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Sophie Kerr finalists announced

Washington College announced five finalists Friday, including two from the Baltimore area, for its annual Sophie Kerr Prize. The nation's largest undergraduate literary award is worth $62,900 this year.

The private liberal arts college in Chestertown annually bestows the prize on the graduating senior who is judged to show the most literary talent and promise. Members of the school's English faculty selected five finalists from portfolios submitted by 32 students. The prize is named for Sophie Kerr, a native of Denton in Caroline County who became a published fiction writer and national magazine editor in New York. She bequeathed much of her estate to the school on her death in 1965, stipulating that half go to the prize.

Finalists this year are:

Grace Arenas, a graduate of Dulaney High School in Timonium;

Peter Fortenbaugh, a Chestertown native and Gunston Day School graduate;

Alex Stinton, a graduate of St. Michaels High School from Wittman;

Kimberly Uslin, a native of New Oxford, Pa., and a graduate of Delone Catholic High School in McSherrystown, Pa.;

Kay Wicker, a graduate of Oakland Mills High School in Columbia.

The winner will be named at 7:30 p.m. May 13 at a public ceremony at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral St. Poet Mary Jo Salter, co-chair of the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, will be the featured speaker. The finalists will also read from their writings before the prize recipient is announced.

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