the strength of women, the mark of history, and the power of language, in fierce poems that were so memorable I return to them over and over.” A Cave Canem Fellow, she is the recipient of fellowships from Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Vermont Studio Center, New York State Summer Writers Institute, the Cave Canem Foundation and others. A photographer and painter, her visual work has been published widely in both national and international magazines and journals. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York.
Winner: “Late Echo” by Brian Bender
“This poem reflects a poet whose voice considers the importance of craft and originality. The balance of rhythms and vivid imagery achieve a sustained and interesting reflection on the significance of ordinary passage and the interrogation that accompanies a certain sort of thoughtfulness. Invoking Ashbery, of course, opened ‘Late Echo’s’ quiet window while the poem makes use of its own questions and its own frank and dreamy regard for the world.”
Honorable Mention: “El Hatillo” by Claire Robbins
Winner: “Swarm” by Natalie Giarratano
“This poem is powerful in its ability to weld a persistent line of intimacy against its visual imagery. The rhythm of the poem is both natal and nautical. The craft and use of prose poem as form served the interior of this poem beautifully. ‘Swarm’ provides a remarkable body for a poem that is concerned with the earth and the flesh.”
Honorable Mention: “I am the same age as my best friend's killer” by Laurie Ann Cedilnik
Judge: Kamarie Chapman received her M.F.A. from The University of New Mexico in 2009 with dissertation work in gender and playwriting. Kamarie is thrilled to be teaching Theatre History, Playwriting, Theory, and Outreach Education as adjunct at Western Washigton University (where she earned her BA in Arts). She has taught and directed theatre and outreach to many diverse populations and was the Artistic Director of a mixed-ability company in Albuquerque, NM called Equilibrium through VSA during her final year working on her Masters. Kamarie is a member of the Northwest Playwrights Alliance, The Dramatists Guild, The Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) and Artists Trust. Her play Deception Pass: An American Story was the winner of two national awards from The Kennedy Center (The David Mark Cohen and co-winner of the Paula Vogel playwriting awards). This play was also the national winner of The ATHE playwriting award. In 2010 her short play, Dijon Love, was a finalist for the Humana Heidman Award and she was a top five finalist for the NPA/Seattle Rep/SAG Screenwriting contest in June of 2010. She has had her work published by NPA and numerous zines, including most recently in the fifth volume of Your Hands Your Mouth.
Winner: Shades of Grey by Kelsey Pretzer
“Relationships in families have always been complex and fragile (even when they aren’t). In a story of a mid-western family with plenty of skeletons practically jumping out of multiple closets, the implications of the matriarch of the family passing leads three sisters and their families in a new direction in hopes of reinforcing all those fragile cracks in the foundation of their lives. Told with a classic Americana style, Shades of Grey is a script that will strike all those dysfunctional chords that just about anyone can relate to.”
Honorable Mention: Dysrhythmia by Katina Marguerite Donoghue
“For many parents it seems when children reach ‘that age’ their sole intent is to break away from the family unit, often in a colossal storm of family drama. Dysrhythmia asks to see the story from the point of view of the children. Events that take place during peoples’ lives during their formative years are some of the most unforgettable and so are so many moments in this script. Told in style that feels like it’s ready for film, this script takes a poignant peek into the lives of people connected by the most extreme situations.”
Winner: “B-11” by G. William Zorn
“‘B-11’ is play that not only examines the life of one mother and her relationship with her daughter who was one of the thousands of victims from airplanes crashing into the Twin Towers in New York on September 11, 2001. This play is particularly impressive in its structure and style paying homage to surrealist movements—liberation and exploration. Caught someplace between a nightmare and the truth, much like the epic lore that surrounds the events that happened on 9/11, this script tells the story of a mother caught in one moment in time.”
Honorable Mention: “Starf*cker” by Adam Pasen
“There are always ‘those kids’ in any industry scene, and Hollywood might be one of the most reputable places for would-be superstars. ‘Starf*cker’ tells the story of two hopefuls seeking out two very different outcomes in a classic structure style with lovely naturalistic dialogue and an age-old story of unrequited love. This short script is smart and funny and will leave you with one of those ‘AwwwWWWwww’ moments at the end.”
Judge: Richard Katrovas is the author of Green Dragons (winner of the Wesleyan University Press New Poets Series, 1983), Snug Harbor (Wesleyan, 1986), The Public Mirror (Wesleyan, 1990), The Book of Complaints (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1993), Prague, USA (stories, Portals Press, 1996), Dithyrambs (choral lyrics, Carnegie Mellon, 1998), Mystic Pig (novel, Small Mouth Press, 2001; Oleander Press, 2008), The Republic of Burma Shave (memoir, Carnegie Mellon, 2001), Prague Winter (Carnegie Mellon, 2005), The Years of Smashing Bricks (an “anecdotal memoir,” Carnegie Mellon, 2008), and Scorpio Rising: Selected Poems (Carnegie Mellon, 2011). Katrovas edited Ten Years after the Velvet Revolution, the first anthology of Czech poetry to appear in English after Czechoslovakia’s bloodless revolution. Katrovas’ poems, stories and essays have appeared in dozens of the leading literary journals and anthologies. Witness to the Velvet Revolution on a Fulbright Fellowship in 1989, Katrovas is the founding director of Western Michigan University’s Prague Summer Program, which is going into its eighteenth year. Katrovas is married to the yogini Krista Katrovas, and is the proud father of three Czech-American daughters, Ema, Anna, and Ella.
Winner: “Secret” by Michelle Repke
Winner: “Light as a Feather” by Laurie Ann Cedilnik
Honorable Mention: “Operation Toe Breaker” by Brandon Davis Jennings