Business student’s fiction story lands writing award


It may seem that English majors would be the default winners of writing awards since they carefully study the craft. However, that wasn’t the case for the latest Fuller Fiction Award, which is awarded each year by Bloomsburg University’s Department of English for the best short fiction story.

Clayton Newton, an international business and marketing major, saw his story “Heading West” — informed and inspired by his brother’s experience in the AmeriCorps and as a firefighter — take home the literary prize.

Drawing from this familial source, Newton, from Jersey Shore, wrote the award-winning short story of young man Henry finding his way with his friend Wes. Disillusioned with AmeriCorps management, they decide to become hotshot crew members that quench wildfires out west. They soon realize they may have got over their heads. Newton explains that the story was written by the character’s responses to obstacles.

The Fuller Fiction Award is named in honor of former faculty member, Lawrence “Ben” Fuller. It was established when creative writing was established as a major and minor. There are also other awards for other creative writing, including the Savage Poetry Award and Ballie Award for Creative Nonfiction.

The winner is chosen blindly by judges outside the creative writing faculty. The winners receive $150 from the BU Foundation and their work published in the Warren student literary journal. The launch event for the journal is April 26, at 6 p.m. in the Haas Art Gallery.

Newton also works for the Writing and Literacy Engagement Studio (WALES) on campus and cites his work there as part of his success.

“Helping others with their writing has taught me to be a better writer, notably to be clear and concise,” Newton says, “My business background doesn’t factor heavily into my writing, but I try to gauge how a potential ‘market’ will receive something.”

His previous experience as a social media intern at Sekisui, an international plastics manufacturer with a location in Bloomsburg, likely has also helped him hone his writing skills. He has also previously written for the BU student newspaper “The Voice” about keeping a house clean with roommates.

Although Newton plans on going into a business career, he has stated he is interested in writing for personal reasons. During his internship, he met a BU alumnus who also worked at WALES, and she expressed interest in writing a book. “I’m interested in working on personal writing projects.” Newton says, “I would like to write letters within my family from time to time and reflect upon important life experiences.”

“My father wants to write a book, and I would like to help him. I would also like to try motivational speaking, and the writing process would help me develop that, “ Clayton says.

Newton also appreciates the work and assistance of Anne-Dyer Stuart, a faculty member in the Department of English, who teaches several classes, including Foundation of College Writing, Intro to Creating Writing and Literature. In addition, the extensive list of English classes she teaches, she has won numerous writing awards. Newton credits Stuart with helping him get his job at WALES. When time for submitting writing for awards came around, she encouraged him to send in his short story.

Where Newton’s writing takes him next will be the next chapter of his story.