Celebrating Excellence: Creative Writing Prize Winners Announced

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Carly Mason, Liam Mulherin and Sara Nason have received St. Thomas University’s awards for creative writing. Mason was awarded the David Adams Richards Prize for Prose, Mulherin received the Velensky Prize for work in any genre, and Nason won the Casto Poetry prize for the second year in a row.

Carly Mason – Richards Prize for Prose

Carly Mason, a second-year English Honours student, wrote “A Different Country,” a creative non-fiction piece that explores life in a rural town by telling the stories of the people that live there.

Mason modelled her story after Upper Stewiacke, Nova Scotia—her hometown.

“Ultimately, I think the people make the place, and that's what I tried to focus on,” she said. “But in writing about the people, I began to realize how much the area has changed in my lifetime. Home is home, though, and it always will be.”

Mason said her time at STU has helped her to grow as a writer.

“My second year in general and this prize, in particular, have given me more confidence in my writing and provided me with the opportunity to share my writing with more people.”

Liam Mulherin – Velensky Prize for work in any genre
Liam Mulherin’s piece, Fresh Cuts, tells the story of a child’s walk with his grandfather. It takes readers to unexpected places such as weekly boxing challenges for credit at the general store, where when he lost, the store owner’s son would get a fresh cut of meat to slap over the bruises.

“My piece is essentially a meditation on several of the family stories I was told while growing up,” said Mulherin. “An attempt to piece together answers to the question of who my grandfather was and what happened in his childhood that shaped him into the man he became.”

Mulherin graduated in 2018 but returned to STU to upgrade his English Major into an Honours. This award is the first he has won for his writing.

“It’s a major honour to have been selected as one of the winners for this year’s creative writing awards. I have never won an award before, so this is a real validation for me as a writer.”

Sara Nason – Casto Poetry Prize

“Raw,” a slightly experimental and minimalistic poem by Sara Nason, captures the chaos that follows receiving terrible news. They wrote it shortly after their father was diagnosed with cancer—a diagnosis he received two weeks after a long-awaited leg surgery.

“My father has been fighting his whole life through poverty, illness, accidents, and debt. I was so angry. The first words out of my mouth after he told me about the cancer were "Why can't you ever catch a break?" 

“I carried this anger with me for weeks. I wrote Raw without really realizing I was writing a poem. It was one of those poems you sort of smash onto the page and only recognize by the end what you've done.”

Nason graduated this year with an Honours in Sociology and a Major in English and will be returning to STU in the fall to pursue a Bachelor of Education.