Congratulations are in order for fiction writing students Wendy Dutwin, Margot Demopoulos, and Susan Berman, who beat out 27 other students for the top three places in the Writers’ Program 19th annual 2010 Kirkwood Literary Prize competition. The award, given by benefactor Andrew Morse, was founded to honor Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning writer James Kirkwood (There Must be a Pony!; A Chorus Line) who started his writing career in the Writers’ Program.

This year’s winners were honored at a luncheon that took place at Tanino Ristorante in Westwood Village. Mr. Morse flew in from New York to attend the luncheon and present each of the winners with a monetary award and a copy of one of Kirkwood’s novels. Also in attendance were the winners’ guests, nominating instructors, and Writers’ Program staff.

First place winner Wendy Dutwin was nominated by her advanced short story instructor Valerie Fioravanti for her short story, “Them Shining Stars in Uvalde.” In judging this piece during the final round, Mark Sarvas said, “Two vividly damaged characters seek solace and, for a moment, almost find it. These wounded almost-lovers have lingered in my memory.”

Second place winner Margot Demopoulos is an advanced novel writing student who has worked for many years with her nominating instructor, Claire Carmichael. Judge Shannon Cain said about Margot’s submission, “Charing Cross Road ” is a war story that delivers crisp details, original imagery, skilled dialogue and an examination of violence that is unflinching but never gratuitous.”

Susan Berman placed third for her short story, “Lust for Life,” which was nominated by her advanced short story instructor Adam Cushman. The piece was described as “A mature, fully realized piece of work, well-observed, sharp and, above all, honest,” by Mr. Sarvas.

Congratulations to all of the nominees, semi-finalists, and winners for their literary achievement!

2010 Kirkwood Literary Prize Judges:

Michael Buckley

Shannon Cain

Kerry Cohen

Stefan Kiesbye

Mark Sarvas

Leslie What

Mae Respicio is the Program Representative in Creative Writing.

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