It felt slightly more normal on July 12 as the seven graduates of the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing program were honored at their commencement ceremony. Friends and family were able to be in-person to celebrate their achievements while others unable to attend could still view the ceremony on Reinhardt’s Facebook page through a live stream.
Reinhardt’s low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program offers classes in poetry, fiction, creative/nonfiction/memoir and scriptwriting for film, TV, and stage.
President Mark A. Roberts, Ph.D. welcomed the graduates and honored those who supported them through this important journey. Asking the graduates to stand to receive the applause of those in the audience and then, asking the graduates to turn and face their loved ones to applaud them in thanks. You could feel the pride in the room.
The ceremony began with the presentation of awards. The Robert Driscoll Award and the Faculty Choice Award in Excellence. The Robert Driscoll Award is presented in three writing categories: Service in Nature, Special Interest Writing and Excellence in Writing.
Winners of the Robert Driscoll Awards:
- Service in Nature: Matthew Bearden
- Special Interest Writing: Angela Drury
- Excellence in Writing: Jonathon Sokol
The Faculty Choice Award is presented to graduating students for their individual contributions and to those adhering to the highest level of creative writing in their class.
Winners of the Faculty Choice Awards:
- First place: Cassie Langford
- Second place: Kaylee Rinesmith
Keynote speaker and Reinhardt MFA faculty member Anjali Enjeti read from her debut novel, “The Parted Earth,”and congratulated the graduates on their achievement.
“I want to congratulate the Class of 2021 on successfully completing this program. You are now MFA graduates and if you weren’t already - you are now also professional writers and colleagues with everyone you see here on this stage,” praised Enjeti. “If I had one piece of advice for you is to never forget you are a writer…your value as a writer does not derive from bylines, book contracts or awards. It derives from your writing. Period. I wish you a joyous and fulfilling writing career.”
Congratulations to the Etowah Valley MFA in Creative Writing Class of 2021!
- Matthew Cody Bearden of Atlanta, Georgia - Poetry
- “The Poetic Technique and Design of Jericho Brown”
- “Blue Calculus”
- Shalonda V. Cash of Atlanta, Georgia - Speculative Fiction
- “Today We Have a New Story: The Characterization of Black Women in Speculative Fiction”
- “My Calling: It All Started With a Book”
- Angela Moss Drury of Canton, Georgia - Poetry
- “Archetypes in Eliot's Poetry, Created through Image, Allusion, and Structure”
- “Backyard Galaxies”
- Cassie Leighann Langford of Cleveland, Tennessee - Fiction
- “Sacramental Language and Incarnational Language in Marilynne Robinson's Gilead Novels”
- “It's Over and Nobody Wins”
- Opal Theresa Mason of Kennesaw, Georgia - Fiction
- “The Body and Her Stories: Examining Characterization and Metaphor in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Protagonists”
- “COVID! In the Classroom”
- Kaylee Brooke Rinesmith of Johns Creek, Georgia - Young Adult Literature
- “Staying Gold and Slaying Dragons: The Hero's Journey in S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders; That Was Then, This Is Now; and Tex”
- “Free Wine”
- Jonathon Edward Sokol of Hartwell, Georgia - Fiction
- “From Bad to Worse: A Study of Pressure Points and Plot Structures of Select Novels of Ernest Hemingway”
- “Not for Human Consumption: A Collection of Stories”