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Middlebury College Bread Loaf Writers' Conference awards Bakeless Prizes in fiction and poetry

June 15, 2004

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-The Middlebury College Bread Loaf Writers' Conference has announced the winners of the 2004 ninth annual Bakeless Literary Publication Prizes.  The prizes are awarded to aid and encourage writers seeking publication of their first books.  Former United States Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky chose Ron Slate's poetry collection "The Incentive of the Maggot" for the poetry prize.  Charles Baxter, whose novel "The Feast of Love" was a finalist for the National Book Award, selected Michael Guista's "Brain Work," a collection of stories, for the fiction prize.  There was no winner in the creative nonfiction prize category.  Houghton Mifflin will publish the winning authors' work in its Mariner Original Paperback line.  The winners will also receive fellowships to attend the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in August 2005.

Ron Slate was born in Quincy, Mass.  He graduated from the Stanford Writing Program in 1973 with a master's in creative writing.  Slate also completed doctorate-level coursework in American literature at the University of Wisconsin. Early in his career, he published poetry in Antaeus, The Georgia Review, Poetry Northwest, and Virginia Quarterly Review.  From 1985-2000, Slate stopped writing poetry and worked in corporate communications, beginning as a speechwriter.  Eventually he became vice president for global communications at EMC Corp., a Mass.-based technology company.  While sitting in his corporate office in 2001, Slate resumed writing and decided to quit his job.  The poems in his award-winning manuscript sprang from the ensuing 18-month flurry of writing.  He and his wife and three daughters live in Milton, Mass.

Michael Guista grew up in the San Joaquin Valley of California.  He received a master's degree in psychology from San Jose State University in 1981, and then went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of California at Irvine in 1984.  The focus of his early writing was poetry, but he soon turned to fiction, publishing in journals such as American Short Fiction, Quarterly West, and North American Review.  In 1996 he received a fiction fellowship from the California Arts Council.  Guista, who teaches at Allan Hancock College in California, is currently re-editing a collection of his essays about obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Complete guidelines for the 2005 Bakeless Literary Publication Prizes are available.  Judges for the 2005 prizes will be Francine Prose for fiction, Edward Hoagland for creative nonfiction, and Philip Levine for poetry.  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  Information is also available on the College's Web site at

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