Congratulations to the Winners of the Fitzgerald Museum’s Literary Contest: “The Radiant Hour”

Congratulations to this year’s winners and honorable mentions in the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum’s fourth annual Literary Contest and to our second winner of the Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald Young Writers Award!

Grades 9 – 10:
Arim Lee, “Inheritance”

Grades 9 – 10 Honorable Mention:
Natalie Jiang, “feeling lost in the crowd”

Grades 11 – 12:
Avery Gendler, “A Playlist, or a Sonnet Crown”

Grades 11 – 12 Honorable Mention:
Samantha Hsiung, “chinatown pt. 2”

Ria Dhingra, “A Modern-Day Manual to the Midwest”

Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald Young Writers Award
Kathleen Doyle, LAMP High School in Montgomery

The theme for 2021 – 2022 was “The Radiant Hour” to honor the centennial of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Beautiful and the Damned. The Fitzgeralds’ literary and artistic works from the 1920s and 1930s are still regarded as groundbreaking, and The Fitzgerald Museum is pleased to honor these young writers as daring and revolutionary writers of their generation. Thank you to Jason McCall for judging the high school entries and to Pat Reeves for judging the undergraduate category.

About the two high school winners, judge Jason McCall had these remarks:

Lee’s “Inheritance” presents the definition of the word as only poetry can. This haunting poem grips readers with movement, imagery, and cutting diction to show how the beauty and weight of family and tradition live on in the body, mind, and spirit.

Gendler’s “A Playlist, or a Sonnet Crown” shows how even the most traditional forms can be revived and made fresh by the mind of a modern writer. Part formal masterclass in formalism, part masterclass in narrative, the poem shines a brilliant light on how moments and emotions can be immortalized in verse.

About the undergraduate winner Ria Dhingra, judge Pat Reeves had these remarks:

“A Modern-Day Manual to the Midwest” by Ria Dhingra seems initially to take the form of advice given to a newcomer to the Midwestern United States, but eventually pivots toward a personal meditation. [ . . .] The beauty of this piece is not in any single line, but in the accumulation of images, the vignettes that make up a typical day, that move us into adulthood, and finally, that weave into a whole that is a life. The rhythm and cadence of the short sentences begins to have a dreamlike effect that, even when the images are jolting, echoes the boredom of the day-to-day.

In its four years, the contest, which is open to high school students and college undergraduates, has received submissions from around the United States and overseas. This year’s honorees attend schools and colleges in Massachusetts, Michigan, California, and Wisconsin. The three grade-level winners will receive a monetary prize, and all honorees will have their works published on the Fitzgerald Museum’s website.

This year was the second year for the Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald Young Writers Award. Montgomery, Alabama native Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald was daring and revolutionary in her life, art, and writing, and award that bears her name seeks to identify and honor Alabama’s high school students who share her talent and spirit.

About winner Kathleen Doyle’s portfolio, judge Kerry Madden-Lunsford said:

From her moving and funny piece “Lonesome George” about Pinta tortoise on a trip to Galapagos with her frail grandfather to her literary narratives on the work of Hemingway and Gatsby to the modern gothic world of the aptly-named “Renfroe’s Foodland,” (I kept thinking of Renfield running the grocery store somewhere in the Deep South) to her sparkling Yelp reviews, Kathleen shows her range as a writer of creative nonfiction with a keen eye for detail and a wonderful sense of humor and timing. She has a tremendous ability to paint a world with her words with her bright cinematic descriptions and deep empathy for her subjects, and I found myself wanting to linger in the places she created.

For more information about the contest, visit the contest webpage on the Fitzgerald Museum website. Guidelines for next year’s contest will be posted in August 2022.

For information on the winners of past year’s contests, click the year:
2019  •  2020  •  2021


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