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Congratulations to the 2015 Writing Contest Winners!

The Center for American Literary Studies is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 writing contest, “Beautiful Ruins.”

This contest is a part of the 2015 Centre Country Reads/CALS Community Read of New York Times bestselling author Jess Walter’s novel Beautiful RuinsBeautiful Ruins interweaves many stories—an Italian romance, an Old Hollywood miracle, and the struggles of a young filmmaker—in which “beautiful ruins” are embodied in the characters, their memories, and the novel’s multiple settings. Rich with possibility, the theme for this year's writing contest was "Beautiful Ruins."

The winners are:

Grand Prize: V. Jo Hsu, "Forest for the Trees"

  • Hsu received an MFA in fiction from Penn State and is currently a Javits Fellow pursuing her PhD in English Rhetoric at Penn State University. Her fiction has appeared in TINGEMagazine, BluestemConsequence Magazine, and the Kartika Review among others.

Poetry: Jessica O'Hara, "The Barra Boy"

  • O'Hara teaches rhetoric courses and the Ireland summer study abroad program for the English Department at Penn State University. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina and lives in State College with her spouse and two children.

Fiction: Caitlin Wolper, "The Overlooked Motel"

  • Wolper is an English major at Penn State University. She has received awards from the Columbia College Chicago Young Authors Contest and Toasted Cheese’s “Three Cheers and a Tiger” contest. She has also been published in the Penn State literary magazine Kalliope and is currently a reporter for The Daily Collegian.

Non-fiction: Cindy Simmons, "Outta Joint at the Joint"

  • Cindy Simmons is a State College writer who has just completed her first novel. Before moving to Central Pennsylvania, she worked as a journalist. This piece comes from an experience reporting for KUNM in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Under-18: Isabel Sicree, "The Party Tree"

  • Sicree is a home-schooled high school sophomore. She lives in Boalsburg, and she likes to read, write, and roller skate.