— 2008 Robert Wright Awards —
Judge’s comments: “These stories, ‘Things He Doesn’t Tell You’ and ‘No Place for a Child,’
well up from deep inside each female narrator’s psyche—almost as if we are privileged to overhear her talking to herself—yet the stories are vivid and clear, the characters complex, the prose engaging. Lindsay Schacht understands the form of the short story, and she enjoys experimenting with it, pushing it in fascinating and original ways.”
Second Place—$750 Jorge Evans —for poetry—
Judge’s comments: “Jorge Evans’s poems are intelligent, informed by interesting reading, and steeped in the Midwest. His muses—Emily, ethereal and ghostly, and Rachel, sensual and earthy—help explain the range and depths of his work. A few favorites: ‘Ladybugs,’ ‘Twilight of the Idols’ and ‘Breaking and Entering.’”
Third Place—$500 Dan DeWolf —for fiction—
Judge’s comments: “In ‘Between You and Me,’ Dan DeWolf explores the loss of innocence that coming of age requires. In this case, the young narrator confronts the dark and secret life his father has kept from the family, and in doing so, he discovers much about himself as well as a smidgeon of compassion.”
Honorable Mention Lesley Arimah —for fiction—
Judge’s comments: “In Lesley Arimah’s ‘Weathering Heights,’ a mother and the narrator-daughter hone the con of slipping-tripping-falling for money, and the ill-gained payoffs drive them into a vagabond life of ups and downs. This is a humorous, sometimes heartbreakingly-so, tale with a somewhat unexpected and edgy ending.”
The Judge: Gary Thompson studied with Richard Hugo and Madeline DeFrees at the University of Montana, and taught in the creative writing program at California State University, Chico, for nearly thirty years. His poems have been published in a wide range of magazines, from American Poetry Review to Writers’ Forum; several anthologies; and three collections, most recently On John Muir’s Trail from Bear Star Press. To the Archaeologist Who Finds Us will be published by Turning Point Books in October. He lives with his wife, Linda, on San Juan Island, and likes to think of himself as the novice skipper of a modest boat, an old trawler named Keats.
The 2008 Competition: There were 31 entries this year.
The Awards: Open to graduates and undergraduates alike, the Robert Wright Awards competition is intended to spotlight and encourage the creative work of Minnesota State University students. Several previous winners have gone on to place book-length work with major publishers. Primary funding for the program comes from an endowment set up in memory of former Department of English professor and chair, Robert C. Wright, with additional support for second- and third-place prizes coming from an anonymous donor.