a sports banquet,
but with better music”
BOB LEUCI, Young Writers Keynote,
Interviewed By Litchfield County Times
Arts & Culture
Young Writers Competition Heading for Finale (Web First)
Thursday, May 27, 2010
By JACK CORAGGIO
The competition is whittled down to 16, with two finalists to represent each of the eight Connecticut counties. The ultimate showdown comes to Hartford Thursday, June 3, when these teenage contestants match up for the 13th Connecticut Young Writers Competition crown.
The brainchild of local journalist/analyst/professor/political watchdog Andy Thibault, with the assistance of the Connecticut State University System, the prize distribution equals $10,000. Of that $10,000, $8,000 is split between the county champions, half of whom made it on prose, the other half poetry. And that’s how the two winners will be divided: one for prose and one for poetry.
In the county of Litchfield, 18-year-old Carter Brown of Litchfield High School earned the poetry slot for his “Icari.” Meanwhile, 16-year-old Claire Burch of New Milford High School will represent the prose side for her piece “The Neighborhood.”
Perhaps one of these two, or maybe both, will be named the victors. If not, just getting to this spot is quite the honor, this year saw 795 applicants, the highest in the trust’s history. The previous record was 647.
Along with 2003 prose champ Lauren Hefferon, Bob Leuci, a novelist and professor at the University of Rhode Island, will be one of the keynote speakers at the event. Quite a fast talker, in the literal not pejorative sense, he has an idea of what he’ll talk about: writing.
“There’s an invisible link that connects all people who perceive themselves as writers,” he told The Litchfield County Times.
And if you perceive yourself as a writer, you are a writer, he believes.
“You look at the world through a special kind of prism…and I care about the people who concern themselves with everyday life,” he said. “I’ll be talking in those terms, to people interested in all forms of writing. Writing is writing. What is it about the craft of writing? How good can it be? I’m talking too fast, aren’t I?”
The ceremony will include a couple of live bands, like the Bridgeport-based Latin rock band Cosmic Jibaros along with the Jen Allen Big Band, hors d’oeuvres, dinner, the works.
“It’ll be like a sports banquet, but with better music,” said Mr. Thibault.
The event is at The Hartford Club, 46 Prospect Ave., and there’s still time to get in, the ceremony and dinner are open to the public. Cost is $50. The reception begins at 5 p.m., the dinner an hour-and-a-half later. People can send a check to CT Young Writers Trust, 231 Beach St., Litchfield, CT 06759.
Connecticut Young Writers Trust
231 Beach St.
Litchfield, CT 06759
* 860-567-8865 * Fax- 860-567-9119
The wild swan's death-hymn took the soul
Of that waste place with joy
Hidden in sorrow: at first to the ear
The warble was low, and full and clear; ...
But anon her awful jubilant voice,
With a music strange and manifold,
Flow'd forth on a carol free and bold;
As when a mighty people rejoice
With shawms, and with cymbals, and harps of gold...
-- Alfred Tennyson
YOUNG WRITERS STATUS UPDATE WED., MAY 19, 2010
RSVPs and sponsor donations for the 13th Annual Young Writers Celebration, Thurs., 6-3-10, are coming in at a slow, but steady rate.
Young writers will arrive prior to 4 p.m. @ The Hartford Club for a workshop led by Keynote Speakers Lauren Hefferon and Bob Leuci.
Don't be late for the 5 p.m. SHARP reception featuring the Bridgeport-based Latin Rock Band Cosmic Jibaros.
Parking for guests at this event is free underneath the club @ 46 Prospect St.
Long-time friends of young writers Rand Richards Cooper and Diane Smith will serve as co-masters of ceremonies. Dinner music by The Jen Allen Big Band featuring vocalists DominiQue, Tamara Almai and Shannon Gunnip.
RUNDOWN FOR THIS EVENT - WHICH COULD BE OUR LAST - FOLLOWS WITH INVITATION. CSU System Chancellor Dr. David Carter will host a meeting by September to explore continuation of the program.
Special gratitude to all the hundreds of volunteer laborers and generous sponsors who have allowed us to process more than 6,000 entries and give away more than $192,000 since 1998.
See you June 3 @ The Hartford Club.
-- 2001 State Prose Champion Candi Deschamps, Colin McEnroe, 2003 State Prose Champion Lauren Hefferon & Diane Smith at the Litchfield Inn, June 2003
CT YOUNG WRITERS 13TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION
13th Annual Connecticut Young Writers Competition Awards Ceremony
At The Hartford Club, Thursday, June 3, 2010
The 2010 Connecticut Young Writers awards ceremony, which highlights works of poetry and prose submitted by teenagers from throughout the state, will be held at The Hartford Club, 46 Prospect, St., Hartford, CT, on Thursday, June 3, 2010.
The competition has inspired the participation of more than 795 students this year -- the highest number of entries in the competition's 13 years. It is sponsored by the Connecticut State University System and many generous private donors including bookstores, bankers, lawyers, real estate firms, restaurants, an art gallery, a construction company, a publisher, an eye surgeon, an art gallery, a wine shop, educators and poets and writers.
The ceremony and dinner are open to the public. Cost is $50. Check to CT Young Writers Trust, 231 Beach St., Litchfield, CT 06759. Invitation follows.
Young writers will gather for a workshop at 4 p.m. led by Lauren Hefferon, the 2003 state prose champion and a recent graduate of Yale University; and Robert Leuci, the former NYPD narcotics detective who is now a novelist and English professor at the University of Rhode Island. Cash bar will be available for parents, friends and teachers.
-- At 5 p.m. sharp, the Bridgeport-based Latin rock band Cosmic Jibaros will greet the young writers and guests for a reception with hors' d'oeuvres.
Pre-dinner festivities will begin about 6:30 p.m. Co-Masters of Ceremonies are Diane Smith, the author, CPTV producer and Connecticut Network anchor; and Rand Richards Cooper, the author and Bon Appétit travel writer.
As a freshman at Chase Collegiate School in Waterbury, Hefferon won the New Haven county and state prizes for prose. Her work was published in Connecticut Review, the literary journal of the Connecticut State University System.
"The competition inspired me to keep writing, and to consider fiction as more than just a hobby," said Hefferon, a Litchfield resident. Since participating in the contest, I have sought out every opportunity to improve my writing skills."
Hefferon worked as a copy editor for a non-governmental organization in Madrid during her Yale studies. She also served as a tutor at the Yale College Writing Center. In addition, she wrote newspaper editorials and website copy. Among her favorite creative assignments: one-page narratives for Yale's legendary Daily Themes course. She intends to study English at the graduate level.
The 2003 CT Young Writers State Prose Champion will be the pre-dinner speaker. Dinner music will be provided by the Jen Allen Big Band with vocalists.
-- Vocalists DominiQue, Laura McCabe, Shannon Gunnip and Tamara Almai with The Jen Allen Big Band, Hartford Club, 1-15-10
Leuci will speak after dinner. He will be introduced by James O'Neil, the former Rhode Island attorney general.
Then, the sixteen county champions in prose and poetry will be presented certificates as state finalists. Each of the county champions received $500 checks in April during regional ceremonies at Central, Southern, Western and Eastern Connecticut state universities.
NEW LONDON COUNTY POETRY CHAMPION
Grace Beggins, 17,
The Williams School, New London
TEACHER: John Becker
NEW LONDON COUNTY PROSE CHAMPION
Gloria Creamer, 16,
Montville High School
TEACHER: Ted Richmond
WINDHAM COUNTY POETRY CHAMPION
Josh Bryer, 17,
"A Number of Thoughts"
Kilingly High School
TEACHER: John Fulco
WINDHAM COUNTY PROSE CHAMPION
Anna Nassiff, 18,
"Mrs. Warren In Color"
Arts at The Capitol Theater, Willimantic
TEACHER: Barbara Greenbaum
FAIRFIELD COUNTY POETRY CHAMPION
Julia Albano, 18,
"Red In The Shade Of Salsa Diane"
Danbury High School
TEACHER: Deborah Casey
FAIRFIELD COUNTY PROSE CHAMPION
Zeena Advani, 17,
Westhill High School, Stamford
TEACHER: Robin Denninger
LITCHFIELD COUNTY POETRY CHAMPION
Carter Brown, 18,
Litchfield High School
TEACHER: Deborah Dove
LITCHFIELD COUNTY PROSE CHAMPION
Claire Burch, 16,
New Milford High School
TEACHER: Cheryl Morosko
MIDDLESEX COUNTY POETRY CHAMPION
Olivia DelGiudice, 17,
Old Saybrook High School
TEACHER: Susan Murphy
MIDDLESEX COUNTY PROSE CHAMPION
Chelsea Melanson, 17,
The Morgan School, Clinton
TEACHER: Leslie Chausse
NEW HAVEN COUNTY POETRY CHAMPION
Mary Margaret Meehan, 17,
Westover School, Middlebury
TEACHER: Bruce Coffin
NEW HAVEN COUNTY PROSE CHAMPION
Noah Perito, 15,
Branford High School
"Dead Card Players Tell No Tales"
TEACHER: Wendy Grehl
HARTFORD COUNTY POETRY CHAMPION
Morgan Finn, 16,
Bristol Central HS
"Where I Come From"
TEACHER: Sophia Gintoff
HARTFORD COUNTY PROSE CHAMPION
Sheldon Gaskell, 16,
Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts
TEACHER: Maureen O'Brien
TOLLAND COUNTY POETRY CHAMPION
Timothy West, 18,
Rockville High School
"In Homage To M.C. Escher"
TEACHER: Victoria Nordlund
TOLLAND COUNTY PROSE CHAMPION
Kyle Kneeland, 17,
Rockville High School
"Colors Of A Dream"
TEACHER: Victoria Nordlund
Leuci was a writer for the TV shows 100 Centre Street and Precinct Hollywood. He is an adjunct professor in the University of Rhode Island English department.
He has written more than half a dozen crime novels, translated into four languages and most recently published a memoir with Harper Collins, All The Centurions. He has also written a play for German radio, Brooklyn Roofs.
His crime novels feature characters on all sides of the law -- inside and outside law enforcement -- and boast an edge and a substance found in the better political thrillers.
This is what students are saying about Leuci on the site RateMyProfessors.com
* Leuci is the funniest freaking man ever. Really cares about YOU and what YOU want to learn / write. He is willing to let you write ANYTHING …
* Make sure you sign up for his classes quick as they fill up fast.
* He's hilarious and he bought us pizza at the end of the year because he swore so much …
* Great teacher! will help you through everything … be honest with him he appreciates it more. He is funny go to his classes you wont regret it.
* Prof. Leuci is a great teacher and person. He truly cares about his students, and if he gets to know you, he will not hesitate to help you academically and / or professionally. He has an unconventional style, but you can learn a lot of useful information. I can guarantee that you will walk away from his class a more knowledgeable person.
Leuci's 20 years as a New York City police officer dovetailed with the career of another cop memorialized in film and print, Frank Serpico.
In his memoir, All The Centurions, Leuci reports that many in the NYPD literally cheered upon learning Serpico was shot in the face in what by most persuasive accounts was a set-up by fellow cops. Serpico was an oddball: He wouldn't take money.
Leuci and Serpico shared that tag: Leuci was not a manicured or well-dressed guy like his peers in the elite Special Investigative Unit. Even over time, he did not quite fit in.
Serpico's revelations about police corruption led to the formation of the Knapp Commission, which documented low levels of corruption -- "grass eaters" -- and high levels of corruption - "meat eaters."
Leuci, troubled by what he saw on the job, ultimately came forward and cooperated with prosecutors. As The New York Times reported:
For years, on the well-founded assumption that his life was in danger, Detective Leuci had to travel with bodyguards [as many as nine]. His investigation had implicated not only his fellow officers; organized crime figures, lawyers, bail bondsmen and an assistant district attorney had become involved, too. Detective Leuci had been undercover 16 months; the trials had gone on more than four years. Then the bodyguards were gone ...
In addition to the memoir, All The Centurions, that era in Leuci's life is documented by the book Prince of the City , by former New York City Deputy Police Commissioner Robert Daley; and by the film of the same name, directed by Sidney Lumet. Lumet also directed Serpico and All The President's Men. Treat Williams played the Leuci character, Danny Cielo.
"Frank Serpico wasn't like Bob Leuci at all,'' Lumet told The New York Times." Frank would have ended up going off to Europe alone with his dog whether he was a stockbroker, a flutist with the Philharmonic or a cop. Bob is a cop, all cop, and then comes everything else -- the charm, the guilelessness, the naivete ... "
Following Leuci's address on June 3, the state finalists will be recognized. Then, at the conclusion of the evening, the state champions will be announced. They will receive additional checks for $1,000 each.
The Connecticut Young Writers competition affirms the work of young poets and writers and celebrates their accomplishments. The late IMPAC Chairman Jim Irwin and retired CSUS Chancellor William Cibes expanded the Young Writers Program from Litchfield County to cover the entire state in 2000.
By June 3, the CT Young Writers Trust will have given more than $192,000 to young poets and writers. About 6,000 students have participated in the program.
Chancellor David Carter has helped to keep the program alive since 2006 as overseer of the CSU System.
Prior to being named chancellor, Carter served as the fifth president of Eastern Connecticut State University. Appointed in April 1988, he was the first African American president of a four-year institution of higher education in Connecticut.
The Connecticut State University System consists of four comprehensive universities: Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven and Western Connecticut State University in Danbury. With more than 36,000 students and 180,000 alumni, CSUS is the largest public university system in Connecticut.
Book vendor for the event will be Rainy Faye of Bridgeport.
Among Leuci's titles:
All the Centurions: A former New York City narcotics detective discusses his work on such film-inspiring cases as the French Connection and Serpico, and shares his disillusionment in the face of corruption, and the criminal justice system's dark side.
Fence Jumpers: As kids, they took on New York's mean streets. As men, they're on opposite sides of the law. Dante O'Donnell and Jimmmy Burns took up the oath, the badge and the gun of the police force. Jo Jo Paradiso took a different path as a rising player in the Paradiso crime family. Today the three friends are trapped in an ever-more-vicious game of betrayal -- one that threatens to break much more than the bonds of their youth.
Odessa Beach: A Russian and the American mob make strange bedfellows in a brilliantly plotted masterpiece of cross-cultural criminality. The book is set in Brighton (renamed Odessa) Beach, Brooklyn, where Nikolai Zoracoff has defected from Moscow -- not seeking political asylum but escape from the KGB. A charming hedonist and a criminal only because in Moscow luxury is bought by crime, Zoracoff's assimilation into America includes cowboy hats, Dolby stereo and a drug connection which, in New York, means an alliance with the Mafia -- and a game which is harder than Zoracoff can bear.
Blaze: A rising star in the NYPD, Captain Nora Riter has a private life that threatens to torpedo her career. A streetwise actor/conman Nicky Ossman faces prison for assaulting a vice cop. Nora needs Nicky to help her re-establish personal and professional control as she takes on a case that leads her to taking down a psychopathic criminal kingpin known as "Blaze."
Captain Butterfly: This is a riveting thriller about police corruption and the labyrinth of the human heart.
The Snitch: A highly-principled police detective is chosen to infiltrate the notoriously corrupt Organized Crime Control Bureau. When the OCCB raid a nightclub, leaving seven people dead, the powers that be decide a major bust would look better than a police corruption case -- only the detective refuses to compromise his principles.
Renegades: A thriller about three friends who grow up together on the tough streets of New York. Their friendship, loyalty and courage are tested when two become policemen and the other becomes a mafia boss.
Double Edge: A tough, all-too-human police drama set on the dangerous streets of Washington, D.C. Cotton is a crack dealer who's seen it all. Scot Ancelat is a detective who's seen too much. In a vivid, brutal tale, their stories intertwine, as Ancelat struggles to solve the senseless murder of a young boy.
YOUNG WRITERS 2010 ANNUAL CELEBRATION
You are cordially invited to attend the
13TH Annual CT Young Writers
Statewide Ceremony & Dinner
Frenched Chicken Breast
Wild Mushroom Port Sauce
Grilled Salmon Filet
Lemon Caper Sauce
Thursday, June 3, 2010
The Hartford Club
4 p.m. Workshops
5-6:15 p.m. Reception
6:30 p.m. Dinner
Lauren Hefferon, 2003 State Prose Champion,
Yale, 2010; Chase Collegiate School, 2006
Robert Leuci, novelist, URI English Prof,
Author of memoir, All The Centurions
Introduction of Robert Leuci by James O'Neil,
Former Rhode Island Attorney General
Co-Masters of Ceremonies
Rand Richards Cooper, Author,
Bon Appétit travel writer
Diane Smith, Author,
CPTV Producer/Host of Positively CT
Cosmic Jibaros, Latin Rock
$50 per person
Dinner Music by The Jen Allen Big Band With Vocalists
RSVP by May 28, 2010
CT Young Writers Trust
231 Beach St.
Litchfield, CT 06759
860-567-8865 or 860-690-0211
Checks to CT Young Writers Trust
County Champions Complimentary, everyone else $50
NOTE TO SPONSORS
TY 4 KEEPING THIS PROGRAM ALIVE
FOLLOWING THE DEATH
OF OUR FOUNDING / PRIMARY SPONSOR LAST FALL
-- 2010 PROGRAM SPONSORSHIPS R AVAIL AS FOLLOWS:
* biz card in program, $250
* county champion sponsor, $500
* state champion sponsor, $1,000
all donations greatly appreciated and publicly acknowledged
--------------plz send checks 2
CT YOUNG WRITERS TRUST
231 Beach St.
Litchfield, CT 06759
thank you thank you thank you