bell hooks Memorial Writing Contest winners celebrated

Twenty people who wrote on the theme of "change" submitted stories and poems in the contest.

The Christian County Literacy Council announced the winners of the bell hooks Memorial Writing Contest during a celebration Thursday night at the Alhambra Theatre. 

The awards were presented by Gwenda Motley, the sister of Hopkinsville native Gloria Jean Watkins, whose pen name was bell hooks. The writing contest winners were:


Poetry

Ages 5 to 8
First place: Madison Bailey, Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary
Second place: Mariah Grace Gbemudu, Indian Hills Elementary

Ages 9 to 12
First place: Jack Cavanah, University Heights Academy
Second place: Avery Pendleton, University Heights Academy 

Ages 13 to 17
First place: Evelyn Cotthoff, University Heights Academy
Second place: Samuel Cotthoff, University Heights Academy
Honorable mention: Madison Campbell, Christian County Middle School

Adult
First place: Emma Sunderhaus
Second place: Taylor Middlebrooke


Short story

Ages 9 to 12
First place: Honey Blount, Sinking Fork Elementary,


Essay

Ages 9 to 12
First place: Mia Gbemudu, Indian Hills Elementary

Ages 13 to 17
First place: DeKerrieon Whitlock, Hopkinsville High School

Adult
First place: Cassie Ipock


The theme of the writing contest was “change.” All of the participants are receiving a booklet with the 20 poems, short stories and essays that were submitted for consideration.

Francene Gilmer, the literacy council’s executive director, previously told Hoptown Chronicle that the organization hopes to make the writing contest an annual event. 

hooks was born in Hopkinsville in 1952 and attended segregated schools for Black students in Christian County during most of her childhood. She graduated from Hopkinsville High School in 1970, a few years after local schools were integrated. 

She wrote more than 30 books on topics ranging from feminism and Black culture to love, regionalism, racism and politics. She also wrote several children’s books. 

Several years after she returned to Kentucky to teach at Berea College, hooks was named to the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame in 2018. 

bell hooks Memorial Writing Contest winners celebrated

Jennifer P. Brown | Hoptown Chronicle

Jennifer P. Brown is co-founder, publisher and editor of Hoptown Chronicle. You can reach her at editor@hoptownchronicle.org. She spent 30 years as a reporter and editor at the Kentucky New Era. She is a co-chair of the national advisory board to the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, governing board president for the Kentucky Historical Society, and co-founder of the Kentucky Open Government Coalition.