Rising Young Writers
Zoe Patterson, a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Class of 2020 and Rye High School, Class of 2016 received the prestigious Nancy Lynn Schwartz Prize for Fiction. This year’s judge was Chandler Klang Smith, author of “The Sky Is Yours”, which was chosen as one of the best books of 2018 by both the New York Public Library and NPR.
This fall, Patterson will attend graduate school at Trinity College Dublin, working toward a Master’s of Philosophy in Irish Writing.
Wesleyan University has awarded an honorable mention for the prestigious Hamilton Prize for Creativity to Chiara Kaufman, a senior at Hackley School who will join Wesleyan’s Class of 2024.
Kaufman was honored for her submission, two pieces of flash-fiction. The prize comes with a $5,000 stipend to support future creative endeavors.
Wesleyan faculty members reviewed entries, while an all-star Selection Committee of Wesleyan alumni in the arts, chaired by Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 and Thomas Kail ’99, judged finalists based on their originality, artistry, and dynamism.
Kaufman’s first submission, “The Maid”, is a stream-of-consciousness narrative from a distressed woman, a wife and mother contemplating a grim future. Committee member Carter Bays ’97, executive producer and writer of “How I Met Your Mother”, said, “It captured the mature, complicated voice of a character that I can’t imagine a teenager being able to access.”
Her other submission, “The Burials”, tells the story of a family, generation after generation, with a dark, secret history.
Committee member and actress Beanie Feldstein ’15 called Kaufman’s submission “a masterfully original and immensely mature portfolio of writing. The syntax was dynamic and the pace frighteningly energetic, almost anxiety- producing. It made my heartbeat quicken. I was incredibly moved and simply could not believe a senior in high school was the author behind these works. They were thoughtful, rich, emotional and quite existential. The wisdom and dynamism of the writing was beautiful and haunting to behold. A young Faulkner.”
The Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity was established in 2016 in honor of Miranda and Kail’s contributions to liberal education and the arts and named for the pair’s hit Broadway musical, which that year won 11 Tony Awards.