Delta State University’s Division of Languages and Literature is pleased to announce the 2021 winners of the annual writing contest hosted by “Da,” DSU’s student literary magazine.
“Da” (formerly named “Confidante”) provides a forum to celebrate emerging talents in creative writing and visual arts. Published annually, the student-run magazine showcases student poetry, short fiction, one-act plays, formal and informal essays and art.
This year’s winners for the Poetry category are Sykina Butts of Kilmichael, who won first place for her piece “Should…JAHCAH,” and Kelly Foster of Flowood, who won second place for her piece “2AM Plastered to My Brain.”
Winners of the Fiction category include Foster, who won first place for her entry “Nightlight,” and second place winner Jack Vernon of Southaven, for his entry “Abide with Me Fast Falls the Eventide.”
Formal Essay winners include Foster, who snagged another first-place award for her essay “Bradstreet, LeGuin, and the Unification of Distortion and Reality,” and Vernon, who placed second for his essay “God’s Not Dead; He’s a Fat Lady the Use of Christ Figures in J. D. Salinger’s Nine Stories and Franny and Zooey.”
In the Creative Nonfiction category, Riley Hardin of Olive Branch, received first place for her entry, “In Stinky Yamper I Trust,” as well as second place for her entry, entitled “Yea, She’s Mine.”
“Placing in a creative writing contest is not an easy accomplishment, and any writer that has the courage to enter one is worth reading,” said Mike Smith, interim chair of DSU’s Division of Languages and Literature. “Delta State has a long history of producing and encouraging new writing and I am delighted to see this tradition continue in such powerful and interesting work. Every writer listed here, and every writer who entered this year’s contest ought to feel proud.”
The Division of Languages and Literature will host a virtual reading and awards ceremony for the winners at 4 p.m. on Thursday, February 18, 2021 via Zoom. To register to attend the event, visit www.deltastate.edu/DAreadingawards.
Winning works have been submitted for consideration in the Southern Literary Festival national contest, and all winners are invited to attend the 2021 conference hosted virtually by North Georgia University in May.
Additionally, winning works will be published in a print anthology of works from the past three years. All submissions to “Da” are considered for publication online through “The Delta Statement” student newspaper website.
Established in 1972 by undergraduate students at Delta State University, “Confidante” was renamed “Da” in 2014 in honor of long-time professor and former chair Dorothy Shawhan’s contributions and leadership in the Division of Languages & Literature.
Students interested in working on the “Da” staff are encouraged to sign up for ENG 220, Student Publications Workshop, where they can gain experience in editing, writing, and producing a literary magazine and online student newspaper.
The “Da” Writing Contest is open to all undergraduates who do not have a bachelor’s degree and are currently enrolled at Delta State. Graduate students work may be submitted for publication but will not be considered for the contest. Entries must not have been published in any publication with the exception of The Delta Statement. Categories for submission include: poetry, fiction, one-act plays, formal essays and informal essays.
Monetary prizes are awarded to the winners in each of these five categories. Visual art submissions are also welcome.