Two University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop students earned first place and publication honors as the 2021 winners of the Association of Writers and Writing Program’s literary competition.
“These awards have long been seen as some of the most prestigious and highly coveted for MFA students and programs to win because the competition is so vast and accomplished,” said M.O. Walsh, director of UNO’s Creative Writing Workshop. “For a program to have two students win in the same year is really rare.”
Ashlee Beals won in the creative nonfiction category for an essay called "The Sky is a Liar Being Blue."
“This honor is a reiteration of something that I still find stunning sometimes; my words mean something to other people, and I have stories worth telling,” Beals said. “I've very grateful for the reminder."
Skye Jackson’s win came in the poetry category for the poem, “Which One.”
“I feel honored that my writing stood up against work that was submitted from MFA programs all around the country,” Jackson said. “I'm so thankful to our CWW program director, professors and classmates for always supporting me and encouraging my work. This is a win for all of us!”
The Intro Journals Project contest is for the “discovery and publication of the best new works by students currently enrolled in AWP member programs.”
Program directors are invited to nominate students' works, which are selected for publication in participating literary journals, including Colorado Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Mid-American Review, Puerto del Sol, Quarterly West, Reed Magazine and Tampa Review.
Poetry faculty members John Gery and Carolyn Hembree nominated Jackson’s work and professors Anne Giselson and Richard Goodman nominated Beals’ work, Walsh said.
As winners of the Intro Journals Project, Beals’ and Jackson’s work will appear in Reed Magazine.