Congratulations to Sydney Axelrod, recipient of the 2013 Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award! Sydney is graduating senior at Richard Montgomery High School. Next year, she plans to attend Drexel University, where she will be majoring in Communications with a minor in either English or Screenwriting. Join us for a reading of her work on June 11th!
"A 'wise' woman once told me that my generation has no imagination. Now, I use the term 'wise' loosely, seeing as that is an incredibly ignorant attack on the entire future of our society. Nevertheless, her words hit home and slapped me in the face. No imagination?! Well, I decided at that point -- being the stubborn thirteen year old that I was -- that I would prove her wrong. In the years that have passed, I have come to realize that my generation has developed into the carbon-copy clones we all know not as a result of our own laziness, but of the system by which we are educated. Now, I'm not blaming the nation's teachers; I'm looking at the man behind the curtain who's putting the scores before the skills. Students are taught the form that will get them a 'five' instead of their own satisfaction and I have a problem with this. It's true that you need to know the rules before you can break them, but there's nothing wrong with testing the waters now and then in your writing. My writing is distinct, because I'm not afraid to add a sarcastic edge, reference pop culture, or even quote some colloquial curse words if it means that I'm getting my point across. I know my limits, but push my boundaries."
Denevi's first book, Freak Kingdom: A Personal History of Hyperactivity, will be published in 2014 by Simon and Schuster. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa. Recently he received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. HIs fiction and nonfiction has appeared in various magazines, including Arts & Letters, Hobart, and Wag's Revue. He also teaches nonfiction at the University of Maryland, College Park.
The Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award honors both a high school senior who excels in creative writing and Fran Abrams, who worked tirelessly throughout her career to support the arts and humanities in Montgomery County. The Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award will be a competitive award open annually to all Montgomery County high school seniors. The award includes a cash prize of $1,000 and an award reception featuring a reading by both the winner and a notable local writer.
This award is given to a high school senior graduating in the class of 2013 who is enrolled in a public or non-public high school in Montgomery County to benefit his/her pursuit of a creative writing related career. The second annual $1,000 Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award for 2013 will be granted following a juried selection process that is based upon the merit of the original work submitted and the applicant’s potential for a creative writing related career, not financial need.
An applicant must meet all of the following criteria:
Applications for the 2013 Award are no longer being accepted. Please check back next year for information about the 2014 application process. Below are the 2013 guidelines and application materials for your reference:
AHCMC staff will provide assistance to those applying for the Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award. Applicants are encouraged to contact AHCMC with any questions they may have. Assistance is available via email, phone or in-person by contacting Robert Hanson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-565-3805.
The award reception featured a reading by local author, Susan Coll. Susan Coll is the author of the novels Beach Week, Acceptance, Rockville Pike, and karlmarx.com. She has worked as a travel and feature writer, and has also written a few op-eds and book reviews, published in such places as The Asian Wall Street Journal, the International Herald Tribune, the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Washington Post, and NPR.org. “Fire Safety Week,“ a short story set in New Delhi, was broadcast on the BBC World Service. She once wrote an essay about overscheduled kids and parents in the Washington Post. She is the Editorial and Programming Director at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC. Find her online at susancoll.com.
This award is given to a high school senior graduating in the class of 2012 who is enrolled in a public or non-public high school in Montgomery County to benefit his/her pursuit of a creative writing related career. The $1,000 Fran Abrams Award for 2012 will be granted following a juried selection process that is based upon artistic merit of the original work submitted and the applicant’s potential for a career related to creative writing, not financial need.
The Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award was established in July 2010 to celebrate Abrams' contributions to Montgomery County's cultural community. Former AHCMC Grants Director and Interim Public Art Trust Director, Abrams announced her retirement from AHCMC effective July 2010. During her nearly 10 years at AHCMC, Abrams oversaw the creation of Montgomery County’s first Cultural Plan, AHCMC’s 2007 Strategic Plan and served as the agency’s Interim Director. Abrams retired after 41 years of service to Montgomery County, including 10 years with the County Government, more than 20 years in non-profit organizations focused on early childhood education, arts and the environment.
AHCMC CEO Suzan Jenkins notes, "Fran's stalwart creativity and vision are a testament to the leadership and dedication she brought to the Arts and Humanities Council. We are proud to continue her legacy for years to come by inspiring students with the Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award."
Donations for the Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award are being accepted via our secure online donation form or by mail at AHCMC, Attn: Fran Abrams Award, 801 Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring, MD 20910.