CCAD celebrates talented writers with Creative Writing Awards


For the seventh year, Columbus College of Art & Design has recognized students’ talents with the written word with its Creative Writing Awards. Students submitted work in the categories of Poetry, Prose, and Screenwriting. The first-place winner in each category received $300 and publication in a future print issue of CCAD’s Botticelli magazine, while runners-up received $100 and possible publication in a future issue of Botticelli. Additionally, award recipients have the option of reading from their work at the Red Wheelbarrow reading during Chroma: Best of CCAD on Friday, May 13. 

Although only six awards were given (one first-place and one second-place award in each category), Writing, Literature & Philosophy Department Head Robert Loss expressed admiration and gratitude for all the students who entered the competition. “To all of the CCAD students who submitted their work: Your talent, insight, and courage remain inspiring in our ever-evolving world. Thank you,” he says. 

The Creative Writing Awards are open to current CCAD undergraduates only. Students may submit in more than one genre and do not have to be Creative Writing minors or have taken creative writing courses to submit. All entries were evaluated by judges from outside the CCAD community via a double-blind review process. The judges were asked to choose the best single works (e.g., a winning poem, prose piece, screenplay, not a student's submitted body of work). 

Donations from Bob Redfield and Mary Yerina made this year’s awards possible. The categories and winners are as follows: 

Creative Writing Award: Poetry

Winner: “Glosa” by Ian Drescher (Illustration, 2025)

Judge Natalie Shapero’s comments: “From the very first word—‘Coyote-weighted’— his poem stands out for its innovative use of language, image, and sound. This poem snakes forward in surprising and productive ways, building a landscape of myth and music, literature and history. I’m impressed with the breadth and ambition of this piece, which succeeds in creating this strange, haunted place.” 

Runner-up: Cocoa Butter and Deep Conditioner” by Lucy Crow (Animation, 2024)

Creative Writing Award: Prose

Winner: The Cosmonauts” by Skye Berggren (Comics & Narrative Practice, 2024)

Judge Brett Gregory’s comments: “I enjoyed the eerie tone and surreal elements of ‘The Cosmonauts.’ The reader was given just enough information to carry the story while maintaining ambiguity and intrigue. The author showed great command over the language. I really enjoyed the sharp, and at times, poetic lines. The story came off with originality.”

Runner-up: Half Bunny, Half Unicorn,” by Sophia Reza (Animation, 2023)

Creative Writing Award: Screenwriting

Winner: Hit Boys by Jesse Perry (Animation, 2023)

Judge Sheldon Gleisser’s comments: “Hit Boys is funny and ambitious. It has three-dimensional characters that, as you spend time with them, make you curious and make you laugh.”

Runner-up: a ghost story by Skye Berggren (Comics & Narrative Practice, 2024)

About the 2022 Creative Writing Awards judges

Special thanks to this year’s judges for their generous time and expertise. Read more about this year’s judges:

Sheldon Gleisser was awarded the Individual Artist Grant from the Greater Columbus Arts Council in 2002 for Version 2.0, a short play written with Robert Flanagan. Gleisser’s short stories “Souvenir,” “Converts,” “Secrets of the Hive,” and “Stillborn” were runner-up in the 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012 Mary Shelley awards for new stories of Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction. The short play Mother of Presidents (with Robert Flanagan) was part of Evolution Theater’s Columbus Bicentennial Playwriting festival in 2012. His screenplay Out of Print won the Best Northcoast Screenplay award (meaning best script written to take place in Ohio) at the Ohio Independent Film Festival in 2013. (614) Magazine published his short story “And Son” in December 2015. His play A Better and Nobler Man was performed by Red Herring Theater in May 2020. His novel Dianasaurus Rex was published in 2018 by Hydra Publications.

Brett Gregory is a co-founder and co-owner of Two Dollar Radio Headquarters, established on Columbus’ South Side in 2017. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where he studied English. He has served an AmeriCorps stint with Habitat for Humanity in upstate New York and has toured the country in a minivan with a rock band. Brett has worked as a bartender, bookseller, and substitute teacher. He currently does editorial, marketing, and publicity work for Two Dollar Radio and lives down the road in Cincinnati with his family.

Natalie Shapero is the author, most recently, of the poetry collection Popular Longing. Her previous collections are Hard Child, shortlisted for the International Griffin Poetry Prize, and No Object, winner of the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award. Natalie’s writing has appeared in The NationThe New YorkerThe New York Review of BooksThe Paris ReviewThe New York Times Magazine, and elsewhere.

Learn more about the Creative Writing Awards here, or click here to learn more about applying to CCAD.