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News Release

Professor Advances in International Writing Competition

September 28, 2016

Professor Darlene Gold photo

An essay written by Tompkins Cortland Community College Professor Darlene Gold has advanced in an international writing competition. The piece called “Pianoforte a Quatre Mains” has made the longlist at PRISM international’s 2016 Creative Non-Fiction Contest. Gold’s work was one of 12 selected from a field of 200 entries. The next round of the contest will narrow the field down further, with the top three winning a cash prize as well as have their work published in PRISM international, a quarterly magazine out of Vancouver, British Columbia. PRISM international is the oldest literary magazine in western Canada, established in 1959, with readership in more than 40 countries.

Gold, who co-chairs the College’s creative writing degree program, says the inspiration for her piece was losing her father. “In my essay Pianoforte a Quatre Mains I’m working at questions for which there are no certain answers: Is it possible to talk to the dead? How could we ever know? Mostly I’m mulling over the death of my father and a visit with a cadaver, but the openness of the lyric essay gives me lots of room to roam,” said Gold.

A past participant in the prestigious Under the Volcano literary program in Mexico, Gold says her own writing helps her to be a better teacher by giving her real-world experience to share in the classroom. “Students often meet the word essay with an inward groan, but the word is derived from the French and means to try,” said Gold. “An essay - whether academic or creative - is an attempt to understand something through the act of writing.”

In noting how her personal experiences with the PRISM international contest and the Under the Volcano program translate to better learning experiences for her students, Gold praised the Tompkins Cortland Community College Foundation for providing financial support for faculty professional development efforts. “I also want to thank the College, especially Provost John Conners and Dean Carl Penziul, for their support of my writing.”