Interlochen Arts Academy Announces Winner of Virginia B. Ball Creative Writing Competition

Maia Siegel, a sophomore from Roanoke, Virginia, wins biennial competition.

Photo courtesy Maia Siegel.

Photo courtesy Maia Siegel.

Maia Siegel, a sophomore currently attending the Community High School of Arts and Academics in Roanoke, Virginia, will join the Interlochen Arts Academy Creative Writing program in the 2019-2020 school year after having been announced as the winner of the Virginia B. Ball Creative Writing Competition. Siegel was chosen from a pool of more than 220 applicants from 34 states and 15 countries.

“I applied to this competition because I knew Interlochen's reputation as an artistic haven, and I was craving that type of in-depth creative experience,” Siegel said.

“After winning, I visited the campus. I knew Interlochen was somewhere I wanted to be after I sat in on a writing workshop and heard students my own age critique a classmate's poem with the utmost maturity, specificity, and engagement. It didn't hurt that I could hear people practicing the violin while I wandered through Interlochen's buildings.”

“The writing in Maia's portfolio is vivid, intelligent, and fresh,” said Brittany Cavallaro, an Instructor of Creative Writing at Interlochen and one of the judges of the competition. “In her poetry, she has an eye for the complex image and an intuitive sense of poetic form and lineation. Her voice throughout is strong and sure, and we were taken with lines like (from her submitted work ‘Wednesday at Bent Mountain’), ‘Tomorrow, my flame-licked picture would be charcoal, and I will know the burner.’ That voice is clarion-clear across a range of genres—her creative non-fiction, too, shows that same attention to craft and to detail.”

“In addition to the astounding originality of her portfolio, we were impressed by Maia’s heartfelt passion for observing the world through a poet’s eyes and her enthusiasm for collaborating with other young artists,” added Mika Perrine, Interim Director of Creative Writing. “Maia also has a strong interest in theatre, and is excited about the possibility of developing her voice as a screenwriter and librettist as well as deepening her exploration of the craft of poetry. We are thrilled for the opportunity to work with Maia and look forward to welcoming her to The Writing House next fall.”

Through generous grants from the Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Foundation, Interlochen is able to offer a full-tuition scholarship to Siegel as winner of the competition for the 2019-2020 school year, with the scholarship being renewable for her senior year as well.

The contest is held every two years and is open to all students in grades 8-11. Applicants are asked to submit writing samples in at least two of the the following genres: fiction, poetry, personal essay or memoir, screenwriting, playwriting and hybrid genre. The winner is then selected based on the overall strength of their portfolio.

First held in 2001, the Virginia B. Ball Creative Writing Competition has made it possible for young writers of great promise to study creative writing at Interlochen. In turn, the Creative Writing program itself has helped hundreds of young writers find their unique voice and expand their understanding of the crafts of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, playwriting, and screenwriting.