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Centenary English Professor George Newtown Wins 1st Place Dallas Morning News Nonfiction Prize for Literary Excellence

Dr. George Newtown, Centenary College of Louisiana

SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary College English Professor George Newtown is the winner of The Dallas Morning News 2006 First Prize Nonfiction Award for Literary Excellence and $3,000 for his essay-memoir "Voir Dire."

Dr. Newtown, a resident of Benton, La., received the award during the second annual Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Writers Conference of the Southwest, presented by the University of North Texas Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism. The conference was held in July at the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center in Grapevine, Texas.

Newtown's essay, which gives a blow-by-blow journal-account of his surgery, chemo and hormones after a prostate cancer diagnosis in 2003, was chosen from 70 submissions to the workshop that preceded the conference.

"I was thrilled, and I'm really encouraged to find out that people want to read my story," Newtown said, and he is encouraged now about locating an agent and publisher for his volume of eight essay-memoirs, including "Voir Dire" and "Body Language," Newtown's essay recently published in The Southern Review. That volume grew out of his sabbatical in the spring of 2001.

Newtown is the Willie Cavett and Paul Marvin Brown, Jr. Professor of English at Centenary College of Louisiana, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1990. He has a B.A. degree from the University of Arkansas (1969) and a M.Phil. (1972) and Ph.D. (1979), both from Yale University.

Three other writers also received awards during the conference. They are:

  • Michael J. Mooney, a UNT Mayborn Scholar and a Bedford resident, who earned the second place Hearst Corp. Award and $2,000 for a piece titled "Sweet Dreams and Hand Sanitizer."
  • Dorie Bargmann, an Austin resident, who received the third place Ricco Family Partners Award and $1,000 for "After the Ceasefire."
  • Craig Hanley, a Dallas freelance writer, who won a provisional publishing contract with the University of North Texas Press for his book manuscript, a true-life love story of a young married couple who survived the horrors of the Holocaust.

Founded in 1999, the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism at UNT was created through a gift from the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn Foundation Advise and Consult Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas, Inc. Through this gift, the Mayborn Institute is able to offer $200,000 in scholarships every year. The institute is named for longtime newspaper publisher and civic leader Frank W. Mayborn, who owned the Temple Daily Telegram, Killeen Daily Herald and KCEN-TV, Temple’s NBC affiliate, before his death in 1987.

This year's judges were:

Articles and essay entries — George Getschow, writer-in-residence of the Mayborn Conference; Bill Marvel, writer for The Dallas Morning News; Dianne Solis, writer for The Dallas Morning News; Beatriz Terrazas, writer for The Dallas Morning News; S.C. Gwynee, executive editor of Texas Monthly; Skip Hollandsworth, executive editor of Texas Monthly; Michael Merschel, Sunday Life editor for The Dallas Morning News; and Thomas Huang, features editor for The Dallas Morning News.

Manuscript entries — Kurt Eichenwald, writer for The New York Times; Gregg Jones, writer for The Dallas Morning News; Bryan Woolley, writer for The Dallas Morning News; Ron Chrisman, director of UNT Press; Jim Donovan, president of Jim Donovan Literary; James D. Hornfischer, president of Hornfischer Literary Management, L.P.; and Deanne Stillman, author of Twentynine Palms.

Literary journal selections — Kenn Altine, director of editorial professional development for Hearst Newspapers, and Robert Rivard, executive vice president and editor of the San Antonio Express-News.

For further information, contact the Mayborn Institute at (940) 565-4564.

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