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Department of English
University of Mississippi

Southern Literary Festival Winners


Three University of Mississippi students recently placed in the 2023 Southern Literary Festival (SLF) Undergraduate Writing Competition. The competition includes multiple categories of writing: poetry, fiction, playwriting, creative nonfiction, formal essay, and literary magazine. Michael Moon won first place for his one-act play The Last Moment, Adele Cardwell won second place for her poem “Phobos, The Bastard Daughter,” and K. Corley Taylor won third place with her one-act play titled They Gave Her a Bear. Learn more about some of the students below! 

Adele Cardwell is a senior English Major with creative writing emphasis. When asked about her winning piece and what she typically likes to write about, she said: “I’m a writer who isn’t picky about mediums, but I have the most experience in poetry and fiction. Setting is an important part of writing for me, and I like to write about the South and its relevant themes. My pieces are character-driven and typically incorporate an element of the bizarre or unexpected.” In her poem,“Phobos, the Bastard Daughter,” a daughter asks her grandpa about what her deadbeat mother Aphrodite was like, and he tells her the story of how she was born from a fish-fry. Though inspired by Greek and Roman mythology, the poem is modern and Southern, and thinks of the gods as complicated and human. 

Corley Taylor is a writer, actor, filmmaker, and non-profit founder. She has participated in several student film projects on campus, both on and off the screen. The non-profit organization that she co-founded is called Watch Out World, and focuses on providing film education to indie up-and-coming artists. Taylor details what she likes to write about: “I like to write stories that are universally felt. To capture the realities of what it means to be a person in this day and age is very important to me. I want my works to be timeless and to have a lasting positive effect on those who choose to see what I’m about.” When asked what the award means to her, Taylor shared this message: “As someone who has worked for years trying to develop her writing skills, this award means a lot to me. It shows that all the hours I have devoted to turning heartache and human experience have become meaningful works to people. That makes my soul happy. I want to say a special thanks to Ole Miss for providing this opportunity. I also would love to thank my professor Beth Spencer for being an advocate for aspiring writers. Watch Out World, I’m an award winning writer.”


Congratulations to all of the SLF contest winners! 


Article by Andie Ferniany