Washington College awards $61K undergraduate literary prize

Timothy Marcin, a would-be journalist who won the nation’s largest literary prize for undergraduate college students Tuesday night, isn’t too worried about the future of the news industry.

“Everybody tells me to be discouraged,” Marcin said after winning the Sophie Kerr Prize. “But it’s something I’m really passionate about and will try to do.”

Marcin, 22, beat out four other finalists to win the $61,192 prize. The Washington College senior will get a check at commencement later this month.

Marcin said he was so surprised at winning the prize that he doesn’t know what he’ll do with the money. “I know all four finalists and how great they were,” he said.

The Wilmington, Del., resident included poems and a first-person account of the Boston Marathon bombing in his 42-page portfolio for the prize. Marcin said he will pursue a master’s degree at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Marcin’s major at Washington College is English, with minors in creative writing and business management.

“I want to write and tell stories,” he said.

The Sophie Kerr Prize is awarded each year to a graduating Washington College senior. It was established by a posthumous gift from Sophie Kerr, a writer who grew up in Denton and built a successful publishing career in New York City. Kerr was managing editor of Woman’s Home Companion magazine and wrote some 23 novels and hundreds of short stories before her death in 1965.

The college is in Chestertown, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

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