Tim Marcin

by Dana Kester-McCabe

On the upper shore in Chestertown, Maryland you can find Washington College a private liberal arts school which was founded with gifts from George Washington. Each year a committee of English professors, grants the Sophie Kerr Prize to the graduating senior there who shows the most “ability and promise” as a writer. Chosen from among five finalists, this year’s winner was Tim Marcin, an English major, and captain of the soccer team, from Wilmington, Delaware. In the portfolio he submitted for consideration was a mix of poetry and nonfiction.

Sophie Kerr was a native of Denton, Maryland. She was a graduate of Hood College, but she received an honorary degree from Washington College. Sophie served as managing editor of a magazine called Woman’s Home Companion. She authored 23 novels and hundreds of short stories during the early to mid 20th century. You can still find many of her novels at online book sellers. The prize, which she endowed, is the largest literary award given to an undergraduate in the country. This year it was over $61,000.

At the award ceremony Tim read from the introduction to his the portfolio he submitted for consideration. The award ceremony was held this year at one of the most renowned libraries in the country, the Enoch Pratt in Baltimore. Michael Dirda, an author and book critic for the Washington Post, was the keynote speaker at the award ceremony. Dirda spent time with all the finalists and encouraged them to live their dreams.

Like many writers music has influenced Tim’s writing. His poetry reflects his young life with subjects like teen love and simple enjoyment of the summer and nature. It is no surprise that classics by Bob Dylan have inspired him. So far much of what Tim has written has been for class, but he has also written about his own experience at the recent Boston Marathon tragedy.

Tim has been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He has received numerous awards and was the first student in Washington College history to win both the William Warner and Veryan Beacham literary prizes. Being an athlete has played a big part in Tim’s success as a student and as a writer.

Being a team player is also part of being a journalist which Tim experienced working on the student newspaper The Elm, where he has served as the sports editor. Serving as an editor and the captain of the soccer team has taught Tim about taking and giving constructive criticism along with what it means to stand up for one’s own creative vision.

Tim would encourage other students who aspire to be writers to consider the writing program at Washington College. After what was clearly a busy senior year, Tim heads off to grad school next September at Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.


Hear the full reading Tim gave from his portfolio; watch the awards ceremony; and learn more about Sophie Kerr at:

Washing College

Washing College Student Newspaper - Sports Editor’s Goodbye - by Tim Marcin