The Norton Writer's Prize 2010 Winners

We are delighted to announce the winner of the 2010 Norton Writer’s Prize: Carrie Barker of Kirkwood Community College. The judges noted that her narrative essay, “But Two Negatives Equal a Positive,” is well-paced and detailed, allowing readers “to feel the tension and emotion involved in a life-altering decision.” They also admired the way she moves between thoughts and scenes  “gracefully with a close attention to dialogue and setting.”

Two runners-up stood out among the pool of outstanding entries: Melissa Hicks for her narrative essay, “The High Price of Butter,” and Jeffrey Bartelli for his proposal, “Literary Memetics: Hyper-Canon Formation and the Literary Genome Project."

You can click on the titles below to read the winning essays.


“But Two Negatives Equal a Positive”
Carrie Barker
Kirkwood Community College

After proofreading college textbooks in Dubuque, Iowa, for nearly two decades, Carrie and her family moved to Cedar Rapids, where she spent two more years proofreading phone books—no, really—before enrolling at Kirkwood Community College. At Kirkwood, she discovered creative nonfiction, rediscovered her love of writing, and hopes to get a B.A. in English down the road. Carrie and her husband can’t recall what they enjoy when they’re not chauffeuring their three teenagers or chasing their youngest, but they hope someday to travel the world—or at least the United States. This is Carrie’s first writing award.


“The High Price of Butter”
Melissa Hicks
Lane Community College

Melissa Hicks returned to college at the age of 30 to pursue a degree in Literature. She previously worked in the restaurant industry. Melissa is currently completing her second year of studies at Lane Community College, and plans to transfer to university in the fall. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, with her cat and 5 year old son. Though “The High Price of Butter” is her first published work, she enjoys writing short fiction and hopes to see more of her work in print soon.

“Literary Memetics: Hyper-Canon Formation and the Literary Genome Project”
Jeffrey Bartelli
The University of Montana

Jeff Bartelli is a native of Montana and is currently studying Anthropology and English, Creative Writing at the University of Montana – Missoula, graduating in December 2010. He has also studied in Afghanistan, Germany, Peru, and Australia. Jeff served in the United States Army and is a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan. His intellectual focus is on the democratization of information and the rights of underprivileged peoples. He will be pursuing graduate studies in International Relations in Washington, D.C.