Ahrend Torrey, of Baton Rouge, La., was awarded the Etruscan Prize at the Wilkes University graduate creative writing program’s closing banquet held on June 20, 2014.
Torrey, formerly of Lumberton, Miss., won the prize for his poem titled “Trophic Cascade.” This was the first year the Etruscan Prize was awarded for a work of poetry. Prize recipients from prior years were awarded for works of fiction and memoir. Torrey is pursuing his master of arts in creative writing with a focus in poetry at the University.
The Etruscan Prize is awarded each year to a member of the Wilkes graduate creative writing program who submits one page of any genre (prose, script, poetry or play) that sings. This was the fifth consecutive year Etruscan Press awarded a Wilkes graduate creative writing student for his or her writing excellence.
Etruscan Press, an independent not-for-profit press, has been affiliated with Wilkes University and its graduate creative writing program since 2006. The press is housed at Wilkes and the University provides other in-kind support. The press’s founder, Philip Brady, is a member of Wilkes’ creative writing faculty.
Etruscan author Remica Bingham judged the award. Bingham commented on Torrey’s poem, saying, “Whoa! This is an awesome piece of writing; it has complex, compelling phrasing right out of the gate.” Bingham, who resides in Norfolk, Va., currently serves as the director of writing and faculty development at Old Dominion University. Bingham’s collection of poems, What We Ask of Flesh, was published by Etruscan Press in 2013 and has been named a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.