On Wednesday, October 29, JSU’s English Department hosted its 19th annual Writer’s Bowl Competition. Headed by Steven Whitton, Randall Davis, Katelyn Williams and Christy Burns, this year’s Writer’s Bowl was record-breaking in number. 81 teams from area schools competed, totaling almost 500 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors.
Competition was split into two portions: prose and poetry. Each year, the English department develops clever, Halloween themed prompts for students to write about. This year’s prose prompt required students to combine a classic monster with a reality T.V show. Students were given an hour and a half to write as the producer of the show explaining why the monster was eliminated.
Why was the Invisible Man kicked off of America’s Next Top Model? Did Blake and Adam fight to have the Wolfman on their team on The Voice, or was his unbearable howling the only thing the two could agree on? The possibilities were limitless.
In the afternoon session, teams were tasked with writing a sixteen-line poem following the rhyme scheme ABAB where every other line rhymes. Teams also had to include at least five words from a list provided, and their choices included some positively spooky options, from “spiders” and “asylum” to “spectral” and “lurk”.
Each entry from both prose and poetry was then read and scored by two judges on a scale of zero to five, and the scores were averaged together for the team’s total and used to determine the winners.
In the end, Team Veni Vidi Vici from Sacred Heart Catholic School took the top prize for overall highest cumulative score as well as first place in the poetry competition. Handley High School’s team Scheming Demons took first in the prose competition. One question remains, though: did the judges give extra points if they were scared?
The Writer’s Bowl is hosted around this time every year by the English department, and it is now something that many high schools participate as a tradition.
“It’s gotten bigger every year,” said Dr. Whitton. With nearly two decades of competition behind it, the English department only sees continuing growth ahead.
“We see it very much as our contribution to recruitment,” Whitton said on behalf of Davis, Williams, and Burns, “as our way of getting kids on campus and letting them experience it.”