Awards Presented at December Ceremony

Three Knox County teens have been selected as the winners of a writing contest inspired by the Knoxville appearance of best-selling young adult author Kerri Maniscalco in September. Kelsey Craighead, Knoxville Catholic High School junior, took first place; Kathryn White, Hardin Valley Academy junior, second place; and Pierce Gentry, Central High School freshman, third place.

The contest was sponsored by Friends of the Knox County Public Library, the Knox County Public Library’s Teen Central, the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature at the University of Tennessee, and Union Ave Books. Maggie Carini, president of the Friends, presented awards of $100, $75, and $50 to the first-, second-, and third-place winners at Lawson McGhee Library on December 20.

Maniscalco, author of Stalking Jack the Ripper and Hunting Prince Dracula, served as judge for the contest. She says that choosing the winning manuscripts was difficult because each competing writer created “a fabulous sense of atmosphere — whether traveling through a dying wood, moving to a new house that’s got a life of its own, voyaging on an unforgiving sea with Blackbeard, crafting a detective story as creeping as any Stephen King novel, or sitting in a prison cell, dreaming up more horrific crimes.”

Maniscalco also expressed appreciation for the mentors of Knoxville’s young writers: “I have no doubt that budding talent is nurtured along by wonderful teachers and librarians. A HUGE thank you to every educator who’s helped foster a love of the arts — it’s truly invaluable.”

The young authors’ winning stories have been published on the Friends’ website.