by Andrew Martin
Katherine Quimby (Johnson) is obviously overjoyed with her writing award! N.A. Nelson photo
Cambridge is the home to a writer who is quickly becoming known for the quality of her work. Resident Katherine Quimby was recently awarded the Norma Fox Mazer Memorial Award. This award is given to a student in their second or third semester at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, where Quimby is pursuing her Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Norma Fox Mazer was a longtime member of the faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and the award was established in her honor following her passing.
“Receiving the award came as a complete shock and surprise,” stated Quimby, “I feel incredibly honored. I had a chance to attend a workshop where Norma Fox Mazer was a co-leader, and I have a very strong memory of that workshop. It gives the award extra meaning for me.”
According to Quimby, she won the award after submitting the first 20 pages of her own young adult novel in October. She explained that her novel is about a high school senior basketball player in Vermont who has the chance to be the first member of his family to graduate. However, he can only graduate if he completes a fine arts class, and the only class that fits his schedule is dance. While Quimby only submitted the first 20 pages of her novel, she actually has a complete rough draft and will be revising it during the coming semester.
“I actually have been writing for children and young adults for about 20 years,” explained Quimby, who went on to explain that reading to her daughter was what got her started in the field, “It kick-started my creative thinking.”
Along with the honor of receiving the Norma Fox Mazer Award, there are also several benefits that come with being the recipient of it. The scholarship associated with the award will help fund the current semester for Quimby, who will have one semester left after completing this one. In addition, the 20 pages that she submitted for the scholarship will now be reviewed by the editor for Norma Fox Mazer, who was herself an author.
Quimby, who is an Adjunct Professor in the Professional Writing program at Champlain College and teaches a senior portfolio class there, has been working to improve her own writing over the past few years. She has attended a number of writing conferences and is a member and contributor to the League of Vermont Writers in addition to pursuing her MFA.
“I have known I wanted to earn a MFA over the last four or five years,” stated Quimby, “The time came, I applied, and I was happy to be accepted to the program.”
“The program has done so much for my writing and my professional life. Being able to continue to work while writing has been a real benefit,” she continued, “This is one of the best things I have ever done.”