Alexis McCormack received the Robert Clayton Casto Prize in Poetry.
Luke Beirne, Alexis McCormack, and Monica Furness earned this year’s top prizes in creative writing at St. Thomas University.

David Adams Richards Prize in Prose

Beirne, a third-year student studying English and History, received the David Adam Richards Prize in Prose for his short story Models.

“I’m very grateful for the prize, especially because it’s named after such a great author,” Beirne said. “I’m also really glad STU supports creative writing as much as it does.”

Beirne said the setting for his story was an ode to Fredericton—his hometown—and the rest he credits to his dad.

“My dad is probably the reason I ever tried to write anything, so I suppose he inspires it all in some way.”

Robert Clayton Casto Prize in Poetry

McCormack, a third-year English with a Concentration in Creative Writing honours student, earned the Robert Clayton Casto Prize in Poetry for the submission of three pieces titled Ease, Documentary: Sperm, Blue Bowhead, and By Far.

McCormack, Woodstock, NB, believes writing can provide comfort—something she hopes her winning poems accomplish.

“There are some experiences we don’t ever find the words for, but I hope one day I might, or that I will grow with these experiences and learn to leave them comfortably unresolved in the same way a poem is never quite finished,” she said. “Through reading and writing we may search for those little comforts, and I hope to offer my own.”

Velenski Prize for All Genres

Rounding out this year’s award winners is Furness, who received the Velenski Prize for All Genres for her short story Sea Glass Haven.

The fourth-year student from Vernon Bridge, PEI, wrote the story to showcase the disconnect between how tourists view Prince Edward Island compared to Islanders.

“The story is about a young island girl who shows her cousin from away her favourite beach, and her cousin hates every second of it because there’s jellyfish everywhere and the water is cold,” she said. “It doesn’t meet her expectation of what a beach should be like.”

Furness is completing an honours in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing, as well as a minor in History.

The winner of each prize receives $500.

Creative Writing at St. Thomas

At St. Thomas, students are able to pursue a major in English Language and Literature with a Concentrating in Creative Writing. Those who are serious about creative writing also have the opportunity to pursue Honours in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing. 

Studying creative writing at St. Thomas sharpens skills in style and strategy and offers several prizes and publication opportunities.

The Department of English publicizes the annual call for Creative Writing Prize submissions in the winter term. All current St. Thomas students are eligible to submit work, with a deadline normally in March.