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Susquehanna Senior Wins Bennington Writing Prize

Published on April 8, 2011

SELINSGROVE—Susquehanna senior Lauren Bailey, a creative writing major from Collegeville, recently won the Bennington Writing Prize in nonfiction for her essay, “Convalescence.” Hers was one of three pieces selected from the anthology “plain china: Best Undergraduate Writing 2010” to receive an award.

“plain china” is a national literary anthology showcasing the best undergraduate writing from across the country. Esteemed personal essayist Phillip Lopate selected Bailey’s essay for the award.

“All the essays were rather good, but ‘Convalescence’ was astonishing,” remarked Lopate. “What impressed me was the self-awareness, honesty and risk-taking, the way it kept uncovering deeper layers of feeling and complicated experience, all wrapped in such an accomplished, mature, writerly prose style.”

Competing against writers from schools such as Harvard, Princeton, Rice, Georgia, Columbia, Swarthmore, Stanford, Emerson and Colby, Susquehanna students have won three of the first six prizes awarded by “plain china.” Holly Moncavage, a 2010 graduate, won for her poem, “addicts,” and Sarah Turcotte, a 2009 graduate, took the prize for her short fiction piece, “Scars,” which will be published in The Atlantic.

“Lauren Bailey’s prize-winning essay is one of those pieces that announces the emergence of a young writer with a compelling voice,” said Gary Fincke, professor of English and director of the Writers Institute at Susquehanna. “Her winning the national award against such strong competition is one more way of verifying the ambition and quality of Susquehanna’s creative writing program. That we have the winner in poetry, as well as last year’s winner in fiction, is astonishing in how it brings credit to all the genres and the faculty who teach them in our program.”

Bailey’s essay is published at http://plainchina.bennington.edu/vol2

Karen M. Jones


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