Amerity Head, a junior from Forest City, N.C. at Appalachian State University is the winner of the Truman Capote Literary Trust Scholarship for Creative Writing in prose for 2019-20.
The Truman Capote Literary Trust Scholarship for Creative Writing is an annual award for Appalachian juniors or seniors enrolled full time and majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing. The competition alternates annually between the genres of prose (fiction, creative nonfiction, playwriting and screenwriting) and poetry.
Head was awarded the $3,489 scholarship for her stories "Tomorrow" and "Asher."
“This is the work of a smart and talented writer, and I look forward to finding her work in bookstores in years to come,” said Abigail DeWitt, a novelist and this year’s judge of the competition.
DeWitt provided summaries of these winning pieces:
In the heartbreaking story, “Tomorrow,” two young women in a residential treatment center plot revenge against a third, sacrificing a fourth, much younger, girl in the process. The descriptions of the patients’ mental illnesses are vivid, precise and restrained, allowing the reader to believe fully in each of the characters. Most impressive of all, however, is the author’s ability to make us empathize—even sympathize—with the narrator as she knowingly endangers the younger girl. “Tomorrow” is a powerful portrait of people trapped both by illness and by the institution that purports to help them; a lesser writer might focus only on the bleakness of the events, but in this author’s hands, the story becomes one of great shading and depth.
Equally compassionate and moving, “Asher” is the story of three boyhood friends, one of whom will die as a result of his widowed father’s grief-stricken involvement in a religious cult. Here, too, we see characters who are powerless against the adults charged with helping them, and we witness the devastating impact of survivor’s guilt on the narrator. But “Asher” covers more time, and by the end, we are offered a glimpse of redemption. It is a moment as restrained and convincing as the story’s darker moments, and it is deeply satisfying.
“These stories are achingly insightful, spare and beautifully constructed. In each, Head juggles several characters at once, revealing shifting vulnerabilities and power dynamics that inevitably lead to disaster. The narrative voice is always strong, the selection of details just right, the build-up and release of tension masterfully executed,” stated DeWitt.
Franklin Bogle, a junior from Gastonia, N.C., is the runner up for his stories "The Last Degenerate" and "The Road to Beaver Stadium." Photo submitted.
This year's runner-up is Franklin Bogle, a junior from Gastonia, N.C., for his stories "The Last Degenerate" and "The Road to Beaver Stadium."
DeWitt had this to say about Bogle's work: “These are vivid, engaging stories, full of complex, believable characters struggling with their own demons. The self-deprecating narrators in both stories make dangerous mistakes, but they are fundamentally kind, and possessed of a capacity for insight that makes us love them.”
This year's competition was judged by Abigail DeWitt, a novelist and former Appalachian professor. DeWitt, a North Carolina native, has been cited in Best American Short Stories, nominated for a Pushcart and has received grants and fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council, the Tyrone Guthrie Center, the McColl Center for the Arts and the Michener Society. She also was a visiting writer this past semester in the Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series.
Next year’s Truman Capote Literary Trust Scholarship competition will be in poetry. To learn more about this scholarship opportunity and others in Appalachian’s Department of English, visit https://english.appstate.edu/students/scholarships.
About the Truman Capote Literary Trust Scholarship for Creative Writing
The Truman Capote Literary Trust Scholarship for Creative Writing was endowed by the Truman Capote Literary Trust and is named for the late author Truman Capote. The scholarship is awarded to a rising junior or senior Appalachian State University English major with a concentration in creative writing whose submissions of prose (fiction, creative nonfiction, playwriting and/or screenwriting) or poetry are judged to be the most outstanding works submitted to the creative writing competition. The winning student must complete a sequence of creative writing courses leading to a concentration in creative writing as part of a Bachelor of Arts in English. Learn more at https://english.appstate.edu/students/scholarships.
About the Department of English
The Department of English at Appalachian State University is committed to outstanding work in the classroom, the support and mentorship of students, and a dynamic engagement with culture, history, language, theory and literature. The department offers master’s degrees in English and rhetoric and composition, as well as undergraduate degrees in literary studies, film studies, creative writing, professional writing and English education. Learn more at https://english.appstate.edu.
Ellen Gwin Burnette
May 7, 2019