University of Montana senior Wynne Hungerford of Greenville, S.C., recently won the Meadowlark Award's first-place cash prize of $1,000 for her short story submission, "Ladies Chocolate Night."
Hungerford wrapped up her last day of classes June 27, graduating from UM one year early with a bachelor's degree in forensic anthropology. Though not required for her major, Hungerford incorporated writing courses into her slate of classes. While working toward her degree, she took an independent study in creative writing and a Craft of Revision course.
Her instructor for these two courses, Robert Stubblefield, encouraged her to submit a story for the Meadowlark Award, which provides recognition and incentive for student writers and has a record of distinguished writers as judges.
"Wynne is a talented and tenacious writer, and I found her stories worthy of publication and notice," Stubblefield said. "I'm pleased that the judges agreed!"
"I was shocked," Hungerford said when asked her reaction to learning that she earned the first-place prize. "Without Professor Stubblefield's encouragement, I never would have done it. He has been very supportive."
The competition was open to all students enrolled in any accredited college or university in the state of Montana. Students of all disciplines were urged to submit a piece ranging from 1,500 to 5,000 words. Hungerford submitted her story by the May 15 deadline and learned that she had won on June 15.
"Wynne possesses a unique blend of creativity, discipline and determination," Stubblefield said. "I look forward to seeing what she will accomplish on the page."
Mary Clearman Blew, author of "All But the Waltz," judged this year's competition.
"In ‘Ladies Chocolate Night,' Wynne Hungerford challenges the impoverished language of self-help and finds the unexpected imagery and charged prose that plumbs the deepest channels of feeling," said Blew about Hungerford's story. "This is a powerful story about love in all its contradictions, absurdities and pain."
"Ladies Chocolate Night" can be read online at http://meadowlarkaward.com/past-winners/winning-story-2013/.