For the second year, the student Emerging Writer Award and contest, sponsored by the Southern Women Writers Conference, recognizes student writers who have not been significantly published but whose writing shows real talent.
The conference takes place today through Saturday at Berry College.
This year’s student contest winners are: Laura Jane Hatcher, Ashley-Grace Ramocan and Tay-
lor Smith. Each winner will receive a $50 check, said organizers.
Hatcher, a junior at Berry, won first place in the poetry category. Ashley-Grace Ramocan, a senior at Shorter College, won first place in fiction, and Smith, a junior at Berry, won first place in creative non-fiction.
These three will present a public reading at the conference today. The reading will be at Berry College’s Barnwell Chapel from 2:15 to 3:45 p.m. The event is free.
Judges looked for originality of voice, writing clarity and depth of insight, said SWWC co-director Jim Watkins, associate professor of English at Berry College.
While winners don’t get published, the college is looking into finding a way to share their writing with others.
“We are looking into publishing them online through Berry, but it’s at very tentative stage,” said Watkins.
“They (student winners) get to meet other emerging writers, and that’s good for all of our attendees who come to the conference, and they can network with other writers and hear other voices,” he added.
This year’s Southern Women Writers Conference will address the theme, “Many Souths: Remembering, Sustaining, Creating.”
Both full-conference and Saturday-only registration is still available in person at Berry College.
The Southern Women Writers Conference will bring some top names in Southern literature to the area.
Writers expected to attend the conference include two Pulitzer Prize winners — poet Natasha Trethewey and playwright Marsha Norman.
Joining Trethewey and Norman on this year’s program are Natalie Daise and Connie May Fowler. Daise is one of the masterminds behind the Nickelodeon program “Gullah Gullah Island,” while Fowler’s novel, “Before Women Had Wings,” was adapted into an Emmy Award-winning film produced by Oprah Winfrey.
Several Berry alumni will participate.
Registration is $175. Student and Saturday registration is $90. For more information, call 706-368-6996 or e-mail email@example.com.