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University junior Taylor Tyson to receive fifth Harbuck Scholarship

Taylor Tyson photoWritLing_IconGeorgia Southern University junior Taylor Tyson, of Loganville, Ga., will receive the 2013 Brittany “Ally” Harbuck Scholarship during a reading and reception Thursday, September 12.  Award-winning writer Janisse Ray served as this year’s scholarship judge and will present the award at 7 p.m. on campus in the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Information Technology, Room 1005. In conjunction with the event, Ray will present a reading of her work on Friday, September 13, at 7 p.m. in the same location. Both events are free and open to the public.

Tyson’s winning submission consisted of three pieces: the short story “Sincerely,” the flash-fiction “Reentry, or How to Ensure a Shooting Star,” and the poem “Skeletel/Industrial.” The story and flash-fiction were written in Professor Laura Valeri’s fiction writing class, and the poem was written in Professor Emma Bolden’s creative writing class.

“Taylor Tyson’s work does magnificently what good literature is supposed to do, which is land us someplace we’ve never been and turn us loose as changed people,” Ray said. “I was transformed reading him. Tyson’s prose – raw, gripping, edgy, even experimental – navigates a borderland, with its intricately developed, larger-than-life characters living double lives, shapeshifting between beauty and betrayal. Tyson, with his facile prose and gritty style, proves himself a trustworthy guide as he leads us into and out of dangerous territory. His voice is flawless.”

Tyson will read from his entries during the ceremony, and members of the Harbuck family will participate in the award presentation. The ceremony will also include readings by Harbuck Scholarship finalists James Morton and Jennifer Curington and award nominees Ben Conner, James Devlin, Cady Ennis, Sarah Farris, Beth Martin, Heather Nysewander, Brittany Powell, Yavaria Ryan, Laura Smith, and Amanda White. The event will culminate with a reception.

Tyson is the fifth recipient of the scholarship endowed by David and Debi Harbuck of Savannah to honor their daughter, who died in a traffic accident in April 2005. The Harbuck Scholarship supports sophomore, junior and senior writing majors with at least a 3.0 GPA in their writing courses. To be considered for the scholarship, students must be nominated by faculty in the Department of Writing and Linguistics and must submit 10 to 15 pages of fiction, nonfiction or poetry to the Harbuck Scholarship Committee. The committee narrows the list of applicants to three finalists for judging by an outside author.

Ray – a writer, naturalist and activist – has authored four books of literary nonfiction and a collection of nature poetry. She serves on the faculty of Chatham University’s low-residency MFA program and is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. She holds an MFA from the University of Montana and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Unity College in Maine in 2007. Ray won a Southern Booksellers Award for Poetry in 2011, a Southeastern Booksellers Award for Nonfiction in 1999, an American Book Award in 2000, the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Award for Outstanding Writing in 2000 and a Southern Book Critics’ Circle Award in 2000. Her Ecology of a Cracker Childhood was a New York Times Notable Book and was chosen a Book All Georgians Should Read.

For more information, contact the Department of Writing and Linguistics at 912-478-0739.

The Department of Writing and Linguistics is housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. CLASS, the University’s College of the Creative Mind, prepares students to achieve academic excellence, develop their analytical skills, enhance their creativity, and embrace their responsibilities as citizens of their communities, their nations, and the world.

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