by Sonya C. Brown
Glint’s second annual student contest at Fayetteville State University saw a surge in entrants in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, in comparison with last year’s contest. In spring semester, the contest was announced, and students began submitting up to three works in the poetry and visual art categories, and one piece of fiction or nonfiction. The contest judges scored each entry on a rubric, based on originality of content, formal qualities, and technical skill. Winners were announced in April on FSU’s campus through FSU News. Each winner received new books in the genre category in which they won, as well as gift vouchers to the FSU bookstore.
Visual arts winner, Taylor Venable, presented a collection of drawings of owls, whose distinct personalities shine through quirked brows, curled beaks, and glinting eyes.
This year’s winner in nonfiction, Alesia Gittins, writes about the power of books on the imagination in “Choosing My Own Adventure.” From her description of visiting a library and engaging in “a frenzy of reading” at a young age, to the influence of a particularly inspiring book on her career plans, Gittins’ prose is both crisp and poignant.
“New Birth Army,” the winning fiction entry by Ronald Bell, takes readers on a very different—and far less pleasant—adventure to a post-apocalyptic world of war and gloom. Bell’s work was inspired by readings of dystopic fiction in an English course taught by FSU faculty member, Dean Swinford.
Aaliyah Sams’ lyric poem, “College Student,” encapsulates the insecurities and questioning of the titular speaker, and reminds us that living on campus as a freshman can be an adventure, too—one fraught with small but significant daily challenges of attempting to balance mental, physical, and economic health while working towards a diploma.
Many congratulations to the winners of the contest! Also, many thanks are due to Penguin Books and Oxford University Press, to FSU’s English department chairperson, Trela Anderson, as well as to the department’s professional writing coordinator, Carole Weatherford, for providing books and gift certificates to the winners. Finally, much gratitude to the contest judges, who volunteered those most precious of commodities, their time and skill. This year’s judges included Melissa Miller and Sara Oswald (fiction), Nena Callaghan and Sarah Frantz (nonfiction), Peter Valenti and Faydra Womble (poetry), and Michael Romagano and Clarissa Jakobsons (art).