Contest winners to read works at Creative Writing Festival

April 16, 2018

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Department of Humanities recently announced the winners of its 2018 Thomas Hickey Writing Awards. The contest was open to all students who were enrolled at least part time at UW-Platteville.

Student winners will read their winning pieces at the Department of Humanities’ Creative Writing Festival on Wednesday, April 25, in UW-Platteville’s Nohr Gallery, Ullsvik Hall, from 4-6:30 p.m.

Anica Graney, a junior at Platteville High School and winner of the first Platteville High School Poetry Contest, will kick off the festival by reading her winning poem, “A Sticky Situation.” The poem was selected by students in the course Poetry Writing, taught by Dr. Kara Candito, associate professor of creative writing and English literature at UW-Platteville and director of the festival. Graney is interested in studying English and creative writing in college.

Following, the event’s featured reader, nationally published poet Jennifer L. Knox will read selections from her poetry. Following a short break for refreshments, book sales and a book signing, student award winners will read their winning pieces. English Honor Society Sigma Delta Tau will close out the evening with a brief presentation. 

“We are truly excited about bringing a writer like Jennifer L. Knox to campus and delighted about celebrating our undergraduate creative writers,” said Candito.

Student winners in each category include:

• First place: Sean Hayes, “Sad Music”
• Second place: Marselienna Von Eschen, “The Beach”
• Third place: Olivia Sampica, “How to Feel Desired”

• First place: Kelsey Farmer, “Paper Gowns”
• Second place: Sarah Strache, “Gas-Station Bathroom”
• Third place: Kelsey Crosby, “My Experiences with Sex Ed”

• First place, Zheniya Fager, “interpretive homemaking”
• Second place: Marselienna Von Eschen, “Red” 
• Third place: Kayla Schneider, “Sea Glass”

Knox is the author of four collections of poetry, including, most recently, “Days of Shame and Failure” (Bloof Books, 2015). The New York Times Book Review said of her newest collection, “hits, with deceptive ease, all the poetic marks a reader could want: intellectual curiosity, emotional impact, beautiful language, surprising revelation and arresting imagery.” 

Among Knox’s many accomplishments, her work has appeared four times in the “Best American Poetry” series as well as the anthologies “Great American Prose Poems,” “From Poe to Present” and “Best American Erotic Poems.” Individual poems have appeared in publications such as the New York Times, the New Yorker and American Poetry Review. Presently, Knox is working on a culinary memoir and a new book of poems. She teaches at Iowa State University and is the proprietor of a small batch artisanal spice company called Saltlickers.

The creative writing contest is named after Thomas Hickey, a former English composition and literature professor at UW-Platteville. Hickey taught at UW-Platteville for 42 years and served as a judge for the creative writing contest for nearly 10 of those years.

High-impact practices, such as the Thomas Hickey creative writing contest and festival, are an important component of UW-Platteville’s 2017-2018 strategic work plan, which includes the institutional priorities of improving student learning, data-informed decision making, budgeting and planning, supporting student success through retention and recruitment initiatives, and campus climate.

Written by: Laurie A. Hamer, University Relations Specialist, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191,


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