Chestertown, MD, March 9, 2005 — Washington College launches its annual Sophie Kerr Weekend literary celebration with a reading by alumna Christine Lincoln, author of Sap Rising and winner of the 2000 Sophie Kerr Prize, Friday, March 18, at 4 p.m. in the College's Norman James Theatre. Following Lincoln's reading, Brady's Leap, a band of musically inspired poets from Youngstown, Ohio, will give a free performance. Both events are open to the public.
Lincoln attended Washington College as a non-traditional student and is distinguished not only for winning the Sophie Kerr Prize, the largest undergraduate literary prize in the nation, but for her critically-acclaimed collection of short stories, Sap Rising, published by Pantheon Books a year after her graduation. Her inspiring story of hardship, perseverance and creative accomplishment appeared everywhere from the pages of the New York Times to the Oprah Winfrey show. Lincoln's debut work, Sap Rising, is a series of connected narratives that take readers inside the hearts and minds of African Americans whose lives unfold against in a fictional rural Maryland community, brought to life with an engaging, natural style and an extraordinary sensitivity and depth of emotion. The New York Times wrote, “Lincoln writes with understated grace and a terrific eye for detail,” while People magazine called the work “Lyrical…shimmering, worldly-wise.”
The literary celebration will continue with a performance by Brady's Leap, a klatch of writers and poets who share their love of language and stories through music. Celtic ballads and original songs, poems spoken and set to music, layered a cappella and instrumentals, from the eighth century to eight o'clock this morning—all of this fills the room and pulls each listener into every tune.
Sponsored by Washington College's Creative Writing Program and Admissions Office, the annual Sophie Kerr Weekend brings young, high school-age writers to campus for three days of creative writing workshops, seminars and readings with some of today's top literary lights. The weekend events also celebrate the legacy of the late Sophie Kerr, a writer from Denton, Md., whose generosity has done so much to enrich Washington College's literary culture. When she died in 1965, Kerr left the bulk of her estate to the College, specifying that one half of the income from her bequest be awarded every year to the senior showing the most “ability and promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavor” and the other half be used to bring visiting writers to campus, to fund scholarships and to help defray the costs of student publications.