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CAE writer pens award-winning short
The self-proclaimed “good girl gone rebel” has turned her memories of
high school into an award-winning short story.
Dr. Lisa Kerr reads
her story during Piccolo Spoleto.
Lisa Kerr, Ph.D., an instructor at MUSC’s Writing Center and Center for
Academic Excellence (CAE), was named the winner of the 2008 Piccolo
Spoleto Fiction Open sponsored by the City of Charleston Office of
Cultural Affairs. Kerr won for her short story, “Bird’s-Eye View,” a
piece about high school, teen relationships and coming of age.
Kerr’s piece was selected best of four other winning stories out of
more than 150 statewide entries in this year’s competition. The other
2008 winners included Wilma Reitz, Greenville; Debra Daniel, Columbia;
Audra Brown, Summerville and Charlie Geer, Charleston.
Kerr received an $800 Total Design Freedom publishing package to
BookSurge, a print-on-demand publishing group, which she can use to
publish this and other stories.
On May 31, Kerr performed a reading of excerpts from her winning story
as part of a Piccolo Spoleto Fiction Open Reading held at Blue Bicycle
Books in downtown Charleston. Event sponsors included Blue Bicycle
Books, Dark Sky Magazine and Iodine Literary projects.
“This has been a wonderful surprise,” said Kerr, a writer and former
English teacher. Kerr received her doctorate in American Literature
from the University of South Carolina. She first learned about the
competition on a poster she saw at Blue Bicycle Books. “Anytime I can
write something that I’m interested in, I go for it,” she said.
Recently, she helped coordinate the Healthcare and the Humanities
course elective offered through CAE. The 12-week program uses
literature, theater, music and art to study storytelling as part of
health care. The course explores the value of medical narratives as a
way for health care students to share and communicate their health care
An avid reader and writer, Kerr already is decorated with writing
awards. She won her first award at age 17 and first place, which earned
her $6,000 and a cover story for Guidepost Young Writers’ Scholarship.
Kerr’s recent awards include the 2007 Zelda and Paul Gitlin Literary
Prize from the Thomas Wolfe Society; 2007 finalist in the SC Poetry
Initiative’s Chapbook Contest; 2006 winner of the SC Fiction Project
sponsored by the Post and Courier; 2004 finalist, SC Poetry
Initiative’s Single Poem Contest; 2002 first place winner, Thomas Wolfe
Student Essay Contest; 1996 fellow, Ramsaur Fellowship for Writing
Kerr arrived at her story’s premise by focusing on the competition’s
theme on endings. She focused on her idea about adolescence and high
school, reflecting on her own growth and transitions during that period
“Everything is inspired by something that one sees or hears,” Kerr
said. Describing herself as a “good girl gone rebel” who attended
Bishop England High School in the 1980s, she said, “High school was
such an important time for me. There was so much transition. It was
both an intimidating and exciting time because a lot of us craved
interactions with new, different people.”
Kerr lists F. Scott Fitgerald, Thomas Wolfe and Tom Perrotta as her
literary heroes, and she hopes to channel her interest of high school
life and transition to a collection of young adult short stories. And
like all writers, she’s working on different projects, including her
goal to write and publish her first novel.
“I’ve had wonderful success as a writer and am happy at what I do,”
Kerr said “Everything I publish I love and am excited to have worked
on. I want to encourage others to go for it and keep putting their
stories and writings out there for others to read and enjoy,” Kerr
Friday, June 27, 2008
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