FOR RELEASE: May 17, 2017
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Wesleyan University Awards Inaugural Hamilton Prize for Creativity to Incoming First-Year Student
An all-star committee of Wesleyan University alumni, chaired by Hamilton writer/creator and former star Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ‘15 and director Thomas Kail ’99, has selected the recipient of the inaugural Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity: Audrey Pratt of Needham, Mass. Her submission, a short piece of fiction titled, “Thorns, Black and White,” was selected from among more than 600 entries.
Pratt, who will graduate this spring from Needham High School, will receive a four-year full-tuition scholarship to Wesleyan, worth as much as $200,000.
“The selection committee was blown away by the range and quality of the submissions we reviewed,” said Miranda. “Audrey’s story stood out as exceptional, but all of the finalists’ work displayed great originality and promise. Being part of Wesleyan’s Hamilton Prize selection process has deepened my faith in our creative future.”
“We were honored to work with our amazing fellow alumni in selecting this very deserving recipient,” said Kail. “I can’t wait to see what she produces with a Wesleyan education.”
The Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity was established in honor of Miranda and Kail’s contributions to liberal education and the arts and named for the pair’s hit Broadway musical, Hamilton: An American Musical, which in 2016 won 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Book, and Best Original Score.
In the first year of the Hamilton Prize, Wesleyan received more than 600 creative written work submissions, ranging from short stories to slam poetry, from screenplays to songs. All entries were first reviewed by Wesleyan’s faculty, and finalists were judged on their originality, artistry and dynamism by the alumni selection committee.
“Wesleyan has been home to so many dynamic writers over the years. We’re delighted to welcome these bright and imaginative students to campus, and to help develop their creative talents through a broad liberal education,” said Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth.
In addition to honorary chairs Miranda and Kail, the selection committee members include alumni Carter Bays ’97, Amy Bloom ’75, Daniel Handler ’92, Maggie Nelson ’94, Amanda Palmer ’98, Mary Roach ’81, Bozoma Saint John ’99, Kaneza Schaal ’06, Tierney Sutton ’86, Craig Thomas ’97, Matthew Weiner ’87, P’18, and Simone White ’93. Learn more about the committee and read bios of all its members here.
Submissions for next year’s Hamilton Prize are due January 1, 2018, the regular decision application deadline for Wesleyan’s Class of 2022.