Tusculum College English majors honored at literary festival

Four Tusculum College students were recently recognized at the Hollins University 56th Annual Lex Allen Literary Festival in Roanoke, Virginia.

Students were invited to submit creative works for the festival’s contests in poetry and fiction, and Tusculum College English majors Macy French of Kingsport, Jennie Frost of Friendsville, Sarah Holly of Johnson City and Emily Waryck of New Concord, Ohio, were selected as finalists in the poetry category. Also attending was student Emily Watson of Watauga.

French’s poem, “Nature and Nurture in Binary,” was selected as runner-up winner in the poetry category. Work of the poetry finalists were read and discussed in a poetry panel comprised of poets Ricardo Pau-Llosa, Cathy Hankla and Jeanne Larsen.

The group, accompanied by Heather Patterson, English department chair and associate professor of English, were participants in the conference that included readings by Pulitzer Prize nominee, poet Ricardo Pau-Llosa, Los Angeles Times columnist and essayist Meghan Daum, and winner of the Berlin Prize Fellowship, novelist Fred Drury.

“It was a treat to see our students praised so highly by attendees of the festival. Hollins’s contest pool was quite large and impressively talented,” said Patterson.

“I can say with confidence that Tusculum College’s creative writing program is one of the best undergraduate writing programs currently operating, and I feel that folks outside of Tusculum are recognizing that fact more and more. The writers who come out of our program are being published in esteemed journals, winning awards, being hired for internships and jobs and getting into top-notch graduate school programs. We can now add more success at Lex Allen to our long and lengthening list of our students’ achievements.”


Tusculum students competed against 211 entrants in poetry from colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, including Stanford University, Hollins University, University of Arizona, Georgetown University, University of Pittsburg, Malone University, Austin Peay State University, Pennsylvania State University at Erie and the University of Toronto.


From left to right: Emily Waryck (finalist), Emily Watson, Sarah Holly (finalist), Jennie Frost (finalist) and Macy French (runner-up winner).