MGCCC recognizes competition winners at Creative Writing Ceremony

cover photo of creative writing magazine

“Red Riding Hood” by Alyssa Brantley, an art student at MGCCC’s Jackson County Campus, is the 2014 cover art for MGCCC’s literary magazine “illumination.”

The 2014 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Creative Writing Ceremony was held on April 10 at the Estuarine Education Center on the Jackson County Campus.  The event, sponsored this year by the Jackson County Campus Language Arts Department, recognizes student winners in the annual college-wide creative writing contest.

Keynote speaker at the event was Joe Lee, Mississippi writer and publisher. Lee is editor-in-chief of Dogwood Press, a small but traditional publishing company headquartered in Brandon. He is the author of six mystery/suspense novels, including the critically praised “Oakdale” series that takes place in North Mississippi.  He has published fellow Mississippi authors John M. Floyd, Jim Ritchie, Mike Windham, Barbie Bassett, Valerie Winn and Randy Pierce. He also writes periodically for The Clarion Ledger, Mississippi Legends Magazine, Town & Gown Magazine of Starkville and Portico Magazine of Jackson. He’s a graduate of Mississippi State University.

Winners in the Critical Essay category were Sarah Rhea, “Building Up ‘The Highwayman,’” first place, and Danielle Hunt, “No Scar, No Skin, No Flesh,” second place.

In the Personal Essay category, winners were Jennifer King, “The Dangerous Life of a Squirrel in Autumn,” first place; Jillian Gray-Clark, “Devastated Christmas,” second place; and Tyffani N. Bush, “Putting Fear into the Bold,” and Heidi Adams, “Am I the Milkman’s Kid?,” tied for third place.

In the Short Story category, winners were Bobur Alimov, “When Life is Gray,” first place; Therron Ducharme, “The Orphan,” second place; and Vel Merrithey, “Outwitting the Gendarme,” third place.

Winners in the Fixed Verse Poetry category were Richard Hightower, “For Emily Dickinson,” first place; Haley Skiados, “After Renoir’s Painting ‘La Promenade,’” second place; and Vel Merrithey, “Cinquain for Clown Car,” third place.  In Free Verse poetry, the winners were Richard Hightower, “The Performance,” first place; Vel Merrithey, “Semi-Salty World,” second place; and Rachel Ann Purser, “Dementia,” third place.  In Prose Poetry, winners were Graham Perry, “Pump Number Six,” first place; Haley Skiados, “His Real Name is Franklin, But He’d Never Tell You That,” second place; and Alireza Yazdanshenas, “Gray December,” third place.

Winning literary work is published in “illumination,” MGCCC’s literary magazine, which is available for purchase through Amazon at

Kathy McAdams is an award-winning journalist who has worked at weekly newspapers in Mississippi and the Press-Register in Mobile, Ala. A native of Gulfport, McAdams attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, William Carey University, the University of South Alabama and The University of Southern Mississippi. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and journalism and a master's degree in education and English. She has worked at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College since 2005.