NOTE: This letter was sent to committee chair Lynn Madden by one of the Faulkner writing competition winners.
Thank you for the William Faulkner Prize. I am so glad I decided to make the trip to New Albany. When I walked into the church on Wednesday I had no idea what to expect but as soon as I met you I knew everything would be fine.
From the luncheon and ceremony on I was on New Albany magic carpet ride. I met and talked to so many charming, interesting people. After the luncheon I got the garden tour from Ms. Owens. The garden was so beautiful and thoughtfully created and managed. I came back a few hours later for the Museum event and met more charming people, including you--again! Everyone was so friendly and welcoming.
I was free the next day so I wanted to try the Tanglefoot Trail, get a good old country breakfast and get to Oxford. I walked around Bankhead and bumped into the editor of the newspaper and we chatted. On the trail I met a man, Herb, who was married to one of the women I met the night before and we talked for a long time. I stopped at the library and the woman behind the counter recognized me from the night before.
I was parked right by T. Sappington. Someone pointed Tommy out to me the night before (might have been you). It looked like a great store and I went in and talked to Tommy and Martha. They had just been to New York and loved it. Tommy gave me a Sappington cap as souvenir. He recommended the shrimp and grits at the Tallahatchie Gourmet, so I went there. At the door I bumped into woman I met the night before and she brought me to the counter to order and introduced me to Tim, the pastor and Cheryl, his wife. Cheryl had just gotten a call from Herb who is her stepfather saying he had met me. These lovely people treated me to a order of shrimp and grits and sweet tea. Spectacular! I had a great talk with them and, if I lived nearby, I would go to their church. I felt like such a celebrity that morning and more importantly I felt absorbed into the rich life of your lovely town.
I drove to Oxford and went to Rowen Oak, which was beautiful and went to all the Square bookstores which are very good. I walked around the square a few times but, shockingly, nobody recognized me.
Later I went to Rainey for dinner and brought a magazine with me for company. There were Gwen and Joy, who I met the day before and I sat with them and had a lovely time. Someone bought me a drink and a couple of people who had been at the event the night before stopped by the table. And they had my favorite dessert, bread pudding.
I was in New Albany for 48 hours and I felt like one of the family. Like kin. I met so many wonderful people. Besides getting the prize, the whole trip was magic and I’m glad I took the chance. I hope the competition brings more people and attention to your beautiful town (but not too much!).
Thank you and everyone involved in the Faulkner Prize committee for the award, for inviting me and for showing me such a wonderful time. I think I might turn this email into a short story and enter it into the next competition. I love New Albany!
All the best,