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Senior art, English major wins writing competition

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November 16, 2011

There is something growing inside my sister,

grey with shimmering edges like concrete poured

on a small sun.

She lies for days

under piles of sweaty clothes and old papers

eating only crumbs of what our mother brings—full dishes

left untouched—the grey

grabbing from behind her stomach like a star

collapsing on itself.

She cannot move as far as her bedroom door before

she is tired again. Our mother

cannot stop moving, she rearranges the whole house, afraid

that by not caring for something

 she is allowing it

to decay. She brings more dishes

and takes old ones away.


Georgia College senior Peggy Des Jardines’ poem “Moratorium” won the second annual Margaret Harvin Wilson Writing Award.

"I’m relieved,” said the art and English major of Danielsville, Ga. “I was nervous for so long, but the entire process was a great experience to submit and share my work.”Interim President Stas Preczewski presents writing award winner Peggy Des Jardines with a certificate and $1,000 cash prize. Dr. Elaine Whitaker, chair of the Department of English and Rhetoric, helps coordinate the Margaret Harvin Wilson Writing Award.Interim President Stas Preczewski presents writing award winner Peggy Des Jardines with a certificate and $1,000 cash prize. Dr. Elaine Whitaker, chair of the Department of English and Rhetoric, helps coordinate the Margaret Harvin Wilson Writing Award.

Interim President Dr. Stas Preczewski presented Des Jardines a $1,000 cash prize and certificate of achievement in the Pat Peterson Museum Education Room on Nov. 11 — the 98th anniversary of Wilson’s birthday.

“This award gives our students a venue to improve their writing skills, w hich is critical as they enter the professional world,” said Preczewski. “These finalists’ works were intense and showed the talent range of our creative students.”

Dr. Mary Sue Wilson Coleman, president of the University of Michigan, and her husband, Dr. Kenneth Coleman, established an endowment to provide the annual award with a donation to the university in memory of her mother, Margaret Harvin Wilson, ’34.

Margaret Harvin Wilson graduated from then Georgia State College for Women (GSCW). She was the first in her family to attend college.

With a small trust her father provided, she enrolled into GSCW, waiting tables in the dining hall in exchange for discounted tuition and living in a “free dormitory.”

She completed her English degree with a minor in French in three years. During her senior year, one of Wilson’s teachers encouraged her to enter a writing contest sponsored by the English department. Winning first prize in 1933 for her short story “Sympathy Speaks” gave Wilson confidence for a subsequent career as a teacher.

Margaret Harvin married Leland Wilson in 1938 and enjoyed a wonderful and interesting life with him in academe. Their three daughters, inspired by the importance of education in their parents’ lives, pursued careers in medicine, law and higher education. 

GSCW was critical in Wilson’s intellectual growth and development and in stimulating her desire to explore the world beyond her hometown.

The Margaret Harvin Wilson Writing Award is designed to inspire students to explore new worlds — grounded but imaginative and creative. 

Georgia College MFA students screened the entries, selecting four finalists including Des Jardines:

• Kerry Leamon, “Pretty Brown Tributaries;”

• Rylee Edgar, “Saved;” and

• Brittney Jones, “Look Through the Trumpet, Wire Me A Story.”

The award winner selection committee included Dr. Martin Lammon, Dr. Karen McElmurray, Professor David Muschell, Dean Kenneth Procter and Distinguished Poet Alice Friman.

Des Jardines plans to teach English as a career.        

“This competition has taught me to submit my work no matter what,” Des Jardines said. “This writing award and my four years at Georgia College as an English major with a concentration in creative writing have built my confidence as a writer. I plan to write forever.”

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ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, combines the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education. Its four colleges – arts and sciences, business, education and health sciences – provide 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, with hands-on involvement with faculty research, community service, study abroad and myriad internships.

Founded in 1889, Georgia College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation with Corinthian columns fronting red brick buildings and wide open green spaces. Georgia College also offers graduate education at the historic Jefferson building in downtown Macon, at Robins Air Force Base and online.

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