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Lighted Corners and Seven Students Win CSPA Awards

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'20

The Columbia Scholastic Press Association awarded the 2023 edition of Lighted Corners, Mount St. Mary’s student-run literary and arts magazine, a gold medal for the Spring 2023 volume and eight Gold Circle awards for individual students’ work.

Lighted Corners coverVolume 42 of Lighted Corners, titled “Legacy,” was published in time to be unveiled at the Scholarship, Performance, Art, Research and Creativity (SPARC) Festival in April 2023. The editorial team was headed by Claire Doll, C’24, whose short story “Blueberry Pancakes” was particularly commended by the CSPA judges.

The 2023 edition also received All-Columbian Honors in the categories of Essentials, Verbal, and Visual, meaning that pieces in these categories earned enough points from the judges to be in the 95th percentile or higher for publications in the competition.

Additionally, seven students were awarded Gold Circle Awards for their individual contributions to the 2023 edition. Gold Circle Awards are separate from Crown Awards but are also given by the CSPA. The magazine is a perennial winner of CSPA awards, with the 2022 edition winning CSPA's top award, the Gold Crown prize. Lighted Corners received Silver Crown awards in 2021 and 2014 and Gold or Silver Medalist recognition nearly every year since 2008.

“I’m constantly in awe of our amazing writers and artists,” wrote Doll in announcing the Gold Circle awards. “I know LC 2024 is going to be just as wonderful!” Volume 43, with Doll as editor-in-chief for a second year, will be unveiled this week at the 2024 SPARC Festival. Associate Professor of English Thomas Bligh, Ph.D., is the faculty advisor to Lighted Corners.

Eleanor Fisher, C’23, won a Gold Circle for both her poem, “Sisterhood,” and her short story, “Cloud Racing.” Frances Fisher, C’25, won for her painting "The Tree of Life."

“I am thrilled and humbled to have won a Gold Circle award. Thank you to Lighted Corners for their invaluable work providing young authors with publishing opportunities,” exclaimed Eleanor Fisher. Her sister Frances Fisher seconded her sentiments, stating “I am very shocked and honored to receive an award for my artwork, as having my art recognized was something I always dreamed of but never expected to actually happen.”

Senior Robert Prender also won for his artwork, featured on the cover, and Helen Hochschild, a high school dual enrollment student in 2023, for her painting “Madonna and Child.”

"I could not be any happier to have participated in the magazine, and to be featured with all the magazine’s other great artists,” said Prender.

Kayla Jones, C’24, received an award for her poem, “Villanelle for a Villain,” and Ana Purchiaroni, C’23, for her poem “La Gata.”

“Winning this award for ‘Villanelle for a Villain’ feels so surreal,” noted Jones, who also serves as the public relations manager for Lighted Corners. “This was the first time I submitted my writing to anything, so it was a pleasant surprise to find out that not only did two of the three pieces I submitted get in, but one of them also won an award. It's crazy to think about, but also very exciting!”

Finally, Ashley Walczyk, C’24, received a Gold Circle for her short story, “A Broken Conversation.”

“I am really honored to be a part of this magazine, and even more for winning a Gold Circle for my own legacy piece. Lighted Corners has been a highlight of my academic career because of the team. I love working closely to the magazine as an editor, and watching the team come together to produce wonderful editions each year,” she shared.

Lighted Corners is an amazing magazine filled with immense talent, and the artists in it fully deserve to be recognized for their work,” said Frances Fisher.

Follow Lighted Corners on Instagram at @lightedcorners.

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'20