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Two students recognized for writing at state conference

Two Lamar University students received writing awards from the Texas Association of Creative Writing Teachers (TACWT) at the annual TACWT conference in Fort Worth from Sept. 26-28. Grace Megnet of Beaumont won first place in Graduate Creative Nonfiction and presented her story at the conference on Sept. 27. Skyler Williams, an English major from Groves, won first place in Undergraduate Poetry but was unable to attend the conference.

“Lamar has a very long record of student winners,” said James Sanderson, chair of the Department of English and Modern Languages and a TACWT member. “These wins advertise the quality of instruction and the quality of students in our department.”

Megnet and Williams first learned they had been selected in August. Students entered in the annual contest must be nominated by a TACWT member while enrolled in the nominating member’s class. Megnet and Williams were nominated by Jerry Bradley, a professor in the English department. Bradley chose Megnet’s work when she took his Graduate Fiction Writing course in the Spring 2013 semester though the work selected was nonfiction. He chose Williams’ work when Williams took his Creative Writing-Poetry course, also in the Spring 2013 semester. TACWT members can nominate one current student for each category.

“I am, of course, quite proud of Skyler and Grace,” Bradley said. “Their awards are a tribute to their talent and their discipline.”

Megnet’s story, titled “The Princess,” is about Princess Diana’s visit to Mother Teresa in Rome in 1992. This is not the first time Megnet has been recognized by the TACWT. In 2011, one of Megnet’s stories submitted by Sanderson won second place for Graduate Fiction. In 2012, another of her stories submitted by Bradley for Graduate Creative Nonfiction won first place.

“I feel wonderful,” Megnet said. “It is very encouraging to win against students from all over Texas.”

Williams’ entry consisted of four poems titled “Balloon at an Infant’s Funeral,” “Grandfather’s Boat (Wake of Colleen),” “Lover’s Quarrel,” and “Killer Deer Jerky,” all of which were inspired by actual events. Williams, who entered the contest for the first time, originally did not know he had been nominated until the end of the semester when Bradley contacted him about possible revisions.

“I feel honored. I had never really given poetry too much consideration prior to the course,” Williams said. “I committed myself to the course, made an A, and won a contest, so that’s pretty sweet.”