Writers@Drew highlights student contest winners

by Willy Nichter, Staff Writer

     On Tuesday, April 25, Writers@Drew hosted an event honoring the winners of the English Department’s various creative writing contests. These contests included the Prose Contest hosted by Insanity’s Horse, Drew’s literary magazine, which also launched their 2017 issue during the event.

        “It’s one of my favorite Writers@Drew’s, always, because I think that there’s such a diversity of style and voice, and we get to see that on display,” said Professor Courtney Zoffness, Co-Chair of the Creative Writing Department. “I think Drew has some really talented writers.” Professor Patrick Phillips, the other co-chair for the department, agreed, saying that he was “excited to hold the first issues of Insanity’s Horse”. Phillips continued saying, “We’re all really thrilled for Amanda Farbanish and her staff.”

        Farbanish (’18), Editor-in-Chief for Insanity’s Horse, said of the magazine, “I’m incredibly proud. A lot went into it this year.” She continued, “We had our first prose contest and the turnout for that was fantastic and it was great to see how the writing community at Drew interacted with Insanity’s Horse.”

        The event consisted of each of the winners reading either an excerpt or the entirety of their work, beginning with Kate-Lynn Brown (’17), winner of the Insanity’s Horse Prose Prize in the Nonfiction Category. However, Brown was unable to make it to the event, causing Professor Zoffness to read an excerpt of her story, “Seven”. “That was the toxicity of being a teenage girl,” she read, describing Brown’s relationship with a close childhood friend.

        Next was Philippe Abiyouness (’17), winner of the American Academy of Poets Student Prize. Abiyouness read a selection of his poems, including one entitled “The Hypochondriac”. “I have never feared needles/or the weight of a chill,/that could pass through bone,/push back the lungs, stop the hear still,” he read.

        Michelle Taliento (’17), winner of the Chapman Prize in Poetry, also read a selection of poems, including one called “For Sylvia”, in honor of poet Sylvia Plath. “Mad girl, I know you well. Your words are planted like a lotus flower in my brain,” she read.

        Alef Davis, (’17), winner of the Christopher Goin Memorial Prize in Creative Writing, read an excerpt of her short story, “Like Ice Underfoot”. “I savored this realization like a hard candy, hard edges melting into sweetness,” she read. When asked about the story, she said, “I went through, I think six complete drafts of it, writing in long hand and then I would type it, I was working on it for a couple weeks, I think.”

        The final reader was Alexa Young (’18), winner of the Insanity’s Horse Prose Prize in Fiction, who read an excerpt of her story “Kismet”. “You didn’t notice my vacant finger, and all I could think about was the cigarette stench clouding your skin like a thick, unseen fog,” she read. “I actually wrote it for a class,” she said of the story. “It was a lot of effort and a lot of revision. I never really tried short fiction before the class.”

        The event ended with Farbanish announcing the launch of Insanity’s Horse, and asking the attendees to pick up copies on the way out. The 2017 issue of Insanity’s Horse is available now all around campus, particularly in Sitterly House, Brothers College, the Ehinger Center, and the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts.

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