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By Kristen LaRue-Sandler — November 13, 2023

ASU student Ava Ashtiani reads from her award-winning piece / Photo by Ashley Sorensen/ASU


On October 24, 2023, we celebrated the winners of our annual Homecoming Writing Contest with a hybrid awards presentation and a reading from the students’ works. After that, faculty from the Department of English gave “flash talks” about their research in progress. Homecoming Committee member Brian Goodman emceed.

This year’s student awardees are:

  • Katarina Marceta – poetry, for “Love, Curses, and Grief (Collection of Six Poems)”
  • Wilson Arnpriester – scholarly essay, for “Body Horror and Change in David Cronenberg’s ‘Crimes of the Future’”
  • Ava Ashtiani – fiction / creative nonfiction, for “Shirin's Funeral Cookbook”

Katarina Marčeta, an Arizona native, is pursuing a BA in English with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in Slavic studies. She is a staff writer at College Magazine, a student-led online magazine for college students.

Wilson Arnpriester is a senior at ASU, and will graduate in the spring with a bachelor’s degree in Film and Media Studies. Outside of class, he spends his time as a writer/performer for ASU’s historic Farce Side Sketch Comedy Hour, Host of Standup vs the World, and the director of Barren Mind Improv.

Ava Ashtiani is in her third year studying English (creative writing) and is set to graduate in the spring. She is involved in Pi Beta Phi sorority and has served on the Leadership and Nominating Committee. She has also worked as an assistant editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review.

Faculty flash talks (loosely based on the theme of “Scary Research Stories”) took place next. Sharing their research-in-progress at this event were:

  • Melissa Free: “Psychic Invasion”
  • Jacob Greene: “What Is a Conversation?”
  • Kathleen Hicks: “Spooky Success: Conjuring a Business Writing Class with ChatGPT”
  • Jonathan Hope: ”From ‘Flatland,’ to ‘Ravicka’ – Dimensionality in Experimental Writing”
  • Peter Torres: “Linguistic Representation of Pain and Racial Disparities in Chronic Pain Treatment”

The event concluded with lunch for all attendees.

Begun in 2007 at the suggestion of now-Professor Emeritus Randel Helms, the Homecoming Writing Contest recognizes the creative and scholarly writing of undergraduate students within the Department of English at ASU. The Department of English is gratified to continue this tradition of making awards for excellence in student writing.

If you weren’t able to attend the live event, you can watch the recording here:

Image at top: Ava Ashtiani reads from her award-winning piece. Photo by Ashley Sorensen. 

Video by Bruce Matsunaga