Campus Life

English Department Undergrad Receives Norman Mailer College Writing Award

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the Norman Mailer Writers Colony have awarded the first Norman Mailer College Nonfiction Writing Award to John Gilmore of Utah State University, Logan, Utah. Emily Swanagin of Alabama School of Fine Arts, Birmingham, Ala., received the first Norman Mailer High School Nonfiction Writing Award. Plans are to present the awards annually.
 
Norman Mailer produced extraordinary writing in many genres, and he was a true pioneer in the emerging realm of creative nonfiction. Evaluation criteria for the awards reflected qualities of writing he pursued across a lifetime: originality; insight; clear voice and style; artful arrangement of elements and materials; and overall aesthetic, emotional, or intellectual effect. 
 
As the college winner, Gilmore will be honored with an award of $10,000, a trophy and a summer fellowship to the Norman Mailer Writers Colony in Provincetown, Mass. The high school winner will be honored with an award of $5,000 and a trophy.
 
Both awards will be presented at the celebratory Norman Mailer Writers Colony Benefit Gala Oct. 20 in New York City, co-chaired by Tina Brown and David Remnick of the New Yorker and attended by distinguished writers from throughout the United States.  That same evening, Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate, will be given the Norman Mailer Lifetime Achievement Prize and David Halberstam (1934-2007) the Norman Mailer Distinguished Journalism Prize.
 
 
Additional information on the winners and finalists:
 
This year, 698 students submitted entries in the High School division and 667 in the College division.
 
College Winner: John Gilmore, “Final Cascade
Utah State University, Logan, Utah
 
In the artful, multiply-entwined narratives of "Final Cascade,' John Gilmore brings a sharp eye to a young man's struggle with friendship, evil, religion, geology, growing up, and death. As he searches the Utah mountains for his lost boy scout camp, Gilmore finds the final cascade "beautiful, haunting, tragic and inevitable." - Barbara Lounsberry (Judge)
 
Finalists: Laura Gottesdiener, Jerry Guo, Sarah May and Kelly Skahan
 
Judges, Finalist round: Barbara Lounsberry, distinguished scholar and author; Lee Gutkind, author, founder and editor of Creative Nonfiction; and Melissa Fay Greene, noted American journalist and author.
 
Judges for the semi-final round were from the National Council of Teachers of English and included: John Boe, Janet Eldred, Dan Roche and Bonnie Sunstein.
 
High School Winner: Emily Swanagin, “Luna
Alabama School of Fine Arts, Birmingham, Alabama
 
In her memorable essay “Luna,” Emily Swanagin addresses the painful subject of divorce with subtlety and grace. Her grasp of structure is impressive, her use of language accomplished,
and her empathy toward both of her parents moving. Emily is already something many
adult literary aspirants never become: a real writer – Anne Fadiman (Judge)
 
Finalists: Eric Brewster, Kiley Harrison, Abby Melton and Emily Smith
 
Judges, Finalist round: Anne Fadiman, National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction; Ted Conover, National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction; and Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.
 
Judges for the semi-final round were from the National Council of Teachers of English and included: Susan Reese, Kelly Ritter, Ned Stucky-French and Jennifer Wells.
 
The Norman Mailer National High School Writing Award is endowed by Brett Ratner, Rat Books, Los Angeles.
 
The National Council of Teachers of English, with 50,000 individual and institutional members worldwide, is dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education. 
 
For more information about NCTE or the NMWC, please visit their Web sites.
 
For more information about the Norman Mailer Writing Awards, see the NCTE and NMWC Web sites.
 
Related links:
 
Contacts:
 
National Council of Teachers of English
Millie Davis, 800-369-6283, ext. 3634, Public_info@ncte.org
 
Norman Mailer Writers Colony
Lawrence Schiller, 800-835-7853 / 818-445-6652, LSchiller@nmwcolony.org
 
Utah State University
Patrick Williams, 435-797-1354, patrick.williams@usu.edu
USU student John Gilmore

Utah State University student John Gilmore is the recipient for the first Norman Mailer College Writing Award. He learned of the award in telephone call from Kim Burgess, higher education report at Logan's "Herald Journal."

English Department Head Jeannie Thomas and student John Gilmore

Following the announcement, Gilmore was congratulated by Jeannie Thomas (left), department head for USU's Department of English.

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