Spencer B. King, Jr. Creative Writing Scholarship Competition

Open to high school juniors selected as finalists of the Spencer B. King, Jr. Creative Writing Scholarship Competition, this special day will feature an opportunity to:

  • Tour campus
  • Learn more about Mercer and the creative writing program
  • Participate in a reading from the Robinson Prize winner
Spencer B King, Jr. Creative Writing Scholarship

SPENCER B. KING JR CENTER FOR SOUTHERN STUDIES

The Spencer B. King Jr. Center for Southern Studies fosters critical discussions about the many meanings of the South. As the only center for southern studies in the United States dedicated to the education and enrichment of undergraduate students, the Center’s primary purpose is to examine the region’s complex history and culture through courses, conversations, and events that are open, honest, and accessible.

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About the Thomas Robinson Prize

The Thomas Robinson Prize for Southern Literature, previously known as the Sidney Lanier Prize, was first awarded in 2012. The prize recognizes writers who have engaged and extended the long, often complicated, tradition of writing about the South. Past winners include Ernest Gaines (2012), Lee Smith (2013), Elizabeth Spencer (2014), Yusef Komunyakaa (2015), Wendell Berry (2016), Ellen Gilchrist (2017), Natasha Trethewey (2018), Fred Chappell (2019), Ron Rash (2020), and Barbara Kingsolver (2021).

Mercer University’s Spencer B. King Jr. Center for Southern Studies awarded the 2022 Thomas Robinson Prize for Southern Literature to poet, Nikky Finney.

Finney is the author of On Wings Made of Gauze; Rice; The World is Round; and Head Off & Split, which won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2011. Her new collection of poems, Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry, was released in 2020.

Finney has been a faculty member at Cave Canem summer workshop for African American poets; a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets, a particular place for poets of color in Appalachia; poet and professor at the University of Kentucky; and visiting professor at Berea and Smith. Colleges. She won the PEN American Open Book Award in 1996 and the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for the Arts in South Carolina in 2016.

In her home state of South Carolina, where she currently resides, she involves herself in the day-to-day battles for truth and justice while also guiding both undergraduates and MFA students at the University of South Carolina, where she is the John H. Bennett, Jr., Chair in Creative Writing and Southern Letters, with appointments in both the Department of English Language and Literature and the African American Studies Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bring guests?

Absolutely! Each student may bring two guests. If another student is planning to attend with you, we ask that they register as well.

What should I wear?

You will be walking around campus throughout the day, so we recommend comfortable shoes and casual clothes. Since you will be inside and outside, please check the weather before you come.

Where should I park?

Parking will vary for each event, so check your email leading up to the event for detailed parking information. Also, when you arrive on campus, our student staff will be in orange polos and will direct you to your parking destination.

What will I see on the tour?

The campus tour gives you a student's perspective on life at Mercer. You'll see everything from our dining facilities to the fitness center, our historic Quad, Mercer Village, Cruz Plaza, and the new science center.