TCMS student wins first William Neal creative writing award

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Taylor County Middle School student Andrea Woodcox recently received the first ever William Neal Prize for Creative Promise in Literature award.

The award was founded by author Simon Van Booy to reward a brilliant and talented young person for outstanding creative writing.

The award, blessed by the Taylor County Board of Education, is expected to raise levels of enthusiasm for creative writing in the school and general community, so that each year more and more students will want their work to be considered for the award.

The award is named after Dr. William Neal, who died last year after a long career as an English professor at Campbellsville University.

Neal was a mentor to Van Booy, who came to CU in 1993 with a football scholarship, but discovered a passion for writing.

The William Neal Prize for Creative Promise has been organized by Loretta Schultz, an educator at Taylor County Middle School, with support and help from fellow teachers.

Woodcox was chosen to receive the award based on her creative fiction.

Van Booy, who judged the entries for the award, said, "She used language with fearlessness and originality. She created characters with such skill, that they leapt off the pages of her work and into our laps. Her dialogue fit the characters perfectly, and her storylines were paced well and took the reader on a journey.

"If she continues to write, and incorporates classic and contemporary literary fiction into her reading, then she may make a valuable contribution to the American literary landscape."

Campbellsville Mayor Tony Young and Van Booy presented the award.

Woodcox receives $200.00 from www.orchardstrategies.com, a New York-based public relations and advertising firm; a laptop computer donated by CU; a wide selection of age-appropriate books and other items from HarperCollins Publishers; an engraved silver cup and notebooks.

To coincide with the presentation of The William Neal Prize for Creative Promise in Literature, Van Booy has founded a new organization, Writers for Children, which seeks to help children build confidence in themselves as writers, through the giving of annual writing awards. The organization aims to encourage other schools to adopt a similar annual award for creative writing. For more information, visit www.writersforchildren.com.