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Sophie Kerr

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By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | May 2, 2014
Washington College announced five finalists Friday, including two from the Baltimore area, for its annual Sophie Kerr Prize. The nation's largest undergraduate literary award is worth $62,900 this year. The private liberal arts college in Chestertown annually bestows the prize on the graduating senior who is judged to show the most literary talent and promise. Members of the school's English faculty selected five finalists from portfolios submitted by 32 students. The prize is named for Sophie Kerr, a native of Denton in Caroline County who became a published fiction writer and national magazine editor in New York.
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NEWS
By Sean Welsh and Brandi Bottalico, The Baltimore Sun | May 13, 2014
Growing up on the Eastern Shore afforded Alex Stinton plenty to describe. The subjects surrounded him: the sounds, the wildlife, the water. The boy who grew up reading in the bayfront community of Wittman, and later dug into William Wordsworth, has parlayed his skill for prose into the nation's largest undergraduate literary prize. Stinton, a senior studying English and creative writing at Washington College, took home $61,382 as the winner of the Sophie Kerr Prize during a ceremony Tuesday night at the Enoch Pratt Free Library . Jurors noted Stinton's knowledge of classical works, which was prevalent in his poetry.
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NEWS
By Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun | May 16, 2010
-- The piece wasn't some naked confession about the difficulties of growing up with cerebral palsy. Instead, Hailey Reissman came at her story from the side, with a twist of humor and a touch of the profane. She called it, "I Have Cerebral Palsy and David Mamet Reveals What I Imagine The Friends Of The Guy I Am Dating Will Say When He Tells Them About Me, In Three Brief Monologues." The title encapsulates the wit and inventiveness that so impressed Reissman's professors at Washington College.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | May 2, 2014
Washington College announced five finalists Friday, including two from the Baltimore area, for its annual Sophie Kerr Prize. The nation's largest undergraduate literary award is worth $62,900 this year. The private liberal arts college in Chestertown annually bestows the prize on the graduating senior who is judged to show the most literary talent and promise. Members of the school's English faculty selected five finalists from portfolios submitted by 32 students. The prize is named for Sophie Kerr, a native of Denton in Caroline County who became a published fiction writer and national magazine editor in New York.
NEWS
By Chris Guy and Chris Guy,Sun reporter | May 21, 2007
CHESTERTOWN -- A 22-year-old playwright who has already proven himself something of an expert on medieval literature, walked away from his Washington College commencement here yesterday carrying a check for $60,027 - the largest undergraduate writing award in the country. Not even an appearance by an actor on horseback portraying George Washington (an early benefactor of the liberal arts college that bears his name) could overshadow the suspense of the Sophie Kerr Prize, among diplomas and academic honors given to 360 graduates.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler and Timothy B. Wheeler,tim.wheeler@baltsun.com | May 18, 2009
CHESTERTOWN - - A 21-year-old from the Philadelphia suburbs who'd already decided he wants to pursue a life of writing walked away Sunday from Washington College's commencement with a check for nearly $69,000 - the largest literary award in the country for undergraduates. William Bruce, a soft-spoken English major from Rydal, Pa., won the small liberal arts college's Sophie Kerr Prize with a portfolio of poems, essays and an excerpt from the memoir of a Rwandan genocide survivor. "When I came here, I thought I wanted to be a high school English teacher," Bruce said.
NEWS
By Chris Guy and Chris Guy,SUN STAFF | May 23, 2005
CHESTERTOWN - Try as they may, administrators who plan the annual commencement ceremonies here at Washington College always seem to have a tough time competing with the star power of the Sophie Kerr Prize. Yesterday, the 223rd graduation rite saw 240 students who received their degrees. Twenty-five people won academic awards worth anywhere from $100 to $5,000. There were topical speeches delivered by John Eisenhower, a military historian and the son of a president, and Kweisi Mfume, a civil rights leader, former congressman and candidate for the U.S. Senate.
FEATURES
By Dail Willis and Dail Willis,SUN STAFF | May 16, 1997
CHESTERTOWN -- "It really is a room of one's own," says Kelli Youngblood as she leans across a desk strewn with her poems to look out of the garret room's only window.The Virginia Woolf reference is deft and deliberate. Youngblood is a 22-year-old poet and student of literature who will graduate from Washington College in Chestertown on Sunday. She is also one of the candidates for the Sophie Kerr Prize, an annual cash award the school gives to a graduating senior who shows literary promise.
FEATURES
By Larry Bingham and Larry Bingham,SUN STAFF | May 26, 2003
KENT NARROWS - Her novel begins when the protagonist, a 23-year-old woman named Celia, discovers undeveloped film taken of her mother before she died. But author Laura Maylene Walter is quick to explain that there was no mysterious sheath of negatives in real life. The question is one of two she's been asked repeatedly since she walked off the Washington College graduation stage eight days ago. When she won the coveted Sophie Kerr Prize, based on a portfolio that included her 129-page novel, Developing Olivia, Laura received a spate of attention and a check for $61,133.
NEWS
By Chris Guy and Chris Guy,SUN STAFF | May 9, 2003
CHESTERTOWN - The "writing jocks" around the O'Neill Literary House are nervous. They have spent the past four years crafting a first novel or a slim volume of poetry, sharing their work in the sprawling Victorian that is home to Washington College's thriving colony of young writers. They have sweated out untold drafts, sequestered in coveted fellowship rooms, the cramped garrets that overlook the lush lawn of this Eastern Shore campus. And now, they're waiting to find out who will win the nation's richest undergraduate writing award - the $61,000 Sophie Kerr Prize - which, as usual, will overshadow every other award at the college's commencement.
NEWS
By Jonathan Pitts, The Baltimore Sun | March 7, 2013
After a two-year detour to New York City, the ceremony to announce the winner of the nation's most lucrative undergraduate literary award, the Sophie Kerr Prize, will be held in Baltimore this year. The decision marks the second time in three years that Washington College officials have moved the event, which was a staple of commencement on the school's Chestertown campus for the competition's first 43 years. The event was so successful in New York the past two years that chapters of the college's alumni association around the country put in bids to host future announcements, Washington College President Mitchell Reiss said.
NEWS
By Ellie Kahn, The Baltimore Sun | May 21, 2012
As a child, Kathryn Manion used to sit on her father's lap late into the evenings and read with him. That, said her father, Jim Manion, didn't last long. "She quickly began to read on her own," he said, adding jokingly, "I guess we weren't reading fast enough. " Not nearly. Tuesday night in New York City, Washington College senior and Clarksville native Kathryn Manion received Washington College's Sophie Kerr Prize for her body of short stories and other creative work. At more than $58,000 this year, it is considered the most lucrative undergraduate literary award in the country.
NEWS
By Colin Campbell and Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | May 15, 2012
Kathryn Manion was "at a loss for words" Tuesday night — shortly after being honored for her way with them. At a private club in New York, Manion, 22, was named the 2012 winner of Washington College's Sophie Kerr Prize, which at more than $58,000 this year is considered the most lucrative undergraduate literary award in the country. The senior English major, a Clarksville native and graduate of Notre Dame Prep in Towson, said late Tuesday that her win was still sinking in, but that she was honored.
NEWS
By Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun | May 17, 2011
— The look of joyous disbelief on Lisa Jones' face was similar to those worn by previous winners of Washington College's Sophie Kerr Prize. But everything else leading up to Tuesday's announcement — from the afternoon trip over the Brooklyn Bridge to the National Book Award winner pulling Jones' name from his blazer — was a departure from the past. Instead of receiving the nation's most lucrative undergraduate literary prize before a crowd of cap-and-gowned college kids in Chestertown, Jones won it in the capital of the publishing world, with the Hudson River as a majestic backdrop.
NEWS
April 17, 2011
Great move on Washington College's part to move the awarding of the annual Sophie Kerr Literary Prize to New York. These are the kind of "bold strokes" that its namesake, George Washington, and its revolutionary founders would have applauded. As the former director of media relations at Washington College (2000-2006), I witnessed first-hand the college work diligently to promote its reputation beyond Maryland and grow its stature as a nationally competitive liberal arts college.
NEWS
By Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun | April 15, 2011
Beginning in 1968, when the first Sophie Kerr Prize was awarded, each graduation at Washington College built to a moment of exquisite tension. Which one of more than 20 aspiring writers would receive the nation's most lucrative undergraduate literary prize, the kind of money that could jump-start a career? Each year, the aspirants and all of their college classmates found out at the same moment. But this year, the college's best-known tradition will not be carried out at graduation.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Larry Bingham and Larry Bingham,Sun Staff | May 16, 2004
Sophie Kerr, child of the Eastern Shore and writer of popular romances, could not have known the effect she would have on the lives of so many writers who would come after her. How could the woman who wrote 23 novels (titles like Stay Out of My Life, Cora Goes On and Love Story Incidental) -- and more than 100 short stories -- have known the legacy she would create when she left $510,878 to Washington College in Chestertown? How could she have known her endowment would skyrocket to $2.3 million today and come to fund the largest undergraduate literary prize in the nation?
NEWS
By Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun | May 16, 2010
-- The piece wasn't some naked confession about the difficulties of growing up with cerebral palsy. Instead, Hailey Reissman came at her story from the side, with a twist of humor and a touch of the profane. She called it, "I Have Cerebral Palsy and David Mamet Reveals What I Imagine The Friends Of The Guy I Am Dating Will Say When He Tells Them About Me, In Three Brief Monologues." The title encapsulates the wit and inventiveness that so impressed Reissman's professors at Washington College.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler and Timothy B. Wheeler,tim.wheeler@baltsun.com | May 18, 2009
CHESTERTOWN - - A 21-year-old from the Philadelphia suburbs who'd already decided he wants to pursue a life of writing walked away Sunday from Washington College's commencement with a check for nearly $69,000 - the largest literary award in the country for undergraduates. William Bruce, a soft-spoken English major from Rydal, Pa., won the small liberal arts college's Sophie Kerr Prize with a portfolio of poems, essays and an excerpt from the memoir of a Rwandan genocide survivor. "When I came here, I thought I wanted to be a high school English teacher," Bruce said.
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