Guilford man wins Vermont Writers' Prize

11 March 2014

COLCHESTER, Vt - Michael Nethercott is the winner of the 2014 Vermont Writers’ Prize.  His story “An Empire at Twilight” reveals an elderly man’s close connection to land that has been in his family for generations.  The Vermont Writers’ prize is awarded by Green Mountain Power and Vermont Magazine.

Mr. Nethercott’s winning story starts as the main character is showing his family’s land to an out-of-state couple purchasing it:
      “The sky was growing dusky, and a strong autumn wind breathed down upon them. A clear, singular thought came to Monroe: This may be the last time I stand on this ridge and feel the wind against my face. It was an odd thing to contemplate. He had lived his whole life here, and five generations of Breckers had called this place home.”

 Mr. Nethercott said he was inspired to write this story by the different perspectives in Guilford. “Many in my community have deep connections to the land, while other people are more recent additions.  I wanted to acknowledge the different views, but also show that love of the land and state can be something everyone has in common.”

Phil Jordan, editor of Vermont Magazine, commented the story grabbed the judges with its crisp and authentic writing. “The story had a wonderful sense of time and place, capturing the essence of Vermont in a way that people both in and out of Vermont can relate to.”

 Mr. Nethercott has lived in New York and all the New England states except Rhode Island before moving to Vermont. In addition to writing in several different genres, he has worked as a clown, storyteller, actor and co-owner of a cooperative natural food restaurant. Mr. Nethercott is the author of the novel The Séance Society.

    Mr. Nethercott will receive a $1,500 prize for the short story. The Prize was created to honor the literary legacy of the late Ralph Nading Hill, Jr., a Vermont historian and writer and long-time member of Green Mountain Power's Board of Directors. It is considered by Vermont writers to be one of the state’s premier literary prizes. There were more than 275 submissions from writers in 106 Vermont towns.

 The selection was made by an independent panel of judges: Phil Jordan, editor of Vermont Magazine; Tony Marro, retired executive editor of Newsday; Alison Freeland, a 1994 winner of the Ralph Nading Hill, Jr., award; Brian Vachon, retired vice president of communications at National Life of Vermont and a former Vermont Life editor; Suzanne Loring, a writer at The Stern Center for Language and Learning and committee member of the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award; and Steve Terry, retired Green Mountain Power senior executive.  

“An Empire at Twilight” is published in the March/April issue of Vermont Magazine, which is on newsstands now.

The deadline for this year's Vermont Writers’ Prize is November 1, 2014. The contest is open to all Vermont residents. Entrants may be amateur or professional writers. Submissions may include essays, short stories and poetry that focus on Vermont--its people, the place, its history or its values. Entries must be unpublished and less than 1,500 words long. Individuals may submit only one entry.  Employees of Vermont Magazine or Green Mountain Power and previous winners are ineligible.

 Entries should be mailed to Vermont Writers’ Prize, c/o Green Mountain Power, 163 Acorn Lane, Colchester, VT  05446. All submissions will be acknowledged with a postcard within 30 days after they have been received.  Entries must be accompanied by a cover sheet that can be downloaded at www.greenmountainpower.com and at www.Vermontmagazine.com.

About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.com) generates, transmits, distributes and sells electricity in the state of Vermont. The company, which serves more than 250,000 customers, is the Solar Electric Power Association’s 2013 Utility of the Year, and has set its vision to be the best small company in America. 


 Contact: Dorothy Schnure, 802-655-8418, or Dorothy.Schnure@greenmountainpower.com