Students Pen Winning Entries in Writing Competition

Sep. 12, 2012

Three UT Dallas students have penned winning entries in the annual Texas Association of Creative Writing Teachers (TACWT) Student Competition.

LaToya Watkins took first place in the Graduate Fiction category with her story, Peeling.

LaToya Watkins, a doctoral student in aesthetic studies, took first place in the Graduate Fiction category with her story, Peeling.

“It’s a story about finding and accepting the sometimes difficult truth,” said Watkins, who wrote the winning piece for a workshop course taught by Dr. Clay Reynolds, director of creative writing at UT Dallas.

“LaToya has stayed the course of traditional approaches and methods and blended them with her remarkable intelligence and her innate understanding of human nature to achieve her goals,” said Reynolds. “Any time one of our students achieves a major state, regional, or national award or recognition or a significant publication, it reflects very well on the work they do, both in the classroom and through individual instruction.”

Dr. Betty Wiesepape, who teaches literature and creative writing, had two of her students place in the competition.

LeeAnn Olivier took second in Graduate Creative Nonfiction with a story titled Love Like Seawater, and D’Angelo Henderson placed second in Undergraduate Fiction with Sense of Self.

The 2012 winners join the cohort of UT Dallas students who have placed in TACWT competitions. In 2010, students won both the graduate and undergraduate fiction categories, and last year, UT Dallas took first place in the graduate creative non-fiction competition. Dr. Wiesepape was the first UT Dallas winner of the graduate fiction award in 1992.

This year’s winners will be recognized at the TACWT conference, hosted by The University of Texas Pan American (UTPA) September 27 – 29. Watkins will receive a new iPad from UTPA and TACWT for her first place piece.

“The TACWT, founded in the mid-70s, is instrumental in connecting creative writing teachers from across the state of Texas. TACWT members gather for annual conferences, promote literary publications and share creative work. With the annual student competition, our aim is to spark student creative writing and reward excellence, ” said Dr. Philip Zwerling, assistant professor of English at UTPA and president of the TACWT.

The annual competition is open to all students who have been enrolled in a creative writing course during the summer, spring or fall terms preceding the competition deadline. Faculty members select students’ work and sponsor their entries in the competition.


Media Contact: Chaz Lilly, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4461, charles.lilly@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu.

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