Did somebody say San Francisco?

In Awards, Hearst, IDS on April 1, 2013 at 9:47 pm

And the Hearst awards keep rolling in.

Charles Scudder won first place in profile writing for his story “A queen comes home” and will join Claire Wiseman at the national writing competition in San Francisco this summer.




The forgotten queen steps onto the empty stage.

She looks out across the cavernous hall of the IU Auditorium. It’s bigger than she remembered. She sees the rows of seats where her friends cheered for her. She feels the crown tilting on her head, hears the flashbulbs popping in her face, catching her surprise as she made history. She never expected to win.

The stage is so quiet now. She thinks back to the Ebony fashion tour that followed her coronation, the dinner with Dr. King. She thinks about the slurs people hurled at her, writing letters, calling her at the dorm. The way her own yearbook ignored her reign. The man pointing the gun.

So much pride and so much hate, all beginning under these lights.

It just gets better from there. It’s well worth your time.

More good news: Mary Kenney won 10th for “Light from Darkness,” which she reported while studying in Hyderabad, India.


Metal doors clicked open, and the creaky train spat crowds onto the cement platform. Akshaya tried to catch her breath as people thudded past her, knocking into her hips and shoulders. She panicked.

The teenager had run away from home. Her father was a heavy drinker who beat her, her mother and her siblings. She was tired of it. Carrying a bag filled with clothes and silver anklets to sell, she boarded a train destined for Hyderabad, one of India’s largest cities.

Her excitement withered as she stepped onto the cement platform. The crowds pressed closer. She was scared, and she told herself she belonged at home with her family. She resolved to catch the first train going back and scurried to the information desk near the station’s main entrance. She asked a man behind a thick glass window how to go home, and he told her the next train to her village would leave around 3:30 p.m.

That was five hours away. She turned away from the window, and a handsome, well-dressed young man approached. He spoke Telugu, her first language. Hindi and English are India’s official languages, but most Indians learn languages native to their home state first, then tack on more if they are able to go to school.

The man told her there was no need to wait in the hot, crowded station. He lived nearby, and she could stay with him for a few hours. He promised to bring her back in time for her train. Charmed, she agreed, and they left together in a rickshaw bound for his two-room house. At the time, she was 18 or 19, she isn’t sure.

Once indoors, the man locked Akshaya in a back room. He and his friends raped her.

With this and previous wins, Mary is in the running for a wildcard ticket to San Francisco.

IU remains in the lead of the Intercollegiate Writing Competition by 28 points. We’re followed by Penn State. The last contest of the year, breaking news, is due Tuesday.

– MA


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