2 young writers advance to state competition
BY JOHN MCKENNA
April 26, 2008
DANBURY — Litchfield High School senior Britta Bell’s writing skill has brought her a step closer to a second trip to Ireland. Bell on Thursday was named the Litchfield County winner of the poetry competition in the 11th annual IMPAC-CSU Young Writers program for high school students. Her prize, a check for $1,000, was presented during an awards ceremony at Western Connecticut State University.
Northwest Regional High School senior Ben Cooper of Barkhamsted was named the Litchfield County winner of the prose competition. Cooper also received $1,000 and will join Bell and the poetry and prose winners from the state’s seven other counties at the IMPAC-CSU Young Writers’ annual statewide awards ceremony June 1 at the Litchfield Inn.
One poetry and one prose winner will be named at the state ceremony. Their prize will be an all-expense paid trip this summer to Ireland, where they’ll watch the presentation of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and participate in the Dublin Writers’ Festival.
The Dublin IMPAC Literary Award carries a prize of $155,000, the largest in the world for a single work of fiction.
IMPAC — Improved Management Profitability and Control — is an international company owned by James B. Irwin Sr. of Litchfield. The company sponsors the writing competition in partnership with the Connecticut State University System.
Two years ago Bell went to Ireland as the state champion in poetry.
Her poem this year, “Nine Weeks,” is about a high school girl preparing to have an abortion. The poem was inspired by a school trip to a New York City exhibit of corpses, including fetuses in various stages of development.
“It was really an eye-opening experience,” Bell said. “As soon as I got home I wrote the poem.”
Bell describers herself as pro-choice. Although the exhibit was shocking, Bell said it didn’t change her view on abortion.
In August, Bell will head to New Mexico where she’ll study creative writing at the College of Santa Fe. This year she attends class at Litchfield High in the morning and takes classes in creative writing at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in Hartford in the afternoon.
“Writing is something I enjoy deeply,” she said. “It’s never easy and I always have to work hard at it.”
Meanwhile, Cooper’s prose, titled “The Underdog,” is about a community-minded high school student with a plan to rough up some of the troublemakers in his school. Cooper will be attending Boston University, where he’ll major in general studies. That he was a finalist for the county award came as a surprise, he said.
“I hadn’t heard anything for a long time so I thought it wasn’t going to happen,” he said. “To be here and have my named called as the winner felt great.”
Other Litchfield County prose finalists were Marissa Dubecky and Zachary Smith, both of Northwest Regional High School; Cheyanne Smith, Rachel Braverman and Sarah Bogues, all of Nonnewaug High School; Nicole Morse of Torrington High School; Amy Hambridge of New Milford High School and Ellen McQueen of the Kent School.
Other poetry finalists were Lindsay Hamilton, Nicholas Maraia, Jarrett Monterio, Tyler Ruby and Theresa Wilcox, all of Torrington High School; Ashley Caprio of New Milford High School; Katlyn Hagley, Katie McGray and Katherine Moncuse of Wamogo Regional High School, and Brenna Sellars of Nonnewaug High School.
IMPAC-Connecticut State University System
Young Writers Trust
231 Beach St.
Litchfield, CT 06759
* 800-814-6931 * Fax- 860-567-9119
MON., APRIL 28, 2008
Ceremonies for New London & Windham counties
Eastern Connecticut State University
other results and background @ www.ctyoungwriters.org