July 5, 2011

House Organ Summer Reading Issue Features Employee Writing

The House Organ Writing Contest has been held since 1985, and has published poems, fiction and nonfiction by staff and faculty every July since then; the Summer Reading Issue is part of a Medical Center tradition. And, once again, the quality of the entries again presented ample evidence that Vanderbilt is full of writers walking around disguised as normal people.

The winner of the Poetry category is Mandy Haynes of the Pediatric Echo Lab for her poem “Searching,” an adult daughter’s remembrance of her father. Her name may be familiar to you as a past winner of the contest; her story “The Day I Threw the Rock” was the Fiction winner last year.

The Nonfiction category winner this year is “Dinosaur Rainbow Monarchs” by Nicole L. Baganz of Pharmacology, the author’s story of struggling to understand the death of a talented sister.

The Fiction winner is “The Perils of Small Mammals” by Dan Dorset of the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology, a story about a man whose life is going nowhere, but paradoxically somehow getting worse by the minute, until…well, just read the story.

• Fiction honorable mention, “Pickin’ Up Puppies by the Side of the Road,” by Mandy Haynes (remember her?), the story of a waitress at a rural diner whose encounter with an extremely pregnant young woman changes both their lives.

• Nonfiction honorable mention, “The Landing at Shah-har-adin,” by Michael Woodard of LifeFlight, whose experience as a helicopter pilot in combat in Afghanistan is brought to life in the story of one trip to retrieve a wounded soldier.

• Poetry honorable mention, “Bubbles,” by Jennifer Dix of the Center in Molecular Toxicology.