Third Annual Irene Adler Prize Goes to Susan Purr: M.F.A. Candidate Wins $1,000 Scholarship for Women Writers

​​​Susan Purr has won the 2019 Irene Adler Prize for her essay “Spider Woman.” Purr, who will receive $1,000 toward her education, is pursuing her M.F.A. in creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University.

The annual Irene Adler Prize offers a $1,000 scholarship to a woman pursuing a degree in journalism, creative writing or literature at a recognized post-secondary institution in the U.S. or Canada, based on an essay competition.

“This is Year Three of the competition, and the quality of the entries made the judging more challenging than ever,” said prize founder Lucas Aykroyd. “What sets Susan’s essay apart is her poetic fusion of the topics of childhood bullying and life with a vision impairment. She vividly juxtaposes what happened to her years ago with her great determination to achieve her writing goals today.”

Honorable mentions went to Elena Castro (“To Propagation”), who is seeking her B.A. in English with a creative writing concentration at Yale University, and Nicole Nielsen (“Bangkok Blues”), who is pursuing her B.A. in communications studies with an emphasis in journalism at Brigham Young University.

Aykroyd is an award-winning Vancouver writer and public speaker whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Ms. Magazine, National Geographic and The Globe and Mail. In the latest North American Travel Journalists Association Awards, he won a gold medal for his G Adventures story “10 places to mark the anniversary of the first women’s rights convention.”

A member of the Association for Women in Sports Media, he has covered women’s hockey at five Olympics for and contributes to espnW and the Women’s Sports Foundation. Aykroyd holds an M.A. in English literature from the University of Victoria, which gave him the Distinguished Alumni Award.

“We’re in a time of enormous opportunity for women in writing and society at large,” said Aykroyd. “It’s a rewarding feeling to know that the Irene Adler Prize is helping to amplify their voices.”

In 2017, Kiley Bense won the inaugural Irene Adler Prize. This year, she won a fellowship to teach writing at Columbia University School of the Arts in New York. Lynnette Curtis, the 2018 Irene Adler Prize winner, recently earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from Warren Wilson College.

The Irene Adler Prize is named after the heroine of the 1891 Sherlock Holmes detective story “A Scandal in Bohemia” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. 

For more on the Irene Adler Prize and the winning essay, see  ​

The 2020 Irene Adler Prize submission guidelines will be released in January.

Lucas Aykroyd
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Source: Lucas Aykroyd