The Pen wins national competition

The Pen, USCB's student literary journal, wins first-place award for excellence in national competition


March 6, 2017

The Pen, USCB’s student literary journalBLUFFTON, S.C. – The Pen, the journal of student creative writing and art at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, has been recognized by the American Scholastic Press Association with a first-place award for literary excellence in the organization's annual magazine competition.

The Pen scored 915 of a possible 1,000 points in the ASPA's most recent competition conducted last fall.

"The Pen is an excellent publication which deserves a first-place award in the annual American Scholastic Press Association's magazine competition," the ASPA noted in a message to The Pen staff and its faculty advisor, P. Ellen Malphrus, Ph.D. Dr. Malphrus is a Professor of English in the Department of English, Theater and Liberal Studies at the university.

USCB submitted the fall 2015 and spring 2016 issues of The Pen for consideration in the 2016 competition. The magazine issues were judged on the basis of content coverage, organization, design, presentation and creativity.

Now in its 10th year, The Pen grew out of the Society of Creative Writers, the USCB student writing club that Dr. Malphrus organized a decade ago. Over the years, the society has become increasingly professional and the quality of its work has improved proportionally. The Pen is a biannual publication of the society produced under the supervision of the Department of English, Theater and Liberal Studies. It features original work in the form of fiction and poetry, and other creative arts.

The Pen staff generally numbers around six people, all of whom are members of The Pen Practicum, a one-hour course for credit that students may take up to six times over the last three years of their studies at USCB. Students in the practicum meet once a week to discuss story selection, layout and design, photography and related subjects. 

Members of The Pen's student editorial board for the fall 2015 issue were: Katie Hart, Alexis Henderson, Brenda Hill, Ciera Love, Taylor Piscitello and Bill Lisbon, a recent graduate who handles graphic design and photography. The editorial staff for the spring 2016 issue consisted of: Ms. Hart, Ms. Henderson, Ms. Hill, Ms. Love, Elizabeth Higginbotham, Kat Trent and Bill Lisbon.

"I couldn't be more pleased that The Pen is getting the recognition it deserves and that creative writing is flourishing at USCB," Dr. Malphrus says. "When I first began teaching creative writing workshops, we didn't have an actual creative writing program. Now we have a writing minor within the English major. That's essentially a creative writing minor.

"Every semester, I teach an upper-level creative writing workshop along with a sophomore-level course I designed called 'Creative Writing across the Curriculum' that draws students from all across campus. Every semester we get students from biology, communication studies, psychology, English and history and on and on. This interdisciplinary creative effort has buoyed up the creative writing program at USCB."

Several English majors at USCB, all graduates of the creative writing program, have gone on to graduate school to earn a master of fine arts degree in creative writing. Others have secured editorial and teaching positions.

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Located in the heart of the Carolina Sea Islands, the University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) is a baccalaureate member of the USC system, serving the southeast coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Since 2002, USCB has tripled its academic degree programs, doubled its FTE enrollment, opened its first on-campus housing (now serving more than 900), joined the NAIA Sun Conference, and fielded conference and national award-winning Sand Shark athletes in nine sports. The university's two campuses serve a diverse student body of 2,000 students. The Hilton Head Gateway campus in Bluffton, SC, offers cutting-edge Computational Science and Nursing laboratories, and a broad range of academic degree programs. The Historic Beaufort campus, located on Beaufort's downtown waterfront, houses an innovative baccalaureate Studio Art program in close proximity to Beaufort's many art galleries. The University of South Carolina Beaufort offers students an exceptional place to learn and live in an environment focused on growth, preservation and opportunity.

For more information about the University of South Carolina Beaufort, contact Kerry Jarvis, public information coordinator, at 843-208-8030 or jarviskc@uscb.edu.