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Student awarded Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings prize for essay

Apr 2, 2020
by Darien Andreu, associate professor of English

Abby Shidler, a junior, majoring in English and Secondary Education, is one of two students recognized for their winning submissions to the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Undergraduate Writing Award for 2020.

The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society was formed in 1987. Its second annual meeting was held in St. Augustine as would have been its 33rd annual meeting, this year at World Golf Village, if not postposed due to the coronavirus.

For her winning essay written originally for Darien Andreu's Florida Writers class, the Rawlings Society awarded Abby Shidler a check, conference registration, and a one year membership. Had the conference happened, Abby would have presented her paper "Motherhood in the Florida Cracker Culture: An Appreciation of Maternal Aspects in Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’s The Yearling.”

The Society's call for submissions included prizes for $1,000 for graduate students and $500 for undergraduate students. Students were expected to write 1,500 to 3,000 words on a subject related to the works, career, or legacy of Rawlings. 

Rawlings had a number of connections with St. Augustine and the Hotel Ponce de Leon. She married Norton Baskin, a St. Augustine hotelier, in 1941 who then managed the Castle Warden Hotel which is now Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum. Rawlings lived in St. Augustine for 12 years, from 1941-1953.  She visited the Hotel Ponce de Leon on a number of occasions including the evening of January 22, 1941, when the St. Augustine Historical Society hosted Pulitzer Prize Poet Stephen Vincent Benet, a St. Augustine local of Minorcan descent. 

Today, one of Flagler College's most direct connections with Rawlings is Thompson Hall, named for Pierre and Shirley Thompson, the latter a long-time Rawlings Society trustee as well as a generous supporter of Flagler College.

Visit the Society’s website here to view the full list of submission requirements and to read more information about Rawlings.

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