The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Madeline Marriott ’24 wins Flash Fiction Contest with story close to home

Photo by Emma Sylvester for The Lafayette
Madeline Marriott ’24 took inspiration from her family for her short story.

Madeline Marriott ’24 took the phrase “write what you know” to heart with her winning short story, “Patina.”

Marriott, an English major, won the annual Flash Fiction Contest with a story about her grandfather’s house. She read her work aloud on Wednesday at a reading in the Gendebien Room of Skillman Library.

The Flash Fiction Contest was open to students of all majors to submit works of 500 words or less and was judged by acclaimed fiction author Stephanie Powell Watts.

In her piece, “Patina” refers to the fictionalized version of her grandfather’s Jersey Shore house. Through touring the residence, the reader comes to understand the people who live there, curating a sense of nostalgia.

“So what I decided to do was build a scene, right?” Marriott explained. “So, just one scene, one image that I hoped would be evocative or would resonate with people.”

Watts admired Marriott’s ability to immerse the reader in her family home.

“I felt that she brought us into the moment with these really amazing descriptions of the crinkling of the bag and then there’s the rocking chair that’s peeling,” Watts said of Marriott’s writing. “I felt like I’m right there with her with those descriptions.”

For Marriott, family is a big source of inspiration.

“I find myself writing about my family in more ways than I would have expected,” she said. “I find myself producing a lot of poetry about my family, I find myself interested in that story.”

While her family, in particular her grandfather’s house, is her inspiration for “Patina,” Marriott likes writing about many different things and in different styles. She writes fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and journalism.

English professor Jennifer Gilmore believes that Marriott’s skill in various genres is one of her best assets.

“She’s the ideal English major in a lot of ways because she’s really interested in what different kinds of writing do,” Gilmore said.

Marriott loves learning more about people, including herself, through her writing.

“I think the common thread in all of it is that I really like to talk about people in depth,” Marriott said, “Whether that’s a journalistic profile, which is my favorite type of thing to write … or whether it’s discovering something about myself … I just love people.”

For aspiring writers, Marriott advised that a bad draft is better than no draft.

“There is someone interested in everything,” Marriott said. “You should write about what you want to write about, and maybe it morphs into something else.”

Honorable mentions Zubair Ali ‘24 and Paige Mathieu ‘24 also narrated their works.

Disclaimer: Editor-in-Chief Madeline Marriott ’24 did not contribute writing or reporting.

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