Middlebury College Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Awards

Bakeless Nason Prizes in Fiction, Poetry, and Nonfiction

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-The Middlebury College Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference has announced the recipients of the fifth annual Bakeless Nason Literary Publication Prizes in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. The prizes, established in honor of a long-time supporter of Middlebury College, are awarded to aid and encourage writers who are seeking publication of their first books. Three books-one by each of the three winners-will be published in the fall of 2000 by the Middlebury College/University Press of New England. The winning authors will also receive fellowships to attend the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2001.

Ann Pancake’s “Given Ground” was chosen by author David Bradley for the fiction award. Sam Witt’s “Everlasting Quail” was chosen by poet Carol Frost for the poetry prize. Paula W. Peterson’s “Penitent, With Roses” was chosen by author Tom Mallon for the creative nonfiction prize.

Fiction award winner Ann Pancake, who has taught extensively in Japan, American Samoa, and Thailand, presently teaches at Penn State Erie. She grew up in Romney, W. Va., and holds an undergraduate degree from West Virginia University, a master’s in English from the University of North Carolina, and a doctorate in English from the University of Washington. Pancake’s numerous publishing credits include the Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, Antietam Review, and International Quarterly. She has received the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, the Tennessee Williams Scholarship in Fiction, the National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writers’ Fellowship Grant, and numerous other scholarship and teaching awards.

Describing Pancake’s book, Bradley writes, “ ‘Given Ground’ is an astoundingly rich rendering of the Blue Ridge Mountain country . that capture the heartsongs of the people who walk these hills, the harsh discords of generational conflicts, economic changes, ironic xenophobias, the unique timbre of the hills themselves.”

Bakeless poetry award-winner Sam Witt was born in Wimbledon, England, and moved with his family to Winston-Salem, N.C., at the age of seven. He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s of fine arts in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. A resident of San Francisco, Cal., Witt has participated in poetry festivals in Vilnius, Lithuania, and presently writes for such publications as the San Fransisco Chronicle, Wired, Salon, Mondo 2000, VOLT, Computer World, and Black Book.

“Sam Witt’s poems are a rhapsody and ‘crisp singing’ both,” writes Frost of Witt’s work. “The best are purest poetry-mixing beauty, the reaches of language, and an imagination equally made up of body and of grace. He speaks in all our tones. His equivalences are fresh and reveal an involved, likeable world.”

Paula W. Peterson, the recipient of the Bakeless nonfiction prize, earned an undergraduate degree from Brandeis University and a master’s in English literature from the University of Michigan. Her short fiction has appeared in such publications as the Carolina Quarterly, Greensboro Review, and Alligator Juniper. “Prognosis Guarded,” one of her essays included in the prize-winning Bakeless collection “Penitent, With Roses,” also won first place in New Millennium Writings’ 1998 award for nonfiction. She currently lives in San Francisco, and is involved in HIV/AIDS advocacy work as well as education and prevention programs.

“In a time of premature, self-treasuring memoirs,” writes Mallon, “ ‘Penitent, With Roses’ stands out as a life story written not a moment too soon, and not a whit self-indulgently. Paula Peterson’s extraordinary book, which begins with the birth of her child and her own diagnosis with full-blown AIDS, is an unflinching story told in a thoroughly authentic, witty voice. . will come to know her as a little girl, a feckless young working woman, a mother, and a fighter against her disease. But they will remember her as one thing above all-an honest-to-God writer.”

Complete guidelines for the 2001 Bakeless Nason Literary Publication Prizes are currently available. For more information, contact Ian Pounds at Bakeless Prizes, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT, 05753; by phone at 802-443-2018; or by e-mail at bakeless@Middlebury.edu. As of August 15, information will be available on the conference’s web page at http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/blwc/bakeless/.

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