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Award honors alumna, recognizes undergraduate writing

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August 22, 2013

Margaret Harvin WilsonMargaret Harvin WilsonGranted annually to a Georgia College undergraduate student, The Margaret Harvin Wilson Writing Award offers a cash prize, a certificate of achievement and recognition at a public ceremony as a celebration of excellence in writing.

The first place winner will receive $1,000. Other cash prizes will also be awarded.

Established in memory of Margaret Harvin Wilson, ’34, who was born Nov. 11, 1913, in Chattanooga, Tenn., this year’s award will be given out on what would have been her 100th birthday.

After her parents divorced, her mother remarried and moved to Grovetown, Ga., in 1923. No one in the family had attended college, but Margaret was determined because “high school was not enough.” 

Fortunately, her father provided a small trust ($1,250), and Margaret enrolled in Georgia State College for Women, which is now Georgia College, and finished in three years (English major, French minor). Margaret waited tables in the dining hall in exchange for discounted tuition and lived in a “free dormitory.”

When she was a senior, a teacher encouraged her to enter a short story contest in the English department. Winning first prize in 1933 for “Sympathy Speaks” gave her great confidence for her subsequent career as a teacher.

Margaret 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. 

Her college experience was critical to Margaret’s intellectual growth, development and in stimulating her desire to explore the world beyond her hometown.

This writing award is designed to inspire students to explore new worlds — grounded but imaginative and creative. 

The contest is open to undergraduate students currently enrolled at Georgia College within the following disciplines — arts, humanities, social sciences and physical sciences. It offers a single award for writing excellence in any of these categories: poetry, drama or short story.

Submission requirements are:

  • Short story — typed, double-spaced, maximum 20 pages
  • Drama — one-act play, maximum 20 pages
  • Poems — may submit up to three poems, not to exceed five pages

Submissions will be accepted from Tuesday, Sept. 3, through noon, Monday, Sept. 30. Hand-deliver submission(s) to Margaret Harvin Wilson Writing Award, Department of English and Rhetoric, A&S Suite 3-03. The award will be presented at a public ceremony Monday, Nov. 11 at 10:30 a.m. in Magnolia Ballroom.

For complete guidelines and to access the required submission form (docx).