LCT: Young Writers Recognized
Thursday, June 17, 2010
By Jack Coraggio
HARTFORD—What a gala occasion the 13th Connecticut Young Writers Competition, conducted early this month in the aristocratic-chic Hartford Club, turned out to be.
Aspiring teenage writers—16 in all, two from each county in the state—closed in on the capital city, each one hoping the event—featuring live music from both a Latin and a big band ensemble, speeches of encouragement from a previous winner and one New York detective turned career writer and a dinner fit for a wedding—would conclude with their names called.
Alas, it was not the Litchfield County students that came away with the big prize. Sheldon Gaskell, 16, of Suffield, won for his story “Kineo,” while Grace Beggins, 17, of Guilford, took home the poetry prize for her poem, “Cloud Gazing.”
Still, this creation of Litchfield County investigative journalist, private investigator, boxing aficionado and more, Andy Thibault, with the assistance of the Connecticut State University System, the Young Writers Competition rewarded all 16 chosen teens.
The prize distribution equaled $10,000. Of that amount, $8,000 was split between the county champions, half of whom made it on prose, the other half with their poetry. The remainder was divided between Mr. Gaskell and Ms. Beggins.
In Litchfield County, 18-year-old Carter Brown of Litchfield High School earned the poetry slot for “Icari.” And 16-year-old Claire Burch of New Milford High School got the prose position for her piece “The Neighborhood.”
But with keynote speaker and Litchfield-native Lauren Hefferon, the 2003 prose champion, the Northwest Corner did get some representation.
“I wasn’t scared of writing, I don’t think I learned yet it was possible to be scared of writing,” said Ms. Hefferon, who just recently graduated from Yale University.
She said it’s an art the teens should forever indulge in, a solid grasp of thought and language will assist them in future relationships, romantic and professional, maybe even help them win arguments.
“The feeling for those of you who are shopaholics—you just have to spend the money in your pocket,” she said, “If you’re a writer you have to tell the story in your head.”