Students studying outside the library

Moncks Corner Student Uses Creative Voice to Tell Story

May 22, 2003

SPARTANBURG, SC – Everybody has a story to tell, says Wofford College graduate Liz Scarborough, and she used her creative voice to tell hers.

Scarborough, a 2002 graduate from Moncks Corner, S.C., is the author of “Tangle,” the winner of the 2002 Benjamin Wofford Prize for Fiction, a fictional tale “loosely based on family events and my family’s re-telling of those stories,” she says. She wrote the book as part of the advanced fiction course during her senior year at Wofford. Also called the novella class, the course was devised by Dr. Benjamin Dunlap in 1995 when he was teaching the class; now, Dunlap is president of the college.

“Tangle,” the fifth student novel to be published since the prize’s inception, is “a lyrical, powerful narrative of a tangled Southern family trying to work its way through the knots of the past,” says Dr. Deno Trakas, who now teaches the course. The story is “partly about what happens to a woman and her family when she receives a letter from her dead husband.”

Novelist Shelby Hearon, who judged the novella contest this year, says, “Liz Scarborough tells her story with the perfect pitch and observant eye of a true writer.”

Trakas continues, “We get to know a host of fascinating characters, we get caught up in their intriguing interactions, and we get caught by surprise in a nice twist of plot.”

Scarborough, who is in Calheta, a small town in Cape Verde, West Africa, serving in the Peace Corps, says participating in the novel-writing course “taught me that everyone has at least one really interesting story to tell. We got to know each other through our stories, which is not a bad way to get acquainted.” She says developing the book came initially through the goal of writing the required 100 pages, but that changed. “I wrote and rewrote until I had that many pages, but the novel-writing class was invaluable during the process. My classmates’ critiques helped flesh out characters and focus the plot.

“I’m learning that it’s a little bit daunting to have something published,” continues Scarborough, who hasn’t actually seen her first book because she was already in Africa when it rolled off the presses. “When it’s just a manuscript, it’s up to the author to decide who reads it. As for the prize, I really hope that Wofford continues to offer and promote the expanding creative writing curriculum. Providing more prizes like this one would be ideal. There are many creative voices in our small community that deserve to be heard.”

While at Wofford, Scarborough, an English and philosophy major, was a Bonner Scholar, member of the Blue Key National Honor Society and a dean’s list student. At her graduation in 2002, she received the “Heart of a Terrier” Leadership Award and the Currie B. Spivey Award for commitment to volunteerism. She is the daughter of Lynda Scarborough of Moncks Corner.

Copies of the book are not for sale, but are available on a limited basis from Wofford College. Contact Beverly Doster in the Development Office at by e-mail at or write her at Wofford College, 429 N. Church St., Spartanburg, SC 29303.