The Ben Wofford Prize, awarded every other year, is usually given to a Wofford student whose writing career is beginning to blossom. This year's winner is Elizabeth Reynolds, a 2008 Wofford graduate who now lives in Atlanta where she has an internship in publishing.
"My story is about a girl who learns why her father left -- she learns it on the day that her mother remarries," says Reynolds. "The story deals with her attempts to get to know her father and to cope with her changing relationship with her mother."
According to Deno Trakas, chair of the Department of English and the Laura and Winston Hoy Endowed Professor of Literature, "The Ben Wofford Prize is unique to Wofford. I don't know of any other undergraduate school that gives an award to a book-length work by a student, which has been judged and selected by a professional writer."
This year the judge was South Carolina novelist Tommy Hays, who loved Elizabeth's book.
"Most winners have been novellas written in my Novella Workshop, but one year we had a book of poetry, and we've had a couple of works of non-fiction too,” says Trakas.
"We publish 800-1000 copies of the book and give them away -- most go to the author, who gives them to friends and family and leaves them in strategic locations, such as airports and the Appalachian Trail."
Reynolds says the prize will inspire her to pursue her writing talents further.
"I was elated when I found out I'd won," she says. "It was definitely a surprise. I always thought it would be great to win, but I was happy just taking the Novella Workshop with other students who loved to write and who gave wonderful feedback.
"I think the prospect of winning the Ben Wofford prize is a huge incentive to finish a longer work of fiction. I can't wait to hold a bound copy of my novella.