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2013 Calvino writing prize goes to Iowa State student

by Judy Hughes, communications and marketing last modified Dec 16, 2013 11:48 AM

Iowa State University graduate student Geetha Iyer won the 2013 Calvino Prize, an annual fiction competition sponsored by the University of Louisville’s creative writing program.

Iyer’s short story, “The Mongerji Letters,” earned her a $1,500 cash prize and publication of the story in the Salt Hill Journal, published by Syracuse University. She will receive a full stipend for travel to Louisville to read her story in February at the University of Louisville’s annual Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900. She is working on a master of fine arts degree in the creative writing and environment program.

Mark Polanzak will receive a second-place prize of $300 for his short story “A Proper Hunger.” He teaches writing and literature at Berklee College of Music in Boston and is editor of Draft: The Journal of Process.

The Calvino Prize is awarded to outstanding fiction that suggests or echoes the fabulist experimental style of Italian fiction writer Italo Calvino, who died in 1985. The competition drew 218 submissions from around the world for the ninth annual prize.

Award-winning fiction author Tobias Wolff, a Stanford University professor of English, was the contest’s final judge who selected Iyer as the winner.

“The great writer (Calvino) would certainly have recognized, and been delighted by, this story’s imaginative reach, both playful and serious; its subtle grounding in the realities of social and personal life, even as it delivers the reader into the dazzling realms of possibility. It is, at last, a hymn to the imagination, and a tremor or apprehension at the worldly forces that threaten to overwhelm and destroy it,” Wolff wrote.

For more information, check www.louisville.edu/english/creative-writing/contests or contact Brian Leung, director of UofL’s creative writing program, at 502-852-1687 or brian.leung@louisville.edu.

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