SOURCE: Green Mountain Power

June 17, 2008 10:11 ET

Enosburg Falls Man Wins Ralph Nading Hill Writing Contest

COLCHESTER, VT--(Marketwire - June 17, 2008) - Leif Tillotson of Enosburg Falls, Vermont is the winner of the 2008 Ralph Nading Hill, Jr. literary prize awarded annually by Green Mountain Power and Vermont Life magazine.

Mr. Tillotson's winning essay, titled "Earl's Barn," describes how an old barn in Bakersfield played a central role in Mr. Tillotson's youth, and the loss he felt when it burned down: "Sadly, I never took a photo of Earl's barn. It is still with me, though, when I smell hay on a summer day and find my thoughts back in the haymow, handling hay bales that were half the size of my childish stature."

Mary Hegarty Nowlan, one of the judges and editor of Vermont Life, commented, "Mr. Tillotson's essay was selected as the winner because his heartfelt story about the rise and fall of Earl's Barn speaks to larger truths about Vermont, our architectural heritage and the fragility of our way of life. It was a lovely read with characters and situations that rang true to many of the judges."

Mr. Tillotson, 39, an auto parts salesman and photographer, grew up in Bakersfield where there were more cows than people, and more people in his dorm at New York University than in his hometown.

"I have written other pieces for auto racing magazines," Mr. Tillotson adds. "But this is the first time I have written something outside of profiles of race car drivers. I had known about the contest for several years, but after the barn burned in 2007 I finally had something that I felt was worthy of entering. I wrote the story pretty quickly, as it was truly from the heart. There was no need to fictionalize anything. Everything in the story is true."

"The barn symbolized the childhood of myself and my two brothers," says Mr. Tillotson. "It really was where we learned to become men. The majority of our learning about mechanics, life and death, nature, and countless other life lessons occurred during our time at that farm. There is no question that we boys would be different people today if we had not spent so many years working on that farm."

"Earl's Barn" will be published in the fall issue of Vermont Life, which will be available in bookstores and on newsstands in late August.

Mr. Tillotson will receive a $1,500 prize for the essay. The literary prize is named for the late Ralph Nading Hill, Jr., a Vermont historian and writer and long-time member of Green Mountain Power's Board of Directors. Mr. Tillotson will receive the award at a ceremony to be held this summer. This is the twentieth year the literary prize has been awarded and Green Mountain Power will publish a book with all the winners of the first 20 years.

The Ralph Nading Hill literary prize is now considered by Vermont writers to be one of the state's premier literary prizes. Entries may include essays, short stories and poetry.

The selection was made by an independent panel of judges: Mary Hegarty Nowlan, editor of Vermont Life; Tom Slayton, past editor of Vermont Life; Tony Marro, retired executive editor of Newsday; Alison Freeland, a 1994 winner of the Ralph Nading Hill, Jr., award for her story, "Shadbush"; Brian Vachon, retired vice president of communications at National Life of Vermont and a former Vermont Life editor; and Steve Terry, retired Green Mountain Power senior executive.

The deadline for entries for this year's contest is November 15, 2008. The contest is open to all Vermont residents, including seasonal residents and college students enrolled in Vermont colleges. Entrants may be amateur or professional writers. The focus of the work must be "Vermont -- Its People, the Place, Its History or Its Values." Entries must be unpublished and less than 3,000 words long. Staff of Vermont Life or Green Mountain Power and previous winners are ineligible. Send entries to the Corporate Relations Department of Green Mountain Power, 163 Acorn Lane, Colchester, VT 05446.

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