Tusculum College students Joseph Borden and Britany Menken are the winners of the 2014 Curtis and Billie Owens Literary Prize, which is given annually to recognize the literary achievements of the college’s creative writing students.
Menken, a senior from Maryville who won the competition’s nonfiction category, submitted a work titled “A Girl, Not the Girl.”
Borden, who won the competition’s fiction, poetry and scriptwriting categories, submitted a fiction piece titled “Hell or High Water” and poems titled “We Should Have Rained,” “Clockstop Blues,” “Down in the Valley,” “For Austin, Long Age,” “It’s Seasonal,” “Like Clockwork” and “On the Line.” He also submitted a script titled “Backover.” Borden is a senior from Lyles.
Of the four categories, fiction, nonfiction, poetry and scriptwriting, four students received an honorable mention for the works they each submitted. Madilyn Elliot, a sophomore from Johnson City, was recognized for “Lenses” in the fiction category, Ginny Lay, a senior from Laurel Bloomery, was recognized for “Snake, Drop, and Roll” in the non-fiction category, Melissa’s Mauceri, a senior from Pigeon Forge, was recognized for “Madness is Genius” and “I Pray to the Lord My Soul to Keep” in the poetry category and Caitlin Hobgood, a sophomore from Greeneville was recognized for her script, “Losing Face.”
The winners’ works will be included in a publication to be released during the 2014 Old Oak Festival, April 25-27.
The literary award was established by Curtis Owens, a 1928 graduate of Tusculum College who went on to a teaching career at what is now Pace University in New York, and his wife, Billie. He and his wife established the Owens Award at his alma mater to encourage and reward excellence in writing among Tusculum College students.
The announcement of the winners was made during a reading by scriptwriter David Muschell. Muschell served as the judge for the final round of competition. The reading was part of the annual Humanities Series, sponsored by the Tusculum College English Department.
Muschell has won awards for his plays from MultiStages in New York City, Stage 3 Theatre in Sonoma, Calif., Feedback Books in Bloomington, Ill., The Southeast Playwright’s Project, The Deep South New Play Contest, The Beverly Hills Theatre Guild and The Alleyway Theatre in Buffalo, N.Y.
Thirteen of his plays have been published, including “The Jesus Trip” by Baker’s Plays of Boston, “Mixed Emotions” by the Dramatic Publishing Company and “The Invisible Princess” by Brooklyn Publishers. His work has been produced in 23 states, Canada and Japan.