Spencer Scholarship 2022September 22, 2022 (Jackson, Miss.) - Belhaven University will honor renowned writer and alum Elizabeth Spencer '41 by awarding four annual scholarships to creative writing and English students.

The Elizabeth Spencer Writing Awards were created to encourage students in creative writing and scholarly engagement with the literary works of Spencer. The four award categories will include fiction, nonfiction , poetry , and scholarly essay .

The annual scholarships are funded by Virginia Wicke Morris '67, a Pensacola, Fla. native and Belhaven Board of Trustee member. “Virginia had a vision to challenge current students to aim high by understanding the significance of alumni who have gone before them,” said Belhaven University President Dr. Roger Parrott. “Featuring the stellar literary work of Elizabeth Spencer will inspire Belhaven students to use their gifts at the highest level.”

During Spencer's lifetime, she published nine novels, one novella, seven collections of short stories, a memoir, and a play. She was a five-time recipient of the O. Henry Award for Short Fiction, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1957), and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among many other awards and recognitions.

Dr. Randy Smith, professor and chair of Belhaven's Creative Writing Department said, “These awards are a wonderful way to recognize excellent student writing at Belhaven each year. The gift from the Morris family is much appreciated and will continue to strengthen our writing program and our ability to recognize and award student accomplishments.”

The fiction, nonfiction, and poetry awards will be determined by faculty in Belhaven's Creative Writing Department and awarded in April during the Best of Belhaven Reading. The winning selections will be published in Belhaven's digital fine arts journal, The Brogue.

The scholarly essay award will be given annually to an undergraduate student nominated by faculty in Belhaven's English Department. The award is based on completion of an exemplary research essay regarding some aspect of Spencer's work. The essay may be written as part of a class that includes work by Spencer in the curriculum or written as a stand-alone project outside of coursework. The winning essay will be published in Belhaven's digital fine arts journal, The Brogue.