Two Dynamic Keynote Speakers

February 23, 2007

Amy Ma, Jon Andersen
Keynote Speakers
For Young Writers
10th Annual Dinner

LITCHFIELD, Conn. Feb. 23, 2007 – Two dynamic poets and writers — a graduate student at Central Connecticut State University and a high school English teacher — will be the keynote speakers for the 10th annual IMPAC-CSU Young Writers dinner Friday, June 1 at the Litchfield Inn.

About 4,000 students have participated in the program since 1998. By June 1 of this year, the Young Writers Trust will have given more than $150,000 to Connecticut’s best young writers. Thousand-dollar winners include students from more than 50 schools. [A complete list of prior winners follows this announcement.]

Grand prize winners – to be announced at the June 1 dinner – will also earn a trip to Dublin for events connected with the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Dublin Writers Festival.

Amy Ma, the 2001 state poetry champion in the IMPAC-CSU competition and a graduate of West Hartford’s Conard High School, went on to major in English at Wesleyan University. There, she completed a short story collection while mentored by the writer Kit Reed. Currently, she is working to obtain her Connecticut teaching certification at Central.

“I am making an interesting living as a makeup artist and counter manager for Nordstrom cosmetics,” Ma said. “The game plan is to teach high school English, attend law school, open a rock-and-roll-themed makeup boutique with my best friend, and sooner or later run away to New York to adventure and write. I remain enslaved by poetry and accept my fate as such.”

Jon Andersen, Ma’s fellow keynote speaker, is an acclaimed poet and a teacher with a track record of affirming and nurturing young writers.

Andersen’s debut book of poetry, Stomp and Sing, was published by Curbstone Press of Willimantic in 2005. The poems in Stomp and Sing illuminate the concerns and aspirations of the new working class generation, and serve as an imagistic autobiography. Clear and direct, narrative and lyrical, they take us from mountaintops to local cafes, from lumberyards to town sidewalks, and range in theme from the impact of racism to the consolation of nature.

His poems have appeared in numerous journals including Connecticut Review, Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, The Progressive, and Rattle.

Luis Rodriguez, author of Always Running, writes: “Jon Andersen’s poems sing of a life lived, devoured, explored, and awake. Who writes like this anymore? Oh, for more Jon Andersens in our midst, to remind us we are more complex, nuanced, and meaningful than many are daring to be.”

Andersen was born in 1970 in New London. He currently lives with his wife and family in Willimantic and teaches at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs. Many of Andersen’s students have been county finalists and prize winners in the IMPAC-CSU competition.

Building on the tradition begun by novelist Wally Lamb, Ma and Andersen will conduct a workshop for the county winners prior to the annual dinner.

Poets and writers in each of Connecticut’s eight counties win $1,000 prizes annually, awarded during ceremonies at the four CSU campuses. About a dozen finalists in prose and poetry from each county are invited to the regional ceremonies.

Those events for spring 2007 are as follows: Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, April 23; Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, April 24; Western Connecticut State University, Danbury, April 26; and Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, April 30.

Judging will begin soon for county finalists and winners.

The 16 county winners – as well as their parents, families, teachers and friends – will be invited to the annual dinner at the Litchfield Inn. In addition, the Young Writers Trust has been trying to locate as many prior winners as possible to invite them to the 10th annual ceremonies.

IMPAC, a leading productivity firm, also endows the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, which at 100,000 Euros is the world’s largest prize for a single work of fiction.

IMPAC Chairman Jim Irwin and retired CSU Chancellor Bill Cibes expanded the Young Writers Program from Litchfield County to cover the entire state in 2000. Chancellor David Carter, formerly president of Eastern Connecticut State University, has been a champion for the program and has undertaken initiatives to expand participation.

The CSU System serves more than 35,000 students, making it the largest public university system in Connecticut. A total of 166 academic programs are offered
throughout the system, and more than 5,000 degrees are awarded annually.

Past speakers for the annual dinner have included novelist Wally Lamb, Central’s Poet in Residence Ravi Shankar, CSU Professor Vivian Shipley, writer and radio talk show host Colin McEnroe, writer and SCSU Professor Audrey Kerr, poets Gray Jacobik, Kate Rushin, Franz Douskey, Rennie McQuilken and Richard Blanco, Connecticut Poet Laureates Leo Connellan and Marilyn Nelson, novelist Bruce Clements, French linguist Cheryl Demharter, Special Assistant to the United Nations Secretary General, Natalie Hahn, National Review Managing Editor Priscilla Buckley, ABC Nightline Correspondent Dave Marash, Brian Ross, Chief Investigative Correspondent for ABC News, statewide prose champions Candi Deschamps of Danbury and Emily Dykes of Montville, statewide poetry champions Amy Ma and Adrian Kudler of West Hartford, Emily Madsen of Avon and two-time county poetry champion Jennifer Steele of Middletown.

In addition, a pilot program for writers of French and Spanish awards up to $1,000 in prizes to competitors from Litchfield and Wamogo High Schools. Discussions are continuing to expand that program, which is co-sponsored by the Litchfield-Morris Rotary.

Judges for the competition have included Susan Gilmore, Jenny Minton, Norm Pattis, Terese Karmel, Christine Palm, Dan Pope, Rand Cooper, Kat Lyons, Jack Daley, Jeff Mock, Pit Pinegar, Jim Scrimgeour, Sandra Ebner, Faith Vicinanza, Franz Douskey, Diane Smith, Colin McEnroe, Vita Muir, Elizabeth Thomas, Cheryl Demharter, Jessica Treat, Estela Lopez , Kate Rushin, Sylvie Glickstein, Lieve Keeney, Carol Kearns, Ravi Shankar, Joe Bentivegna, Larry Cohen, Dale Salm, Vivian Shipley, Rennie McQuilken, Charley Monagan, Susanne Davis, Ron Samul, Jill Weinberger, Denning Powell, Ron Winter, Priscilla Buckley, Kat Lyons, John McNicholas, Dick Slawsky, Anson Smith, Malo Forde, Leo Connellan, Marilyn Nelson, and John Surowiecki.

Thanks to the wisdom and generosity of our sponsors, we have been able to maintain this program for 10 years.

Special thanks to sponsors who have supported us at levels allowing The Trust to send state champions in prose and poetry and parents to Dublin for activities connected with the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Dublin Writers Festival.

Sponsors for the grand prizes include Tomasso Brothers Inc. of New Britian, Litchfield Bancorp, Meehan, Meehan & Gavin of Bridgeport, Torrington Savings Bank, Halloran & Sage LLP of Hartford and Philip Russell P.C. of Greenwich.

Tomasso Brothers sponsors the trip to Dublin for the poetry champion and a parent of the student.

Sponsoring the prose champion and a parent are President & CEO Mark Macomber of Litchfield Bancorp, Atty. Rich Meehan of Meehan, Meehan & Gavin of Bridgeport, Jeffrey A. Lalonde, President & CEO of Torrington Savings Bank, Atty. Ken Slater of Halloran & Sage LLP of Hartford and Atty. Philip Russell of Philip Russell P.C. of Greenwich.

Mark Macomber of Litchfield Bancorp was the first sponsor of the Young Writers Program. Founding sponsors include: David and Ginger Dean of Litchfield County Commercial, Diane Blick of The Business Center, Connecticut Cut Flowers and the Litchfield Inn.

Sustaining sponsors include Jeff Lalonde of Torrington Savings Bank, Dr. Joseph Bentivegna, Del Eberhardt of Touchstone Applied Science Services, Connecticut Business & Industry Association, Collins Hardwood Flooring, JCL Pro Tree, Atty. Jack Horak of Reid & Riege, Atty. Richard Meehan, Atty. Stephanie Weaver, Atty. Philip Russell, Atty. Ken Slater, La Cupola Ristorante, Aspen Garden Restaurant, Bill McGurk of Rockville Savings Bank, Tomasso Brothers, Education Connection, Sandy Taylor and Judy Doyle of Curbstone Press, Globe-Pequot Press, Vincent Valvo of the Hartford Business Journal, Frank Morse of Carter Morse & Company, Bantam Fuel, Casa Bacchus, A Frame Come True, Spino’s Men’s Wear, Litchfield County Superintendent’s Association, The Warner Theater, The Village Restaurant, Dr. Robert Van Wyck, the Hickory Stick Book Shop, Aldrich, Perkins & Co., Michael J. London & Associates, Atty. A. Paul Spinella, Atty. Norm Pattis, Brewer Consulting, Whitlock Farms Booksellers, Murphy Real Estate, The Workshop, Association of Productivity Specialists, Black Rock Medical Group, Mayo Crowe LLC, Newman Creed & Associates, DiFranco’s Restaurant and Pizzeria and the Rainy Faye Bookstore & Gallery.

Board members of the Young Writers Trust are: F. Lee Bailey, Lynn Baker, Joe Bentivegna, Diane Blick, David Carter, Bill Cibes, Franz Douskey, Del Eberhardt, Diane Smith, John Tindall-Gibson, Andy Thibault, Stephanie Weaver and Lauren Weisberg-Kaufman. Ex-officio: Allen Hoffman, Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism.

YOUNG WRITERS STATE & COUNTY WINNERS 1998-2006

LITCHFIELD COUNTY WINNERS, 1998 & 1999

1998

Poetry
Tamara Taitt, The Hotchkiss School

Prose
Shakhi Majumdar, The Hotchkiss School

1999

Poetry
Natalie Araujo, The Hotchkiss School

Prose
Amar Mehta, The Hotchkiss School

STATE WINNERS 2000 – 2006

2000

Poetry
Adrian Kudler, Hall High School

Prose
Julia Wong, Hopkins School

2001

Poetry
Amy Ma, Conard High School

Prose
Candi Deschamps, Danbury High School

2002

Poetry
Emily Madsen, Avon High School

Prose
Katrina Leno, Somers High School

2003

Poetry
Kyle Smith, Montville High School

Prose
Lauren Hefferon, St. Margaret McTernan School

2004

Poetry
Alexandra Regenbogen, Litchfield High School

Prose
Emily Dykes, Montville High School

2005

Poetry
Jessica Roth, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts

Prose
Charlotte Crowe, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts

2006

Poetry
Britta Bell, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts

Prose
John Raithel, The Woodhall School


COUNTY WINNERS 2000 – 2006

2000

New London – Poetry
Jillian Hyde, Norwich Free Academy

New London – Prose
Sarah Lukens, Montville High School

Windham – Poetry
Erin Grant, Woodstock Academy

Windham – Prose
Jennifer Babulsky, Plainfield High School

Hartford – Poetry
Adrian Kudler, Hall High School

Hartford – Prose
Charla Stetson, Windsor Locks High School

Tolland – Poetry
Elizabeth Molnar, E.O. Smith High School

Tolland – Prose
Jessica Stites, E.O. Smith High School

Fairfield – Poetry
Rachel Vogel, Weston High School

Fairfield – Prose
Molly Lazer, Trumbull High School

Litchfield – Poetry
Kathryn Chanko, Torrington High School

Litchfield – Prose
Julia Liu, Phillips Exeter Academy [Watertown resident]

New Haven – Poetry
Katie Perkins, Westover School

New Haven – Prose
Julia Wong, Hopkins School

Middlesex – Poetry
Molly Murphy, Nathan Hale Ray Middle School

Middlesex – Prose
Jessica Albetski, Mercy High School

2001

New London – Poetry
Sarah Stepler, Stonington High School

New London – Prose
Erin O’Brien, The Williams School

Windham – Poetry
Emily Salisbury, Woodstock Academy

Windham – Prose
Bonnie Moses, Woodstock Academy

Hartford – Poetry
Amy Ma, Conard High School

Hartford – Prose
Jennifer Silverman, Simsbury High School

Tolland – Poetry
Becky Tucker, E.O. Smith High School

Tolland – Prose
Matthew Salesses, E.O. Smith High School

Fairfield – Poetry
Paula Brady, Greenwich Academy

Fairfield – Prose
Candi Deschamps, Danbury High School

Litchfield – Poetry
Christopher Rovero, Torrington High School

Litchfield – Prose
Kaitlin Harley, Woodbury Middle School

New Haven – Poetry
Martha Kwasnik, Westover School

New Haven – Prose
Natasha Diosa, Mark T. Sheehan High School

Middlesex – Poetry
Jennifer Steele, Middletown High School

Middlesex – Prose
Lindsey Bowman, Old Saybrook High School

2002

New London – Poetry
Lauren Star, Norwich Free Academy

New London – Prose
Mallory Tew, Fitch High School

Windham – Poetry
Richard DeHay, Killingly High School

Windham – Prose
Carissa Johnson, Ellis Tech

Hartford – Poetry
Emily Madsen, Avon High School

Hartford – Prose
Daniel Golden, Greater Hartford Academy

Tolland – Poetry
Kira Taylor, E.O. Smith High School

Tolland – Prose
Katrina Leno, Somers High School

Fairfield – Poetry
Alexandra Day, Greenwich Academy

Fairfield – Prose
Lindsey Mecca, St. Luke’s School

Litchfield – Poetry
Ashley Langer, Litchfield High School

Litchfield – Prose
Erin Cronk, The Hotchkiss School

New Haven – Poetry
Erica Maroney, North Haven High School

New Haven – Prose
Constantin Loles, Hopkins School

Middlesex – Poetry
Jennifer Steele, Middletown High School

Middlesex – Prose
Lindsey Bowman, Old Saybrook High School

2003

New London – Poetry
Kyle Smith, Montville High School

New London – Prose
Kristin Jacques, Griswold High School

Windham – Poetry
Bonnie Moses, Woodstock Academy

Windham – Prose
Sarah Davis, Sterling Memorial School

Hartford – Poetry
Melanie Tongren, Granby Memorial High School

Hartford – Prose
Erin Snyder, Canton Junior/Senior High School

Tolland – Poetry
Sarah Myers, E.O. Smith High School

Tolland – Prose
Sara Seagrave, RHAM High School

Fairfield – Poetry
Anna Mullen, Greenwich Academy

Fairfield – Prose
Tucker Sparkman, King & Low Heywood Thomas

Litchfield – Poetry
Danielle Bauman, Litchfield High School

Litchfield – Prose
Madeleine Marecki, Wamogo Regional High School

New Haven – Poetry
Rebecca Mills, Thomas Edison Middle School

New Haven – Prose
Lauren Hefferon, St. Margaret McTernan School

Middlesex – Poetry
Daniel Kennedy, Old Saybrook High School

Middlesex – Prose
Carmen Melillo, Valley Regional High School

At Large – Poetry
Ashley Gallo, E.O. Smith High School

2004

New London – Poetry
Julia Canfield, Norwich Free Academy

New London – Prose
Emily Dykes, Montville High School

Windham – Poetry
Devin McDonald, Arts at the Capital Theater

Windham – Prose
Allison Kelly, Woodstock Academy

Hartford – Poetry
Mike Doyle, Windsor High School

Hartford – Prose
Laurie Lomask, Conard High School

Tolland – Poetry
Kelly Berryman, Rockville High School

Tolland – Prose
Adam Thime, RHAM High School

Fairfield – Poetry
Anna Mullen, Greenwich Academy

Fairfield – Prose
Erica Sampson, Newtown High School

Litchfield – Poetry
Alexandra Regenbogen, Litchfield High School

Litchfield – Prose
Rebecca Podos, Torrington High School

New Haven – Poetry
Charles Hellman, Hopkins School

New Haven – Prose
Aleshia James, Cooperative Arts & Humanities Magnet School

Middlesex – Poetry
Stephanie Tessitore, Valley Regional High School

Middlesex – Prose
Toral Odedra, Old Saybrook High School

At Large – Poetry
Zoe Goehring, Westover School

2005

New London – Poetry
Emily Ayer, Ledyard High School

New London – Prose
Emily Dykes, Montville High School

Windham – Poetry
Chelsea Love, Arts of the Capital Theater

Windham – Prose
Georgianna Hunt, Woodstock Academy

Hartford – Poetry
Jessica Roth, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts

Hartford – Prose
Charlotte Crowe, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts

Tolland – Poetry
Gracie Greenbaum, Tolland High School

Tolland – Prose
Molly LaFlesh, Rockville High School

Fairfield – Poetry
Gregory Kovach, Masuk High School

Fairfield – Prose
Kevin Rooney, St. Joseph’s High School

Litchfield – Poetry
Elizabeth Robinson, Nonnewaug High School

Litchfield – Prose
Rachel Schapira, Housatonic Regional Valley High School

New Haven – Poetry
Christa Morris, Educational Center for the Arts

New Haven – Prose
Sam Cunningham, Educational Center for the Arts

Middlesex – Poetry
Lindsay Carini, Mercy High School

Middlesex – Prose
Carmen Melillo, Valley Regional High School

2006

New London – Poetry
Ryan O’Connell, Ledyard High School

New London – Prose
Sourav Bhowmick, East Lyme High School

Windham – Poetry
Chelsea Paige Love, Arts at the Capital Theater

Windham – Prose
Kylee Bergin, Woodstock Academy

Hartford – Poetry
Britta Bell, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts

Hartford – Prose
Molly Rosenthal, Hall High School

Tolland – Poetry
Molly LaFlesh, Rockville High School

Tolland – Prose
Fallon VanOudenhove, Rockville High School

Fairfield – Poetry
Bryan Murphy, Trumbull High School

Fairfield – Prose
Shakhed Hadaya, Danbury High School

Litchfield – Poetry
Jasmine Ruiz, Torrington High School

Litchfield – Prose
John Raithel, The Woodhall School

New Haven – Poetry
Amanda Debisschop, Woodland Regional High School

New Haven – Prose
Diana Filar, Wolcott High School

Middlesex – Poetry
Elizabeth Santovasi, Old Saybrook High School

Middlesex – Prose
Jen Angier, Valley Regional High School

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Note: County winners each earn $1,000.
From 2000 to 2005, state winners each earned an additional $1,000. Beginning in June 2006, the state winner for prose and a parent and the state winner for poetry and a parent were awarded all-expense paid trips to Dublin for festivities connected with the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Dublin Writers Festival.
* A related awards program in French & Spanish, co-sponsored by the Litchfield-Morris Rotary, has awarded up to $1,000 annually since 2000.

IMPAC-Connecticut State University
Young Writers Trust
231 Beach St. Litchfield, CT 06759
* 800-814-6931 * Fax- 860-567-9119
Tntcomm82@cs.com
http://www.ctyoungwriters.org

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