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Watkins Mill alum selected as semifinalist for St Lawrence Book Award

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Watkins Mill alumni Kathryn Bratt-Pfotenhauer with her poetry book

Watkins Mill alumni Kathryn Bratt-Pfotenhauer with her poetry book

Julia Frederick

Julia Frederick

Watkins Mill alumni Kathryn Bratt-Pfotenhauer with her poetry book

Jessica Cruz

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Watkins Mill High School alum Kathryn Bratt-Pfotenhauer has been selected as a semi-finalist for the St. Lawrence book award. The winner gets $1,000, a book publication, and ten complimentary copies of their published work.

The St. Lawrence Book Award is awarded annually to an unpublished, first full-length collection of poems or short stories. Ten finalists and semi-finalists are chosen from each genre and then a winner from both categories. 

“Kathryn was conscientious, hard-working and diligent,” English teacher Veena Roberson said. Roberson taught Pfotenhauer for two years and added that Pfotenhauer’s writing skills and exceptional analytical ability made her stand out.

While on a trip to San Francisco to visit family, Pfotenhauer stumbled across a bookstore where she discovered the book The Muse. The Muse is a book about a famed fictional poet and editor obsessed with their work.

The fictional poet in The Muse released her first celebrated collection when she was a first year student at Bryn Mawr College. Pfotenhauer, when she picked up the book, was a first-year at Bryn Mawr College.

“After being freaked out for a solid day, I took it as a sign it was time to start submitting and went looking online for chapbook contests,” said Pfotenhauer. “I went for the first one I really looked into which was the St. Lawrence Book Award contest.”

“Her ability to take whatever obstacle I gave her and overcome it made her stand out,” English teacher Jamaly Allen said. Pfotenhauer has been writing ever since she was a small child. However, it wasn’t until after a poetry unit in her English class during her senior year that she started to write poetry seriously.

Her poetry book, Beatrice Speaks to the Bridge & Other Poems was written over the course of a month. The book focuses on different topics such as sexuality, personal growth and the strain of relationships. “It’s a little all over the place, but then again so am I,” Pfotenhauer said. “So it fits.” 

She submitted her book to the contest to see if she could generate some interest in her work for future publication, not expecting to become a semi-finalist.

“I was extremely lucky to be chosen as one of the ten poetry semi-finalists, and I am truly surprised I even got that far,” Pfotenhauer said. “My support network in this project was the main reason I continued to write it.”  

She already has plans for her next project, in which she hopes to submit to a chapbook contest in March. “Being named a semi-finalist in a bonafide literary contest has given me the motivation to write more and push myself out of my comfort zone to really create good work,” Pfotenhauer added.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Watkins Mill alum selected as semifinalist for St Lawrence Book Award”

  1. Mikaela Cajigal on March 5th, 2018 1:36 pm

    THATS MY GIRL, DESTINED FOR GREATNESS AHHHH I LOVE HER AND WHEN SHE PUBLISHES HER FIRST POETRY BOOK I’LL BE THE FIRST TO BUY 💕

    [Reply]

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The student news site of Watkins Mill High School
Watkins Mill alum selected as semifinalist for St Lawrence Book Award