Dalton State Professor Is Faulkner Literary Competition Winner

Thursday, October 24, 2013
Dr. Nancy Mason
Dr. Nancy Mason

Dr. Nancy Mason, assistant professor of Spanish at Dalton State College, has been named a winner in two categories of the William Faulkner Literary Competition. She received first place honors in the One-Act Play category for her work “Meeting at Midnight” and second place in the Adult Short Story division for “After Nighthawks.”

The William Faulkner Literary Competition, created in 1997 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the author’s birth, is a part of the Tallahatchie RiverFest, an annual event that takes place in Faulkner’s hometown of New Albany, Miss. Dedicated to celebrating the rich literary history of New Albany, the RiverFest, a two-day festival, begins with a luncheon to announce the winners of the William Faulkner Literary Awards.  

For Dr. Mason, winning the awards was doubly thrilling, as she has roots near New Albany. “I was excited to go back to Mississippi to receive the awards,” says Dr. Mason. “New Albany is the birthplace of William Faulkner, and I graduated from high school in Pontotoc, which is nearby.”

Dr. Mason is the author of “Muscadine Wine,” a three-act Southern drama which had its premiere last fall at Dalton State. “Not only does Dr. Mason write, publish, and present short stories and plays, but she also encourages students in her Spanish classes to write as well,” says Dr. Mary Nielsen, dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Dalton State. “Our school is proud of Dr. Mason and her accomplishments.”

“Meeting at Midnight,” Dr. Mason’s winning work, is a prequel to “Muscadine Wine.” The one-act play introduces the story of the Dowis and Montgomery families, details how their feuding came to be, and follows the love triangles surrounding the two families. This time, however, in a plot twist, the characters get involved with Colombian drug dealers.  

Her short story, “After Nighthawks,” was inspired by the famous painting “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper. “It’s the story of a lonely and troubled Vietnam veteran who seeks companionship at the Aragon Ballroom, a famous dance hall in Chicago,” says Dr. Mason. “It focuses on the changing times from the music and customs of the 1940s and '50s to the chaotic era and social changes that took place in the '60s.”

The literary competition receives entries from all over the world, and more than $4,000 is given away each year in prizes. Dr. Mason received a cash prize of $600 for her play and $300 for her short story. “This was the first time I've been paid for any of my fiction, and I hope it won't be my last,” she quips. 

In addition to her prizes, Dr. Mason received acclaim and support from the attendants of the RiverFest, as well. “About 170 people came out for the awards luncheon,” she says. “It was inspiring to have so much support for all the writers, and it's an incentive to do more. It's very humbling to have the characters reach out and touch the emotions of the readers.”


Cleveland State Among The First To Add Mandatory Freshmen Success Course

Cleveland State Community College is among the first schools in the state to add a mandatory freshman success class. The FYS class, or First-Year Seminar, was  implemented this fall in time to support Tennessee Promise students.  Officials said the class enhances success in college by assisting students in obtaining life skills necessary to their educational, career ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Student Awarded Microgrant To Create Local Library

Joe Julian, a student at Baylor School, is taking a stand for education—and providing books to those who need them. The 17-year-old is renovating a local community center to give students a welcoming space to read and learn in.   Joe recently applied for—and won—a microgrant from Karma for Cara (K4C), a nonprofit that promotes service and youth engagement in the community. ... (click for more)

With Census Rising, Erlanger Scrambling To Find Hospital Beds

With the census climbing at Erlanger Health System, hospital officials are scrambling to find available hospital beds. Rob Brooks, chief operating officer, said 12 rooms were opened up at Erlanger North in Red Bank. He said some of those are utilized for main campus patients who may actually be ready to go home but still have a Medicare-required three-day stay. He said the freed-up ... (click for more)

Brent Pickard Was Man Shot And Killed By Deputies; 4 From Sheriff's Office On Administrative Leave During City Investigation

Brent Pickard, 46, was the man who was shot and killed by county deputies on Wednesday night after a chase ended on Highway 153.. Four Hamilton County deputies were placed on leave, pending the investigation. At Pine Mar, Pickard crashed and shots were fired resulting in his death.  District Attorney General Neal Pinkston has asked Chattanooga Police to investigate ... (click for more)

Vote To Save Graduate Medical Education Funding

As a resident physician at UT College of Medicine Chattanooga, I know first-hand the impact Medicare financing for Graduate Medical Education has on physician education and access to care for patients in our community and communities all over the country.  GME funding provides medical school graduates the opportunity to complete the required years of clinical residency training ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Quaker Oats & Stuff

Some genius in the Quaker Oats marketing department came up with a novel idea last summer with the theme: “What if you had the chance to do something you have always wanted to do … but you had to start today?” Somehow Michael Hope and his family – that includes three children – got to be interviewed and, when his 10-year-old daughter Lauren was asked, she said she always wanted ... (click for more)