The Morgan County African American Museum and its partners announce the winners of the Raymond Andrews Prize for Creative Writing contest for the 2020-2021 academic year. Walter Biggins, Editor-in-Chief at University of Pennsylvania Press, has made the placement selections from finalists chosen by a panel of readers.
Levi Hubbard, a Junior at Morgan County High School, wins top prize. He is followed by Evelyn McCanless, Sameeha Sultana, and Taylor Frederick. The students win a combined total of $600 in prize money. Other finalists include Mitchell Anderson, Sabrina Booker, and Isabel Vickers.
The purpose of the contest is to foster excitement for creative writing among area youth. Entries are judged blindly by a team of volunteer readers. Each story is read by at least two judges. Judges used a standardized rating system. Entries earning the most points from the reading pool were passed along to Biggins who then made the final selections.
Biggins had this to say about the contestants from Morgan County: “These were a lot of fun to read and I appreciated the ambition exhibited by all of the writers. Whether they’re writing sci-fi and fantasy or realism, they are taking on big subjects and offering challenging, refreshing voices. I applaud each of these young writers, and hope they’ll continue to grow in their writing.”
Cash prizes will be awarded to the winning students at the Morgan County African American Museum in May. The final prize winnings include Levi Hubbard, $400; Evelyn McCanless, $100; Sameeha Sultana, $50; and Taylor Frederick, $50.
Novelist Raymond Andrews, the namesake for the prize, was born in the Plainview Community of Morgan County in 1934. He published three novels and four other books. Almost all of them are set in the fictional Muskhogean County, which is a stand-in for Morgan County. Andrews is a member of the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. He died in 1991.
Biggins, guest judge for the 2021 contest, is the editor-in-chief for the University of Pennsylvania Press, and is a freelance writer. Along with Daniel Couch, he is the author of “Bob Mould’s Workbook” (Bloomsbury, 2017). His work has been published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, RogerEbert.com, Glide Magazine, The Baseball Chronicle, and other periodicals. He lives in Philadelphia.