Washington College names finalists for literary prize
Special from the Newark Post
— A 19-yearold University of Delaware student was attacked by a rideshare driver on Tuesday night, campus police said.
The incident happened at 10 p.m. as the student was being dropped off in the parking lot of George Read Residence Hall on Laird Campus.
The driver and the student began arguing, and the conflict turned violent, said Capt. Jason Pires, spokesman for UD Police.
“They had a disagreement, and it escalated from there,” Pires said, declining to elaborate on details of the argument.
The driver, later identified as 32-year-old New Castle resident Yolande Mcallister, attempted to choke the suspect and struck him several times, Pires said. The student was taken to Christiana Hospital, where he was treated for face and neck injuries and released.
Mcallister drove away, but witnesses gave police his description and license plate number, Pires said. Officers went to his home and arrested him without incident.
Mcallister is charged with third-degree assault, strangulation and disorderly conduct. He was committed to the Howard Young Correctional Institution.
Pires confirmed that Mcallister works for a rideshare service, in which customers use a smartphone app to request a ride. Popular services include Uber and Lyft, but Pires would not say what company Mcallister works for, nor did he say where the student had been picked up.
— Five Washington College seniors, majoring in disciplines ranging from English to anthropology, are finalists for the largest undergraduate literary award in the country. The college will award its Sophie Kerr Prize on Friday during an evening ceremony on the Chestertown campus.
This year’s prize is valued at $65,770.
As stipulated by Kerr’s will, the prize check itself will be awarded the next day as part of the college’s commencement.
The best-known component of the extraordinary legacy of Eastern Shore native Kerr, a prolific and popular writer of the early 20th century, the Sophie Kerr Prize goes to the senior who shows the greatest promise for a future in literary endeavor. Prize hopefuls submit portfolios of work in any genre, which are critiqued by members of the English department.
Poetry, essays, short stories, academic writing and scripts that explored topics from dogs and God to gender and relationships were submitted this year from a total of 20 students.
Professor Kathryn Moncrief, chairman of the English department and the Sophie Kerr Committee, said the prize committee was especially impressed by the range and boldness, as well as the high quality, of this year’s finalists.
“These students were pushing the boundaries. There was a breadth of genres, visual images, book-arts projects — a great deal of significant experimentation and daring with form and genre,” she said in a news release the college issued Monday.
The finalists will read from their work at 7 p.m. Friday in Decker Theatre of the Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts. Roy Kesey ’91 will offer remarks and announce the award winner.
The event is free and open to the public. For those unable to attend, the entire event will be streamed through the college website. Find the link for the streaming on the home page at www.washcoll. edu or go directly to www:// livestream. com/ washcoll/ SophieKerr.
The finalists are listed here, in alphabetical order.
Cockeysville resident Nicolas Anstett, a 22-year-old English major with a double minor in creative writing and business, was involved in a va-
riety of writing opportunities during his four years at Washington — including the student newspaper, The Elm. He won the 2016 Literary House Genre Fiction Prize for his short story “A Report on Central’s Operation Conducted in Nairobi, Kenya-July 12, 2016.” He also starred in numerous student theatrical productions, including “Equus” and “Boxes.”
Anstett’s writing portfolio combines screenplay/video, creative nonfiction and fiction to explore personal themes of secrets, young adulthood and queer identity. After graduation, he plans to continue producing creative works in the city of Baltimore.
Rachel Brown, a 21-yearold Hispanic studies and anthropology double-major and creative writing minor, grew up in Mechanicsville and Wilmington, Del. She served as editor-in-chief of The Collegian, and as a leader of the Día de Fútbol Committee and the StoryQuest Oral History Program. She also achieved distinction as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Delta Pi, Lambda Alpha and the Cater Society of Junior Fellows.
She submitted a portfolio that included essays, poetry, fiction and experimental forms.
After graduation, she will begin work as an administrative assistant at National Geographic. Ultimately, she would like to return to South America through a Fulbright grant or Peace Corps appointment.
Reilly D. Cox, from Westminster, is a 22-year-old English and theater major with a creative writing minor. He served as poetry editor for The Collegian, a scenic shop assistant for the Gibson Center for the Arts and a student manager for the multimedia production center. He has received several honors, including the 2016 William W. Warner Prize for Creative Writing on Nature and the Environment and the 2013 and 2016 Jude and Mariam Pfister Poetry Prizes, as well as a Jacoby Endowment Grant and a Sophie Kerr scholarship.
His writing portfolio includes lyric essays, familial poems, his playwriting thesis and his English thesis on erasure poetry.
After graduation, he will attend the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets, after which he will continue several writing and travel projects.
Grace O’Connor, a 21-yearold from Cochecton, N.Y., is an English major with a creative writing minor and an education minor with certification. She served as prose editor for The Collegian, participated in the Mixed Martial Arts Club, became a member of Sigma Tau Delta, acted and dramaturged within the drama department, and was selected as a Maryland Teacher of Promise. She also was a tutor in the writing center.
O’Connor’s writing portfolio includes academic essays focused on the purpose and craft of writing as well as fiction and poetry that explore the transitions among fracture, trauma and recovery.
After graduation, she plans to take a gap year to explore various education positions before pursuing a Master of Fine Art.
Alexandria Smythe is a 22-year-old English major and economics and creative writing minor from Dover, Pa. She served as president of the English honor society Sigma Tau Delta and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Epsilon honor societies. She worked in the writing center and interned with The Summerset Review.
Her writing portfolio includes a collection of scholarly essays and fictional short stories.
Washington College’s Sophie Kerr Prize finalists for 2016 are, from left, Nicholas Anstett, Reilly D. Cox, Grace O’Connor, Rachel Brown and Alexandria Smythe. They were announced Monday, May 16. The winner will be named Friday.