Tusculum students receive recognition in writing competition

Winners of Tusculum’s 208 Curtis and Billie Owens Literary Awards were announced in March.

The awards, which are given annually to recognize the literary achievements of the college’s students, are open to all Tusculum students.

In the category of poetry, the winner was Rachel Swatzell, a sophomore from Greeneville, with her entry “Pink.” Honorable mention was given to Tyler Brown, a senior from Rockwood, for his work, “What If.”

In nonfiction, first place went to Taylor Rose, a junior from Fayetteville, North Carolina, for her essay, “Growing Gardens.” Honorable mention went to Rebekah Voiles, a senior from Morristown, for “Eye Contact.”

The winner in the fiction category was Jazmyn Bishop, a sophomore from Rogersville, for “Half of Me.” Honorable mention went to Kristen Wiggins, a senior from Johnson City.

The winners will read their selections at the Tusculum Review Launch Party to be scheduled for later this spring.

The Curtis and Billie Owens Literary Awards are annually given to recognize the literary achievements of Tusculum College’s creative writing students. The literary award was named for Curtis Owens, a 1928 graduate of Tusculum who went on to a teaching career at what is now Pace University in New York. He and his wife established the award at his alma mater to encourage and reward excellence in writing among Tusculum students.

The event also featured readings by contest judge Ethel Morgan Smith, and was part of the Humanities Series, sponsored by the Tusculum English Department.

Ethel Morgan Smith is the author of two books: “From Whence Cometh My Help: The African American Community at Hollins College” and “Reflections of the Other: Being Black in Germany.” She has also published in “The New York Times,” “Callaloo,” “African American Review” and other national and international outlets.


Pictured are from left to right, Rebekah Voiles (honorable mention, nonfiction), Rachel Swatzell (winner, poetry), Tyler Brown (honorable mention, poetry), Taylor Rose (winner, nonfiction) and Jazmyn Bishop (winner, fiction).