Best Midwestern High School Writing 2013 Winners


Lily Bowman

I am delighted to nominate Lily Bowman for your consideration in the Midwestern High School Writing competition. Lily’s short story, “Red,” features effective imagery, strong characterization, and an excellent sense of pacing, but its most outstanding feature is the imaginative act of exploring the waning moments of Adam’s death. In certain ways, it evokes the hard boiled detective fiction of Raymond Chandler; it also strikes me as a story that has been influenced by the spate of detective shows available to viewers on BBC America. But its most resonant power is found in her willingness to tackle the ageless and universal mystery of human consciousness confronting mortality. With its rhythmic shifts between external and internal landscapes, just and unjust rewards, fleeting regrets and desires, and its effective use of the color red (“He didn’t even like the color”), Lily’s story suggests both maturity and imagination well beyond her years in powerfully evocative sensate and visual terms which respect the eternal mystery until “the red consumed him.”

Scott Friesner

Faculty Fellow and Instructor

Academically Talented Youth Program

The Lee Honors College, Western Michigan University

(269) 387-3230

To be answered by the student

Everyone, at some point or other, has thought about how they will act or think when they will die, even though they will never truly acknowledge the fact that they will die. In this piece, even the strongest and most brutal of hitman eventually comes to his own end, and this is my interpretation of his thoughts as he takes his dying breaths. I believe that our true colors are revealed in the most dire of situations, and what is more dire than beginning to die and knowing that there's nothing you can do to stop it? I used imagery, meter and interesting perspective to incorporate these themes into my piece in order to adress this unanswered and controversial question. I hope that you enjoy the piece as much as I have enjoyed writing it.