The 2017 Rex Warner Prize has been awarded to Eleni Spentzouris (Sarah Lawrence Programme, 2016) for her short story, Abused Anonymous, and to Fintan Drummond Calpin (English, 2014) for his poem April 2017: is this what your passport could look like?
Judging the prize were Wadham Fellows Judy Stephenson (History) and Jane Griffiths (English). Commenting on Eleni’s story they said: “The story was innovative, with a strong sustained voice”, adding that the poem by Fintan “created its own unusual formal control”.
Fintan, who has just finished his final exams, is planning to take a year out working and travelling before deciding on his next move. He is interested in digital culture and media and contemporary writing styles. “At 16 I aspired to be a poet – now I’m not so sure, although it would be the dream,” he commented. He admires the work and humour of poetry by Frank O’Hara.
Eleni, who is a Psychology and Anthropology student, has enjoyed writing as a hobby since she was little. Though she has an academic interest in Law and has enjoyed the opportunity to combine Law with her studies - she plans to go to law school in the United States after completing her degree at Sarah Lawrence College - she has fond memories of a fiction writing class she took in her first year as an undergraduate. She says, “this story did not take too long to write initially but I revisited it over and over, changing things here and there."
While recognising the hard work and creativity of all those that entered the competition, the judges warmly congratulated the winners who share first prize, winning £75 each.
This annual competition is made possible by the generosity of Mrs Frances Warner, in memory of her husband Rex Warner, an Honorary Fellow of Wadham College. The Prize is open to Wadham undergraduates, students on the Sarah Lawrence visiting programme, and to graduates at Wadham who have not exceeded the end of the 9th term from commencement of graduate study.