Etchings Press at the University of Indianapolis has announced the winners of the 2016 Whirling Prize.
Helen Klein Ross won the 2016 Whirling Prize in Prose for her work “What Was Mine.” Ross’ work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times and in literary journals and anthologies.
Amy Ash, an assistant professor at Indiana State University, won the Poetry prize for her work “The Open Mouth of the Vase,” which is her first full-length collection.
Both Ross and Ash will read excerpts from their work at the 2017 Kellogg Writers Series event later this month, with a book signing to follow. The event, scheduled for 7:30 pm on Monday, Feb. 27, in Schwitzer’s UIndy Hall C, is free and open to the public.
University of Indianapolis students reviewed 83 submissions to select the winners. This year’s prize welcomed submissions of published books written by women or books that feature leading female characters.
Liz Whiteacre, assistant professor of English at UIndy, guided the students through the selection process by providing strategies for record-keeping, reading carefully and swiftly, as well as developing and refining criteria.
“I was excited about my first opportunity to work with students on the Whirling Prize. Judging a contest designed for published works is very different from selecting unpublished submissions for Etchings magazine. I saw my job as guide, because the decisions were the students’ to make,” said Whiteacre.
Students in the Etchings Press course discussed the books in class and ultimately learned to compromise in order to decide on the winners.
Kara Wagoner, one of several student judges, said she was impressed by the number of submissions, and sorting through them was much harder than she anticipated.
“The selection process taught me that a successful piece of writing, no matter the genre, entails much more than a decent train of thought and good grammar, as shown by the authors of the winning pieces. These women both displayed a level of emotional vulnerability in their writing that left a strong impression on me and the other judges. My experience as a judge for the Whirling Prize expanded my appreciation for the field of creative writing, and I hope to have more opportunities to participate in similar activities in the future,” said Wagoner.
“They put their hearts into it. They were very serious about the responsibility of picking two winners and aware they would be rejecting many excellent writers,” said Whiteacre. “It was a wonderful experience, and I look forward to next fall’s class.”
2017 Whirling Prize
Etchings Press, a student-run publisher at University of Indianapolis, welcomes recently published books on issues related to social justice. Students are employing a broad interpretation of this criteria in their reading and judging and are especially interested in reading books with a focus on urban life, environmentalism, and historical movements. Two $500 prizes will be awarded, and the winners will be invited to campus in Spring 2018 to participate as a speaker in the Kellogg Writers Series. Graduate and undergraduate students will read the submitted books and choose the two winners. The postmark deadline for submission is Sept. 1, 2017. For more information on the prize’s submission guidelines, please visit our website.