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Meet the 2018 Sophie Kerr Finalists!

Date: May 14, 2018
To help get to know the five Sophie Kerr Finalists of 2018, we asked them to answer four questions. Click on the links below each finalist’s answers to read samples from their portfolios!
  1. What was the book from your childhood that has influenced you the most?
  2. Of all the texts you have studied at Washington College, which has had the most powerful impact on you?
  3. Who are your literary or intellectual influences?
  4. What are your plans for after graduation?

Rhea Arora, 2018 Sophie Kerr finalist!Rhea Arora

The book from my childhood that influenced me the most was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.

My literary influences are author Jhumpa Lahiri, poet Nayyirah Waheed, and poet ena ganguly.

I plan to pursue political writing as a career, with a focus on culture and identity. Then, grad school. 

Rhea’s Writing Sample


Caroline Harvey, 2018 Sophie Kerr finalist!Caroline Harvey

When I was in middle school, I was introduced to the book Jurassic Park, which made me realize that I could connect science and writing. 

Prelude to Bruise by Saeed Jones was the first contemporary poetry book I really loved, and it showed me that I could write books of poetry feasibly.

Recently, I’ve been listening a lot to the Poetry Foundation’s VS podcast with Franny Choi and Danez Smith. I would also say I’ve been influenced by a lot of literary theory, particularly queer theory.

No idea! I’m moving in with my best friends and that’s all I know. Later, I plan on pursuing an MFA and a PhD. 

Caroline’s Writing Sample

Brooke Schultz, 2018 Sophie Kerr finalist!Brooke Schultz

Peter Pan, for the magic of it.

I suppose it would be the four texts I read of Sophie Kerr (Blue Envelope, Golden Block, Girl into Woman, and Wife’s Eye View), as I did my thesis on those novels.

I respect the writing of Roxane Gay and Jhumpa Lahiri very much.

I will be working as a journalist at a local paper.

Brooke’s Writing Sample

Mallory Smith, 2018 Sophie Kerr finalist!Mallory Smith

As a child the characters in Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie charmed me. I asked my mother to read it to me every night as I fell asleep.

I included research on Marie Howe’s Magdalene in my thesis. Her use of voice through out the poems is breathtaking.

My literary influences include Louise Glück, Mark Doty, Lucille Clifton, and Maggie Nelson.

After graduation, I will be pursuing an MFA in poetry from the University of Florida.

Mallory’s Writing Sample

Casey Williams, 2018 Sophie Kerr finalist!Casey Williams

The book that influenced my childhood the most would have to be Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Wizard of Earthsea. Her book was not only one of the first fantasy books I had ever read, but one of the first books to show me how beautiful writing could be.

While I’ve read a ton of great poetry and fiction while at Washington College, the most impactful text would have to be Sir Orfeo, a medieval poem from the 14th century. Not only did I research Sir Orfeo for my thesis, but the poem also helped me think about my own creative writing and art.

For poetry, my primary literary influences are Louise Glück and Ross Gay, but for fiction, my primary influences are Italo Calvino and Ursula K. Le Guin. I love how all these writers use nature imagery to discuss very personal and human issues.

I will be attending Emerson College to earn an M.A. in Publishing and Writing. Once I earn my M.A., I would love to design book covers for a living and continue working on my creative writing.

Casey’s Writing Sample

Last modified on May. 15th, 2018 at 4:16pm by Lindsay Lusby.