Hiram College

Junior Nick Sawatsky, is getting the hang of this writing thing. Nick placed first in the Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing & Literature’s 2012 Kroehle Creative Nonfiction Contest, with his story “Our Undulation.”

He won the same title and the same $300 first place prize in last year’s Kroehle Contest with his story “Thank You for Running from the Police.”

“The story comes from an assignment in Professor (Mary) Quade’s creative non-fiction class,” he said. “The assignment was to write about reflection, and I had always wanted to write about my father’s experiences in Vietnam.”

So Nick interviewed his father, and integrated those reflections with his own memories to create “Our Undulation.”

“My father never really talked very much about his experiences,” he said. “So I took this opportunity to get him to do it.”

Second place, and a $200 prize, in this year’s contest went to Brendan Curtin, ’13, for “Spawn,” and junior Grace Baran won third place, and $100,  for her piece, “The Nonexistent Shade.”

Honorable mentions went to “In Text or Flesh” by senior Rachel Petrack, and “Transience” by Emily Packer, ’15.

The wins two years running in the non-fiction contest are not Nick’s only achievement as a writer. He won the Grace J. Chamberlin Prize in creative writing last spring, was one of four students who placed second in the National Echo Student Literary Competition in 2011 and earned honorable mention in the Barbara Thompson Contest for Short Fiction in the spring of 2011.

“Writing is what I want to do,” Nick said. “I’m just grateful for the chances.”

This year’s Kroehle Contest was judged by Donovan Hohn, bestselling author of “Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea,” which was named a top book of 2011 by the New York Times and National Public Radio. Hohn appeared at a convocation on October 18, sponsored by the Lindsay Crane Center, and the Environmental Studies department.

Student winners will be honored at a reading event the evening of April 2.

This contest is made possible by the Ralph and Marion G. Kroehle Foundation.