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Delta State’s Division of Languages and Literature announces 2022 “Da” student literary journal winners, celebrates 50 years

Pictured (front row, from left) are Luke Yarbrough, Kelly Foster, Morgan Raper (back row) President William N. LaForge, Dr. Melanie Anderson, Prof. Mike Smith, Prof. Maia Elgin Wegmann and Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Andy Novobilski.

CLEVELAND, Miss.— Delta State University’s Division of Languages and Literature recently celebrated student achievement and 50 years of the student literary journal, “Da” (formerly named “Confidante”) with a reading and awards ceremony for winners of the 2022 Da: A Journal of Delta Arts.

The student contest was held Feb. 17 in the Lucy Somerville Howorth Seminar Room of the Capps Archives and Museum Building.

This year’s winners are:

Formal Essay

First Place: “A Dismembered World” by Kelly Foster of Flowood, Miss. (Junior, English major)

Second Place: “The Lasting Marks of Heritage” by Morgan Raper of Cleveland, Miss. (Junior, English Education major)


First Place: “All Saints Day” by Kelly Foster

Second Place: “Fall from Grace” by Morgan Raper

Honorable Mention: “To Train Her Right” by Hannah Alley of Pearl, Miss. (Senior, English major)

Honorable Mention: “City Blues” by Shamyiah Williams of Memphis, Tenn. (Senior, English major)

Short Stories

First Place: “The Bird” by Kelly Foster

Second Place: “Between the Lines” by Kelly Foster

Creative Non-Fiction

First: “Planting Mums” by Luke Yarbrough (Freshman—History, Fulton, MS)

HM: “Big Bend” by Erika Hajduk (Freshman—Biology, Pre-Medical, San Antonio, TX)

“Placing in a creative writing contest is not an easy accomplishment, and any writer that has the courage to enter one is worth reading,” said Mike Smith, chair of DSU’s Division of Languages and Literature.

“Delta State has a long history of producing and encouraging new writing, and I am delighted to see this tradition continue in such powerful and interesting work. Every writer listed here, and every writer who entered this year’s contest ought to feel proud,” he added.

Winning works have been submitted for consideration in the Southern Literary Festival national contest, and all winners are invited to attend the 2022 conference hosted by Mississippi University for Women in April.

All submissions to “Da” are considered for publication online through “The Delta Statement” student newspaper website. Winning works will be published with other selected works in a print journal to be released in the fall.

Established in 1972 by undergraduate students at Delta State University, “Confidante” was renamed “Da” in 2014 in honor of long-time professor and former chair Dorothy Shawhan’s contributions and leadership in the Division of Languages & Literature.

Students interested in working on the “Da” staff are encouraged to sign up for ENG 220, Student Publications Workshop, where they can gain experience in editing, writing, and producing a literary magazine and online student newspaper.

The “Da” Writing Contest is open to all undergraduates who do not have a bachelor’s degree and are currently enrolled at Delta State. Graduate students work may be submitted for publication but will not be considered for the contest. Entries must not have been published in any publication with the exception of The Delta Statement. Categories for submission include: poetry, fiction, one-act plays, formal essays and informal essays.

Monetary prizes are awarded to the winners in each of these five categories. Visual art submissions are also welcome.

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