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Fifth Annual Winesett Awards Celebrated

Book enthusiasts from across campus gathered together on Tuesday, Nov. 19, to celebrate the winners of Radford University's fifth Annual Winesett Book Collecting Contest and the first-ever "Creative Collection of Spineless Volumes" exhibit.

The Winesett Book Collecting contest is sponsored by McConnell Library as a way to celebrate reading on the RU campus and recognize the special relationship many students have with their books.

First-prize winner Ashley Marlow received $600 and a $100 gift certificate to Bookworm & Silverfish Booksellers for her entry "Tolkien and Back Again: A Book Collector's Tale." Marlowe's collection and essay will be entered into the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, which carries a top prize of $2,500.

Second prize went to Kelsey Nielsen for "Magic Amidst the Mundane:  Urban Fantasy Featuring Fairies and the Folklore Behind It All" and the third prize was awarded to Caitlyn Parker for "Remember the Ladies: Reclaiming My History Through Books."  Honorable Mentions went to Sarah Lyall and Kathleen Sickman.

Marlowe's winning essay detailed the growth of her collection of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, most famously the author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. In addition to these works, Tolkien left behind copious notes, sketches and half-finished works set in Middle-Earth. Marlowe's desire to collect everything Tolkien stems for her desire to see Middle-Earth as the author did.

Winesett Awards winners

The Winners of the Fifth Annual Winesett Book Colleting Contest: Sarah Lyall (Honorable Mention); Caitlyn Parker (Third Place); Ashley Marlowe (First Place); Kelsey Nielsen (Second Place) and Kathleen Sickman (Honorable Mention)

Speaking at the event on the third floor of McConnell Library was RU Professor of English Jolanta Wawrzycka, who shared her personal story about her book collection.  Originally from Poland, Wawrzycka started collecting books as a young child. When she came to America to pursue her doctorate degree, she had to leave her collection behind.

"Going back home in the 90s for the first time, looking at those books, it was like a mirror to the past. It's like I'm looking back on myself."

Today, her book collection consists of a range of different genres including, among other things, reference books, medieval tomes, the classics, Nobel Prize literature and a special selection of books by and about James Joyce, the author who is her main scholarly interest.

Winesett entrants submitted a 1,000- to 1,500-word essay describing the creation and growth of the collection, an annotated bibliography of 20 books in the collection and a list of 10 books the contestant would like to add.

The entries were judged by a panel of faculty members who made their decisions based on the creativity and dedication shown in the collection, the quality of the contestant's essay and the personal connection to the collection.

Radford University held the first Winesett Book Collecting Contest in 2009 with funds from the Hazel Grove Winesett Endowment, the largest gift ever given to McConnell Library.

Prize money was provided by the Winesett Endowment and Lorne Bair Rare Books and gift certificates were provided by Bookworm & Silverfish bookseller.

This year's award ceremony coincided with "A Creative Collection of Spineless Volumes" exhibit.  These  unique "book" sculptures were made by students of Associate Professor of Art History Carlee Bradbury's History of Books class.

Dr. Bradbury challenged her students to create new book forms, without a spine, using the pages of books.  Her class accepted this project whole-heartedly and created new, unique ways to show the books that had touched them. Some examples include a stump and chunks of wood with "The Giving Tree" burned onto them, pages of "Harry Potter" glued together to form a wand creating magic and a tree with ultraviolet text.

These projects will be on display in the Reading Room for the rest of the semester.

Nov 20, 2013