The Etruscan Prize

The Etruscan Prize is awarded each year to a member of the Wilkes Creative Writing student community who submits one page of any genre (prose, script, poetry or play) that sings. Since 2010, Etruscan Press has awarded a Wilkes University Creative Writing graduate student for their writing excellence.

John Cornelius of Nescopeck, Pa. was awarded the Etruscan Prize during the Wilkes University Maslow Family Graduate Creative Writing Program residency. The Etruscan Prize is awarded each year to a member of the Wilkes Creative Writing student community who submits one page of any genre (prose, script, poetry or play) that sings. This was the twelfth consecutive year Etruscan Press awarded a Wilkes University Creative Writing graduate student for their writing excellence.

Cornelius’s submission, “Second Marriage,” was the prize winner. This was the fifth year the Etruscan Prize was awarded for a work of fiction. Prize recipients from prior years were awarded for works of fiction, memoir, and poetry. Cornelius is pursuing his Master of Arts in Fiction in the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing. Wilkes University faculty member Nancy McKinley has served as Cornelius’s mentor.

Etruscan author Karen Donovan judged the award. Donovan commented about Cornelius’s submission: “‘Second Marriage’ is a work of very short prose, as compact and evocative as any poem, that pops open a haunted room where events occur in a way they have never quite occurred before. The narrator, both the subject of and witness to this haunting, fastens on primal elements – sun, moon, forest, stars – to report its effects. The room stays suspended in magic time as the telling accumulates. In one last gesture, a foot touches down, and what is at stake reveals itself. The beauty of the craft here is that so much is made to happen in such a small space. Every sentence has a twist in it. Every idea is exquisitely tethered to the concrete. The images resonate and expand, pushing the room out until it is much bigger on the inside than it looks – big enough to summon ‘impossibly large owls’ that take up residence in a reader’s mind for a good long while.”

Donovan is the author of Aard-vark to Axolotl (Etruscan Press, 2018), a collection of illustrated short prose, and two collections of poetry, Your Enzymes Are Calling the Ancients (Persea Books) and Fugitive Red (University of Massachusetts Press). Planet Parable will be published as part of Trio, an Etruscan Press Tribus imprint, in August. Donovan works for a social enterprise accelerator in Providence.

Previous Recipients of The Etruscan Prize

YEAR RECIPIENT GENRE JUDGE
2021 John Cornelius Fiction Karen Donovan
2020 Jason Miller Poetry Dante Di Stefano
2019 Iris Ouellette Fiction Renée D’Aoust
2018 Sarah Bedford Memoir Bruce Bond
2017 Ronnie Stephens Poetry Myrna Stone
2016 Jeremiah Blue Memoir Tim Seibles
2015 Vanessa Taylor Poetry Diane Raptosh
2014 Ahrend Torrey Poetry Remica Bingham
2013 Kaitlyn Burrier Fiction Michael Blumenthal
2012 Jason Carney Fiction/Memoir Carol Moldaw
2011 Joseph Schwartzburt Fiction William Heyen
2010 Alysha Haran Memoir H. L. Hix
2021 Etruscan Prize Winner

2021: Etruscan Press Executive Director Phil Brady; 2021 Etruscan Prize recipient John Cornelius of Nesopeck, Pa.; and Etruscan Press Production Editor Pamela Turchin at the June 25, 2021 Wilkes Graduate Creative Writing Program ceremony. (Photo credit: Kirsten Peters)

2020 Etruscan Prize Winner
2019 Etruscan Prize Winner

2019: Etruscan Press Executive Editor Robert Mooney; Etruscan Press Executive Director Phil Brady; 2019 Etruscan Prize recipient Iris Ouelette of Pittston, Pa.; and Etruscan Press Managing Editor Bill Schneider at the June 21, 2019 Wilkes Graduate Creative Writing Program ceremony. (Photo credit: Shawn Hatten)

2018 Etruscan Prize Winner

2018: Etruscan Press Executive Director Phil Brady, 2019 Etruscan Prize recipient Sarah Bedford of Hunlock Creek, Pa., and Etruscan Press Executive Editor Robert Mooney at the June 22, 2018 Wilkes Graduate Creative Writing Program ceremony. (Photo credit: Shawn Hatten)

2017 Etruscan Prize Winner

2017: Etruscan Press Executive Director Phil Brady, 2017 Etruscan Prize recipient Ronnie Stephens of The Colony, Texas, and Etruscan Press Executive Editor Robert Mooney at the June 23, 2017 Wilkes Graduate Creative Writing Program ceremony. (Photo credit: Shawn Hatten)

2016 Etruscan Prize Winner

2016: Etruscan Press Production Editor Heather Taylor, 2016 Etruscan Prize recipient Jeremiah Blue of Phoenix, Ariz., and Etruscan Press Managing Editor Bill Schneider at the July 8, 2016 Wilkes Graduate Creative Writing Program ceremony at Mesa Center for Higher Educat​​ion in Mesa, Ariz. (Photo credit: Carol White)

2015 Etruscan Prize Winner

2015: Etruscan Press Executive Director Phil Brady and 2015 Etruscan Prize recipient Vanessa Taylor of Rosedale, NY at June 27, 2015 Wilkes Graduate Creative Writing Program ceremony at Wilkes University (Photo credit: Shawn Hatten)

2014 Etruscan Prize Winner

2014: Etruscan Press Executive Director Phil Brady, 2014 Etruscan Prize recipient Ahrend Torrey of Baton Rouge, LA, and Etruscan Executive Editor Robert Mooney at June 21, 2014 Wilkes Graduate Creative Writing Program ceremony at Wilkes University (Photo credit: Shawn Hatten)