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2015 Roy F. Powell Creative Writing Awards announced


The Georgia Southern University Department of Writing and Linguistics is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Roy F. Powell Awards for Creative Writing:

  • In poetry, the winner is Thomas Morgan for his poems “A Bit of Late Thanks for My Father,” “In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” and “Details of Incarceration: Known Affiliations.” Honorable Mentions are Barbara Jayne Mcgaughey, Madison Rozakos, and Parrish Turner.
  • The winner in fiction is Jonathan Hunter Walsh for his story “Splinter.”  Honorable Mentions are Connor White and Katherine Dianne Hester.
  • The creative nonfiction winner is Barbara Jayne Mcgaughey for “Funeral Song for a Living Girl.” Honorable Mentions are Ana Lesaja and Jordan Taylor.

The winners receive a cash award of $100, a framed award certificate, and recognition at the University’s Honors Day ceremonies on April 1st. In addition, their work will be published in Miscellany, the campus arts magazine.

Thomas Morgan, a writing and linguistics major, grew up in Brunswick, Georgia, and “started writing seriously when I attended Georgia Southern University. I continued writing and working with language because I enjoy the crafting and carving that goes into each poem.” His literary influences include Joan Didion, Cormac McCarthy, Pablo Neruda, Seamus Heaney, and C.G. Hanzlicek.” Of Thomas’s work, judge Richard Flynn noted the poems “combine surprising and memorable language and imagery with an emotional honesty and intensity that made me care about the poems.”

Jonathan Hunter Walsh, from Bristol, Virginia, is a literature and philosophy major who writes because “through writing I try to gather an understanding of myself, others, and the world around me. My biggest influences are Breece D’J Pancake, Cormac McCarthy, and John Steinbeck.” Fiction judge Ben Drevlow said that Jonathan’s story “grabs you from the opening lines and holds you—lurking, rummaging, digging through the refuse and rot of abandoned life right along with this boy and his scavenging mother. The beauty of ‘Splinter’ is that it gets under your skin without getting in your face, pulling out a gun, or even waving a knife.”

Barbara Jayne Mcgaughey, a writing and linguistics major from Macon, Georgia, writes “to ferry across the things I am not brave enough to vocalize. My greatest influences are my mother who taught me how to read, and my father who taught me how to read people. And the real greats, my peers and professors, who write next to me and inspire me on a daily basis to find new language in old stories.” Creative nonfiction judge Theresa Welford noted that Barbara Jayne’s essay, “which immerses readers in the mind and heart of a person suffering from severe depression, manages to be simultaneously beautiful and painful. Throughout the piece, the vivid images act as metaphors, capturing the speaker’s situation and emotions, from despair to anger to savage humor.”

Named for the first creative writing teacher at Georgia Southern, the Roy F. Powell Awards for Creative Writing are offered by the Department of Writing and Linguistics to encourage and recognize excellence in creative writing. The annual competition is open to all Georgia Southern University students, both graduate and undergraduate.

The Department of Writing and Linguistics is housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Georgia Southern’s College of the Creative Mind. CLASS prepares its students to achieve academic excellence, develop their analytical skills, enhance their creativity, and embrace their responsibilities as citizens of their communities, nations, and world.


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