By Ariana Manos
Every spring, the Department of English offers students creative opportunities to show off their linguistic skills. The annual Malone Writers Prize invites people from all majors and interests to submit a piece in some or all of the three categories: poetry, fiction and nonfiction.
“[The creative writing contest] is an attempt to encourage students across campus to work on a piece of writing, submit it and see if they can take home some cash,” Dr. Cherie Parsons, interim creative writing director and coordinator of the Writers Prize, said. “[It’s] for anyone who has worked on a piece of writing, whether you are a creative writing, history or social work major.”
A total of six prizes are distributed to the chosen submissions: a $100 first-place prize and a $50 honorable mention for each category.
The judges are professional writers in the field they are assigned to judge and are often from Ohio.
“You get bragging rights, a line on your resume and you also get money. It creates a lot of energy,” says Parsons.
“I spent all my prize money on Godzilla movies,” Lucas Clark, senior English and creative writing double-major and first place winner for poetry in 2021, said.
New this year is Malone’s Endocarp journal which offers an opportunity for students to have their work published. In past years, Malone has offered a national undergraduate publication that students across the country have submitted to and become published in. The Endocarp journal serves as a substitute for the national writers’ journal. The national journal is being considered for restitution in the coming years.
Endocarp is looking for submissions that fall under the category of location. Students are invited to explore where they have been, where they are or where they want to go in their submission piece. Endocarp encourages writers to give their unique perspective and take risks with their work, to bring a complex and developed take on a location that is meaningful.
More future plans to celebrate art as literature include the revitalization of RSVP, an art and writing swap. It brings the visual and written arts together and connects students in the visual art and English departments. The limited faculty in Malone’s art department has forced this spring event to be paused for the time being.
“[RSVP] is one of our most favorite things and we will bring it back,” says Parsons.
In the Malone Writers Prize, a majority of submissions are in the poetry category. Students are allowed to submit up to three different poems and one piece each in both nonfiction and fiction.
Nonfiction is often seen as less creative than the other categories. Students may associate it with academic essays and textbooks. However, the opportunity for this category ranges immensely.
In 2021, Clark won an honorable mention in nonfiction with a series of micro-memoirs. This highly creative take on true life events is an example of the versatility of the nonfiction category.
“[For the nonfiction submission], I wrote about my high school mentor and Bible study leader,” Bekah Stranger, integrated social studies and language arts double-major and winner of the 2021 nonfiction category, said. “I expanded it from one page to six pages on a whim and submitted it not expecting anything.”
“Nonfiction is definitely my favorite category, which is weird because I feel like it is least known [for creativity],” says Stranger.
Last year, the winners were announced at the writers series event in the Hoover Courtyard. The visiting author read the judges’ comments and handed out the prizes.
“The writers series author was actually the judge for the nonfiction category,” Stranger said. “It was cool because the one who judged my category handed me the prize. I got to talk with him, buy his book, and even have him sign it.”
All students are encouraged to participate in the Malone Writers Series and compete for the chance at winning status and cash.
Submissions for both Endocarp and Malone Writers Prize are due at midnight on March 24. If you decide to submit a piece, or two or three, have fun writing, and good luck!