2018 Denny C. Plattner Awards

2018 Denny C. Plattner Awards

(L-R): Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Monic Ductan, Shaun Turner

We are proud to announce the winners of the annual Denny C. Plattner Awards, which were established in 1995 by Kenneth and Elissa Plattner to honor their late son and his love of writing. The awards are given to the finest pieces of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry that appeared in Appalachian Heritage during the previous year. Winners receive a $200 prize, and both winners and honorable mentions are awarded a handsome cherry wooden book rack designed and manufactured by Berea College Crafts.

Judged by Elaine Fowler Palencia, author of Brier Country
Winner: Shaun Turner, “Funeral March”

Honorable Mention: Chris Holbrook, “Surface Level

Palencia on Turner’s story: The multiple points of view plus the interweaving of past and present give this piece of fiction the reach of a novel while preserving the focus of a short story. The sharply observed, flawed characters, sobered by death, surprise the reader at every turn as they stumble towards togetherness.

Judged by Beth Newberry, essayist and editor
Winner: Monic Ductan, “Fantasy Worlds
Honorable Mention: Jake Maynard, “Barely Runnable”

Newberry on Ductan’s essay: “Fantasy Worlds” is an essay that reveals multiple worlds the narrator and their father traverse over decades. There are the interior worlds of the narrator as a reader and the world of movies that nurture and provide an escape, and eventually the real world built of small moments where father and daughter connect. Ductan’s observant, unguarded, and well-told story resonates with its revelations and challenges of parent-child relationships and the vibrancy of an internal creative life.

Judged by L.S. McKee, award-winning poet and teacher
Winner: Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, “Scorned, He Implodes, 1999, from the Series Soul Erased by Joyce Scott
Honorable Mention: Savannah Sipple, “What We Tell Ourselves

McKee on Stefanon’s poem: Immediately, I was struck by the lyric and imagistic power of Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon’s ekphrastic poem. Here, the speaker not only enters into a conversation with the visual art of Joyce Scott but also explores in the language of the poem, through dynamic, complex imagery and innovative syntax, how the act of seeing, of perceiving itself, is a generative process–one that is often linked to the furthering of racism and violence in our world. Van Clief-Stefanon writes with great urgency, vision, and heart, and this poem reveals more and more upon multiple readings, particularly in the deeply moving and haunting final lines.

Jason Kyle Howard is the author of A Few Honest Words and co-author of Something's Rising, both works of literary journalism. His essays, features, and commentary have appeared in the New York Times, Oxford American, Salon, The Millions, The Nation, Sojourners, and on C-SPAN's Book TV and NPR. Howard is editor of Appalachian Review, a literary quarterly based at Berea College, where he teaches and directs the creative writing program. He serves on the graduate faculty of the Spalding University School of Creative and Professional Writing, and holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and degrees from The George Washington University and the University of Kentucky.

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