By Jessica Kartalija

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s an incredible honor for young writers. Every year, the Sophie Kerr Award goes to a student at Washington College on the Eastern Shore.

Jessica Kartalija explains this year, a Baltimore County poet can add his name to the prestigious list of winners.

For college writers, it’s an incredible honor. The award is named for Sophie Kerr, born and raised on the Eastern Shore, not far from Washington College. Kerr became a prolific writer and left much of her earnings to the school. The prize was created in her honor.

This year’s winner is Alexander Vidiani. Vidiani grew up in Hunt Valley and graduated from Calvert Hall.

“Complete surprise. I had no idea I was going to win. I went into it thinking, `This is another great experience and I’m going to lose. It’s going to be okay,'” he said.

Vidiani majored in English with a minor in creative writing and served as poetry editor of the student-run literary magazine, the Collegian.

“It drives you, I think—not just the prize but a way to be recognized for what you’ve done. A lot of writers don’t get recognized until later on in their lives,” he said.

Vidiani says he’d love to publish a collection of his poems and he’s certainly on his way to meeting that goal.

“Next step, I will be gong to College Park for my MFA in poetry and I have a teaching assistantship there. Maybe after that, I can get my PhD,” he said. “Hopefully.”

Vidiani’s portfolio focused on Fathers, Masculinity and Loss.

This year, the Sophie Kerr prize was worth almost $63,000. This is the 48th year the Sophie Kerr Prize has been awarded.

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