SPRINGFIELD – Shawna Mayer, a graduate student in the English Department at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has been named recipient of the 2007 Rosie Richmond Scholarship at UIS.
Mayer's selection was based on two samples of original short fiction submitted to the scholarship committee – "A Good Girl" and "Legacy." The first tells the story of young woman coping with emotional and physical trauma who bonds with a neglected child. The second is the internal monolog of a suicidal woman, waiting to lose consciousness after taking an overdose.
Explaining that her stories are usually "dark, straightforward, and realistic," Mayer describes her style as "eclectic. While I have a lot of literary influences, I grew up reading mysteries, true crime, and horror novels for pleasure. I also love nonfiction memoirs, and it all impacts how I write."
Nancy Perkins, who serves as Mayer's adviser in the English Department, noted, "I am delighted that Shawna received this award. She is a very strong writer and I am enjoying working with her to develop her creative voice."
Mayer expects to complete her master's degree in the fall 2009 or spring 2010 semester. Her graduate project will be a novel, although she has not yet determined the story. "I have several ideas floating around," she said. "So far I have only written short stories and poetry, so this is an exciting new challenge for me."
Her previous publications include two stories in the Illinois Times' Short Attention Span fiction contest, a poem in UIS' literary magazine The Alchemist Review, and several articles in the Quincy Herald-Whig. She is presently employed by Lincoln Land Community College and hopes to teach after receiving her degree.
Rosie Richmond, who died in 1994, was a graduate of Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois at Springfield) and later taught creative writing on campus. She was also a co-founder of local women writers' group Brainchild. The scholarship in her name is awarded annually to an English major at UIS.For more information, contact Nancy Perkins at 206-6779 or firstname.lastname@example.org.