06 March 2018
COLCHESTER, Vt. –Frederic Martin is the winner of the 2018 Vermont Writers’ Prize. His short story “Maybe Lake Carmi,” is an inspiring story about how Vermonters react when someone needs help. The Vermont Writers’ Prize is awarded annually by Green Mountain Power and Vermont Magazine.
“Maybe Lake Carmi” creates a scene that many Vermonters have experienced – a car sliding off the road and no cell service to call for help. It becomes clear during the story that the ideas and expectations of the out-of-staters are somewhat different than how the native Vermonter views the situation:
“He looked down the road at the oncoming treeline. Ahead was a car stopped on the shoulder. There was something odd about the posture of the car. It was tilted. There were two women standing next to it. One of them was staring intently at a phone. The other turned to look at the oncoming truck. He slowed down, maneuvered the truck to the side of the road, and came to a gentle stop a few yards behind them. As he set the brake and killed the motor, his practiced eye took in the situation.”
“This story is pure Vermont – it could have happened on almost any road in Vermont – but it is also relevant for those who do not live in Vermont,” said Phil Jordan, editor of Vermont Magazine. “This story will resonate with Vermonters as well as those who live out of state and may be puzzled by how we do things.”
Martin lives in Richmond, Vermont. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics at Colby College where he also studied literature, creative writing, music, and studio art. He is currently the chairman of the Richmond Land Trust and works for LORD Sensing Systems in Williston. He will receive a $1,500 prize for the short story.
Real experiences inspired Martin to write the story. “Being the grandson of farmers, using what is at hand to get out of a jam is kind of second nature. Fence rails have come in handy from time-to-time,” he said. “And anyone who has driven the road to the Charlotte ferry will recognize a particular element of the story.”
The Prize was created to honor the literary legacy of the late Ralph Nading Hill, Jr., a Vermont historian and writer and long-time member of Green Mountain Power’s Board of Directors. It is considered by Vermont writers to be one of the state’s premier literary prizes. Previous winners include amateurs as well as seasoned writers.
The selection was made by an independent panel of judges: Phil Jordan, editor of Vermont Magazine; Tony Marro, retired executive editor of Newsday; Alison Freeland, a 1994 winner of the Ralph Nading Hill, Jr., award; Suzanne Loring, a writer at The Stern Center for Language and Learning and committee member of the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award; Marisa Crumb, Executive Editor of Vermont Magazine, and Steve Terry, retired Green Mountain Power senior executive.
“Maybe Lake Carmi” is published in the March/April issue of Vermont Magazine, which is on newsstands now, along with submissions of two of the finalists, “If You Have Eaten Grapes” by Jess Clarke of Burlington, and “Generally Speaking,” by Adrian Walther of Burlington.
The deadline for this year’s Vermont Writers’ Prize is November 1, 2018. The contest is open to all Vermont residents. Entrants may be amateur or professional writers. Submissions may include essays, short stories and poetry that focus on “Vermont–Its People, the Place, Its History or Its Values.” Entries must be unpublished and less than 1,500 words long. Individuals may submit only one entry. Employees of Vermont Magazine or Green Mountain Power and previous winners are ineligible.
Entries should be submitted on-line at www.greenmountainpower.com. All submissions will be acknowledged via the website that they have been received.
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