COLCHESTER - (Marketwire) - Heather Anne Caulfield of Hinesburg, Vermont, is the winner of the 2011 Ralph Nading Hill, Jr. literary prize awarded annually by Green Mountain Power and Vermont Life magazine.
Ms. Caulfield's winning story, titled "Fetching Lambs," describes a teenager on a Vermont family farm leading the sheep into the shed for the night. As she walks in the frosty darkness, her path illuminated by her flashlight, starlight, moonlight and the glow through the window of the distant farmhouse, she thinks about the family's life on the farm through the seasons.
Mary Hegarty Nowlan, editor of Vermont Life, commented that the judges were taken by the strong sense of place that came through in Ms. Caulfield's writing. "We were impressed with her ability to perfectly capture a scene and evoke a feeling that is familiar to anyone who has spent some time on a farm in Vermont. Her unadorned, precise prose made her story an absolute pleasure to read."
Ms. Caulfield, 29, grew up in Putney and Dummerston, and worked at her family's farm stand after school. She graduated from UVM's Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources, and the SIT Graduate Institute. She has taught English as a Second Language in Mongolia. Caulfield is currently the administrative coordinator at VHB in North Ferrisburgh, an engineering and environmental consulting firm.
Caulfield said: "I began writing fiction in my early teens, but poetry became my first love by the time I left for college. I've written about the ordinary moments such as neighbors, car trouble and gulls in a field, as well as life's deepest moments, such as the death of my father and the sale of our family farm." Caulfield describes her winning story as "creative non-fiction. I was trying to recapture a memory from my early teens and I found myself reimagining certain details I couldn't recall. Although I set the story in early winter, the actual event most likely occurred in during spring lambing."
Ms. Caulfield will receive a $1,500 prize for the short story. The award is named for the late Ralph Nading Hill, Jr., a Vermont historian and writer and long-time member of Green Mountain Power's Board of Directors. It is considered by Vermont writers to be one of the state's premier literary prizes.
The selection was made by an independent panel of judges: Mary Hegarty Nowlan, editor of Vermont Life; Tom Slayton, past editor of Vermont Life; Tony Marro, retired executive editor of Newsday; Alison Freeland, a 1994 winner of the Ralph Nading Hill, Jr., award; Brian Vachon, retired vice president of communications at National Life of Vermont and a former Vermont Life editor; and Steve Terry, retired Green Mountain Power senior executive.
"Fetching Lambs" is available on the Vermont Life website, www.vermontlife.com, and will also be included in Vermont Life's September newsletter.
The deadline for this year's Ralph Nading Hill, Jr. Literary Prize is November 15, 2011. The contest, now in its 22nd year, is open to all Vermont residents, including seasonal residents and students enrolled in Vermont colleges. Entrants may be amateur or professional writers. Submission may include essays, short stories and poetry that focus on "Vermont -- Its People, the Place, Its History or Its Values." Entries must be unpublished and less than 1,500 words long. Employees of Vermont Life or Green Mountain Power and previous winners are ineligible. Send entries to the Corporate Relations Department of Green Mountain Power, 163 Acorn Lane, Colchester, VT 05446.