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By Kathryn Hopper

In a ceremony held in late February, the winners in 25 categories from poetry to critical essays divvied up $3,000 in prize money and gained inspiration from Fort Worth author and book critic Jeff Guinn, who was the featured speaker.

Guinn, former books editor at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and best-selling author of 12 books, including The Autobiography of Santa Claus, told the audience of aspiring scribes that good writing boils down to good storytelling. He said the first chapter of his book came to him in a voice delivered when he was vacuuming.

"The voice said 'You are right to believe in me," he said, noting he quickly ran to his keyboard to start transcribing the voice that would eventually become the first chapter in his book, now one of the best-selling Christmas books of all time.

"That's when the magic happens," he said. "It happens when we realize we're not writing books, we are telling stories and we get out of the way."

A TCU tradition dating to 1935, the creative writing awards are organized by the Department of English and the William L. Adams Center for Writing to recognize writing by undergraduates, graduate students and alumni.

This year's winners included English junior Eric Fisher Stone, whose poem titled "In Special Ed" won the Siddie Joe Johnson Poetry Award and business freshman Andreas J. Siman, whose essay "My Sanctuary" about Lake Atitlan in Guatemala won the AddRan English 10803 Award.

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