ELMIRA — Jenna Cowder, of South Waverly, was one of several students recently recognized by the Center for Mark Twain Studies for the Annual Portraying Mark Twain Art Contest and the Mark Twain Essay Contest.

First place prizes for the two annual competitions were awarded to Morgan Mordini ‘22 and Alex Taylor ‘23.

Mordini’s winning piece in the Portraying Mark Twain Art Contest was a wintery photograph of the Mark Twain statue on the Elmira College campus, looking directly at Cowles Hall, the building where Twain’s wife, Livy, received part of her education.

Honorable mentions in the Art Contest were awarded to Max Lundin ‘22, Cowder ‘22, Brooke Shollenberger ‘23. Each student was awarded a monetary prize for their artistic and writing skills.

The 2020 Mark Twain Writing Contest winner is freshman art major Alex Taylor ‘23, who submitted a creative essay inspired by Mark Twain’s The War Prayer. After learning that many of Mark Twain’s novels and stories were illustrated by artists such as Lester Ralph (Eve’s Diary) and Truman Williams (Adventures of Tom Sawyer), Taylor decided to illustrate his own fictional letters from a 21st Century father and husband who was stationed somewhere in Syria.

Taylor wrote that he intended for the reader to think about soldiers in their own family, just as reading The War Prayer had caused him to think of soldiers who have been important to him in his own life.

The Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies was founded in January 1983 with the gift of Quarry Farm to Elmira College by Jervis Langdon, the great-grand-nephew of Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

The Center offers distinctive programs to foster and support Mark Twain scholarship and to strengthen the teaching of Mark Twain at all academic levels. The Center serves the Elmira College community and regional, national, and international students and scholars of Mark Twain.

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