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Joins Young Writers Annual Dinner Program
June 5 At Litchfield Inn

LITCHFIELD, CT APRIL 27, 2005 -- Poet Jennifer Steele, a Howard University senior, will be a keynote speaker for the 8th annual IMPAC-CSU Young Writers dinner June 5, 2005 at the Litchfield Inn.

   Steele is a native of Middletown, Connecticut and a graduate of Middletown High School.

   In 2002, she was selected as one of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival Fresh Voices for the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival sponsored by the Hillstead Museum in Farmington, Connecticut.  Her work has been published in the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival Fresh Voices, as well as Africans in the Americas: Our Journey Throughout the World by Sabas Whittaker.

   She received a $1,000 county award for the IMPAC-CSU Young Writers in 2001 and 2002.  Recently, she was the Howard University representative for the Mt. Vernon Poetry Festival held by the Department of English at George Washington University.  Jennifer Steele is graduating senior at Howard University, studying under Dr. Tony Medina and E. Ethelbert Miller.  She is pursuing a B.A. in music.

   Steele joins Ravi Shankar, poet-in-residence and assistant professor of English at Central Connecticut State University, on the speaking program.  Shankar is the author of Instrumentality, a collection of poems published by Cherry Grove Collections in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has served as a judge in the competition for several years. Building on the tradition begun by novelist Wally Lamb, Shankar  and Steele will conduct a workshop for young writers prior to the annual dinner.

   He is a founding editor of the online journal of the arts "Drunken Boat" ( Among many awards won by Shankar are the Gulf Coast Poetry Prize and the Bennett Prize for Poetry at Columbia University. His critical work has appeared in Poets &Writers, Time Out New York, The Iowa Review, and The AWP Writer's Chronicle. He reviews poetry for the Contemporary Poetry Review and is currently editing an anthology of South Asian, East Asian, and Middle Eastern poetry.

   More than 3,000 young writers have competed in the program, which has awarded $116,000 since 1998.

   Poets and writers in each of Connecticut's eight counties won win $1,000 prizes during regional ceremonies this month at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Western Connecticut State University in Danbury and Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic.

The 2005 county winners are:

Kevin Rooney, St. Joseph's High School, FAIRFIELD COUNTY.
Charlotte Crowe, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, HARTFORD COUNTY.
Rachel Schapira, Housatonic Regional Valley High School, LITCHFIELD COUNTY.
Carmen Melillo, Valley Regional High School, MIDDLESEX COUNTY.
Sam Cunningham, Edcuational Center for the Arts, NEW HAVEN COUNTY.
Emily Dykes, Montville High School, NEW LONDON COUNTY.
Molly LaFlesh, Rockville High School, TOLLAND COUNTY.
Georgianna Hunt, Woodstock Academy, WINDHAM COUNTY.

Gregory Kovach, Masuk High School, FAIRFIELD COUNTY.
Jessica Roth, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. HARTFORD COUNTY.
Elizabeth Robinson, Nonnewaug High School. LITCHFIELD COUNTY.
Linday Carini, Mercy High School, MIDDLESEX COUNTY.
Christa Morris, Educational Center for the Arts, NEW HAVEN COUNTY.
Emily Ayer, Ledyard High School, NEW LONDON COUNTY.
Gracie Greenbaum, Tolland High School, TOLLAND COUNTY.
Chelsea Love, Arts of the Capital Theater, WINDHAM COUNTY.

. The top poet and writer from that set of winners will receive an additional $1,000 at the annual dinner. Diane Smith, the author, WTIC Morning Show Host and CPTV Producer will be master of ceremonies.

   In addition, workshops for young writers will be held at Central on April 30. This event is sponsored by Connecticut Review, the nationally-renowned literary journal published by the CSU System. Connecticut Review will publish the works of 2004 statewide prose champion Emily Dykes of Montville and 2004 statewide poetry champion Alexandra Regenbogen of Litchfield in the Spring 2005 edition.

   IMPAC, the world's leading productivity firm, also endows the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, which at 100,000 Euros is the world's largest prize for a single work of fiction.

   IMPAC Chairman Jim Irwin and CSU Chancellor Bill Cibes joined to bring the Young Writers Program statewide in 2000.

   The CSU System serves more than 35,000 students, making it the largest public university system in Connecticut. A total of 166 academic programs are offered throughout the system, and more than 5,000 degrees are awarded annually.

   Past speakers for the annual dinner have included CSU Vice Chancellor Estela Lopez, writer and radio talk show host Colin McEnroe, writer and SCSU Professor Audrey Kerr, poets Gray Jacobik, Kate Rushin, Franz Douskey and Richard Blanco, Connecticut Poet Laureates Leo Connellan and Marilyn Nelson, novelist Bruce Clements, French linguist Cheryl Demharter, Special Assistant to the United Nations Secretary General, Natalie Hahn, National Review Managing Editor Priscilla Buckley, ABC Nightline Correspondent Dave Marash, Brian Ross, Chief Investigative Correspondent for ABC News, statewide prose champion Candi Deschamps of Danbury and statewide poetry champions Amy Ma and Adrian Kudler of West Hartford and Emily Madsen of Avon.

   Mark Macomber of Litchfield Bancorp was the first sponsor of the Young Writers Program. Founding sponsors include: David and Ginger Dean of Litchfield County Commercial, Diane Blick of The Business Center, Deann Foehrenbach of the First National Bank of Litchfield, Connecticut Cut Flowers and the Litchfield Inn.

   Sustaining sponsors include Charles Johnson of Medical Education Training Associates, Jeff Lalonde of Torrington Savings Bank, Dr. Joseph Bentivegna, Del Eberhardt of Touchstone Applied Science Services, Connecticut Business & Industry Association, Collins Hardwood Flooring, JCL Pro Tree, Atty. Jack Horak of Reid & Riege, Atty. Richard Meehan, Atty. Stephanie Weaver, Atty. Philip Russell, Atty. Ken Slater, Atty. David Jaffe, La Cupola Ristorante, Aspen Garden Restaurant, Bill Keifer of John Steele Bookshop, Bill McGurk of Rockville Savings Bank, Richard, and June Strada, Tomasso Brothers, Education Connection, Sandy Taylor and Judy Doyle of Curbstone Press, Globe-Pequot Press, Vincent Valvo of Law Tribune Newspapers, Frank Morse of Carter Morse & Company, Bantam Fuel, Casa Bacchus, A Frame Come True, Spino's Men's Wear, Litchfield County Superintendent's Association, The Warner Theater, The Village Restaurant, Dr. Robert Van Wyck, the Hickory Stick Book Shop, Aldrich, Perkins & Co., Michael J. London & Associates, Atty. A. Paul Spinella, Atty. Norm Pattis and the Rainy Faye Bookstore & Gallery.

   Judges for the 2005 competition included Susan Gilmore,  Norm Pattis, Terese Karmel, Christine Palm, Dan Pope, Rand Cooper, Kat Lyons, Jack Daley, Jeff Mock, Pit Pinegar, Jim Scrimgeour, Sandra Ebner, Faith Vicinanza, Franz Douskey, Diane Smith, Colin McEnroe, Vita Muir, Elizabeth Thomas, Cheryl Demharter, Estela Lopez , Kate Rushin, Malo Forde, Tim Grace, Denning Powell and Ravi Shankar.


You are cordially invited to attend the

8TH Annual IMPAC-CSU Young Writers
Statewide Ceremony & Dinner

Sunday, June 5, 2005
The Litchfield Inn and Bistro East

4 p.m. Workshops
5-6:15 p.m. Reception
6:30 p.m. Dinner

Special Guests
Ravi Shankar
Poet in Residence, Central Connecticut State University

Jennifer Steele, Howard University
Two-time County Poetry Champion

Master of Ceremonies
Diane Smith, Author
WTIC Morning Show Host, CPTV Producer

Reception Entertainment
Jen Allen Jazz Combo

$35 per person

Dinner Music by the Litchfield High Jazz Combo

RSVP by May 23, 2005

IMPAC-CSU Young Writers Trust
231 Beach St.
Litchfield, CT 06759

800-814-6931 or 860-567-8492
[email protected]

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