The 2012 winners were Marija Milacic and Janice Allen
About the Winners
This year, for the first time, the SCRIPT Award judges were unable to pick a single winner from the field of mini-epics that we received. Tying for first place were: Marija Milacic, PhD, a molecular biologist who serves as curator of an online database of biological pathways; and Janice Allen, a Dalhousie Geology graduate student with an interest in modeling the dynamics of the sea floor.
As a young person, Marija published poems in her native Serbian, and she has come back to creative writing recently, as her career changes have moved her away from active laboratory research. Her winning entry, “The Enchanted Clockwork”, reflects her fascination with the human side of her academic field, cancer cell biology.
Although the story is not autobiographical, Marija says her own life has been touched by cancer. Her free-verse poem tells of her helplessness in the face of an all-too-real medical tragedy that she cannot help resolve, however much she knows about the disease theoretically. Despite the gruesome topic and imagery, she manages to be playful with her language, as her thoughts turns from science to magic and myth — a story that will be familiar to many who are asked for their ‘two cents’ because they are supposed to be knowledgeable about health and disease.
Janice, a life-long journal-keeper and letter-writer, looks to creative writing to round out her life and complement her scientific interests. She enjoys the challenge of keeping her writing succinct, visceral and timely, so the format of the mini-epic was natural to her. The topic of her winning “One” came to her as she kicked fallen leaves while walking in the fall. Although her young daughter was with her, playing in the same leaves, Janice admits she was “in a bleak mood” as she wondered what lasting or consequential thing she would leave behind her in the world.
Marija and Janice both said that winning the SCRIPT Award was powerful encouragement to push themselves further as writers.
Read "The Enchanted Clockwork" and "One"