After receiving more than 100 entries across three categories, 14 students were selected as first-, second-, and third-place, and honorable mention winners in the 2018 Denise Gess Literary Awards competition. The biennial contest celebrates and commemorates the passion and energy Writing Arts professor Denise Gess brought to the classroom and to her published works. Denise passed in 2009 after sharing her light and vision with the Rowan community for five years.
First-place winners each received a $200 cash award with $100 going to the second-place finishers and $50 to those selected for third place. All students that were recognized had the opportunity to read selections of their work to the capacity crowd at the Rowan Art Gallery during the April 2 event.
-- First place in the Edward Czwartacki Award for Fiction category went to graduate student Tara O’Day for “When She Asks to Go Home,” while Daniel DeLuise won second place, Dylann Cohn-Emery third, and Daniel McGilloway received an honorable mention. Judges for the fiction award were Writing Arts faculty members Megan Atwood and Ed Briant.
-- Senior Morgan Douglas won first place in the Rowan University Award for Poetry competition for her collection “Red.” Second place went to Daniel McGilloway, third to Vasiliki Dinoulis and Tara Lonsdorf, Kylee Bagley, and Laura Kincaid were honorable mention recipients. Colleagues Joan Hanna and Bob Evans served as the poetry judges.
-- In the competition for the Pat B. Tweedie Award for Creative Nonfiction, freshman Alex Phillips won first place for “Caught in the Intersection,” while Rachel Barton was second and Emily Strauser finished third. Honorable mentions went to Alix McKinstry and Justina Addice. Judges in the creative nonfiction category were Writing Arts professors Lisa Jahn-Clough, who coordinated this year’s competition, and Tim Zatzariny, who also was a former student of Professor Gess.
The Writing Arts Department was honored to have four of Denise’s family members attend the ceremony (sitting in the front row from left to right, listening to Daniel DeLuise): Her sister Mary Tartaglione, her mother Mary Piccoli, her brother Joe Piccoli, and her sister-in-law Nancy Piccoli. In a note Events Updatereceived from her brother several days after the event, Joe thanked the Writing Arts Department for our “graciousness and hospitality.” “Hearing all of that young talent reading their work,” he said, “made me feel as if I was listening to Denise again. . . The kind words offered by so many on her behalf were a real comfort to all of us.”
Stop by campus this Sunday, April 15 at 7 p.m. to hear Iraqi poet Faheela Hassan – “The Maya Angelou of Iraq” – present samples of her work in the Owl’s Nest restaurant at the Chamberlain Student Center in an event sponsored by Avant magazine. Hassan, a former refugee who now lives in the United States, is a poet, teacher, editor, writer, and playwright who has written a dozen books, three plays, and more than 50 short stories. For more information, contact Laura Kincaid, Avant editor-in-chief, at email@example.com.
More than a dozen students and faculty took part in the Spring 2018 Open Mic event at the Rowan Art Gallery on Wednesday, March 28. The reading was sponsored by the Writing Arts Department and Glassworks magazine; coordinated by faculty members Anthony Palma, Tim Donaldson, and Katie Budris; and moderated by graduate student Mikaela Langdon (at top). The evening featured works of both poetry and prose and spanned the emotional range from tear-invoking, to thought-provoking, to side-splittingly funny. The strong attendance at this event, and at a similar session last fall, may mean the Open Mic could make a regular appearance on the Rowan Writing Arts calendar going forward.
“It’s a major award,” Darren McGavin’s character exclaims in the movie “A Christmas Story,” and we’ll be crowing with equal pride next week as Events Update provides full coverage of the Celebrating Excellence Awards ceremony where the department’s First-Year Writing Program received the university’s 2017-18 Teamwork Award. We’ll also offer a Doodle Poll as we look to schedule a final social event of the school year sometime in the next few weeks.
Stephen A. Royek, M.A.
Lecturer, Writing Arts
2015 Rowan Medallion Award winner
Victoria Hall, Room 521