UT Dallas dominated the recent Texas Association of Creative Writing Teachers (TACWT) Student Competition, winning a total of four awards.
In the Graduate Fiction category, Douglas Frank took first place with his short story, “The Last Summer of Fireflies.” For Undergraduate Fiction, first place was awarded to Paige Cunningham for her story, “Pens & Needles,” and third place went to Jimmie Markham’s story, “Organic.” In the Undergraduate Poetry category, Chaz Lilly’s set of six poems, “Invention and other poems,” took third place.
All are current or former students in the School of Arts and Humanities, with the exception of Cunningham, who is in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
Winners of the annual competition are invited to attend the annual TACWT meeting, held each September. Three entries are picked for each category. First Place winners receive a small cash prize and are invited to read their work at the meeting. The competition is open to all members’ students who have been enrolled in a course during the summer, spring or fall terms preceding the competition deadline. Dr. Wiesepape’s students have been remarkably successful in capturing prizes in this competition over the years.
Dr. Betty Wiesepape
The students were each sponsored by a faculty member, who helped select and submit the chosen pieces. Dr. Betty Wiesepape, who sponsored two of the winning students, says of Markham’s piece: “I chose ‘Organic’ because it is about a timely but serious subject that Jimmie handled in a humorous and entertaining manner. I’m hoping that as a result of placing in the TACWT student writing contest the two stories I entered will be published in one of several literary journals that reads and considers the work of student winners.”
Wiesepape was the first UT Dallas winner of the Graduate Fiction award back in 1992.
Jill Patterson, current president of the TACWT and professor of English at Texas Tech University, says: “The Texas Association of Creative Writing Teachers established the annual student competitions not only to acknowledge the student talent in the creative writing programs at Texas universities but also to recognize the great teaching that our members were doing at their various campuses. The winners always represent a mix of programs, and I love that the creative literary arts are thriving at all of our state’s universities.”