Tusculum College students Justin Reed and Ben Sneyd are the winners of the 2013 Curtis and Billie Owens Literary Prize, annually given to recognize the literary achievements of the college’s creative writing students.
Reed, who won in the competition’s fiction category, submitted a work titled “Cleaving.” He is a senior from Florence, S.C. majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing.
Sneyd, who won in the competition’s nonfiction and poetry categories submitted an essay titled, “Paper Boys and Straw Gods” and poems titled “What You’ve Done Here,” “Drunk in the City, Remembering Home” and “We Were Nuclear, Darling.” Sneyd is a senior English major with a concentration in creative writing who lives in Greeneville and is formerly of Erwin, Tenn.
The students’ work will be included in a publication to be released during the Old Oak Festival, April 19-21, at the launch of the Tusculum Review, the college’s literary magazine.
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 award-winning poet Charles Dodd White, who 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.
White teaches writing and literature at South College in Asheville, N.C. He has been a U.S. Marine, a fishing guide and a newspaper journalist. He is the author of the story collection, Sinners; the novel, “Lambs of Men,” and co-editor of the contemporary Appalachian short story anthology Degrees of Elevation.
His short fiction has appeared in Appalachian Heritage, The Collagist, Fugue, The Louisville Review, North Carolina Literary Review, PANK, the Tusculum Review and other publications. In 2011 he was awarded a fellowship in prose by the North Carolina Arts Council. His work has been nominated for the Appalachian Book of the Year, The Weatherford Award and the Chaffin Award.