CVPA takes the Winesett Book Collecting Awards

Judges and award winners of the 2016 Winesett Book Competition. L to r: Frank Napolitano, Bethany Mott, Carlee Bradbury, Leslie King, Anthony Kaseoru and Aaron Spelbring. Photo by Andrew Ross.

Once Dean Steve Helm presented the final award of the 2016 Winesett Book Collecting Awards, it turns out the top three winners have two things in common. They are graduate students and are all majoring in fields within the Radford University College of Visual and Performing Arts. The winners are Anthony Kaseoru, Leslie King and James Harmon.

The Winesett Book Collecting Awards are an annual competition hosted by McConnell Library where Radford University students submit essays about their personal book collections. The Hazel Grove Winesett Endowment funds the awards.

The McConnell Library’s third floor event space was the setting for the award ceremony Nov. 15, 2016, for which Helm was the master of ceremonies. To kick off the events Aaron Spelbring, head of Archives and Special Collections, gave remarks on the special collections within the university’s archives. Then Carlee Bradbury, associate professor of art, and Frank Napolitano, associate professor of English, discussed recent illuminated manuscripts acquisitions to the library.

The introduction of the Winesett Book Collecting judges followed. These were Bradbury, Napolitano and Spelbring. Jolanta Wawrzycka, professor of English, and Bethany Mott, Resource Sharing Librarian Library and event organizer, joined them.

First place went to Kaseoru, a music therapy graduate student, for his essay “Personal Archives,” reminding readers of how books can unite generations of family members even though they have never met. His collection shows his deep and emotional connection to Estonia’s people, its land and its stories.

“In his essay I really felt his need to connect with his ancestors and cultural heritage; a sense felt by many first and second-generation children of immigrants to not lose the knowledge of what made the homeland special,” said a judge about Kaseoru’s work.

King, an MFA student studying photography and printmaking, won second place for “The Ones Not Left Behind: A Wayward Book Collection.”

“In describing her collection, King presents a meditation on the physicality of collecting and preservation,” said a judge. “She presents both the joy of her books as memories and also the heartbreak of those lost along the way. She taps into the materiality of the books in her collection, describing them as artifacts.”

Design Thinking graduate student James Harmon received third place for his collection of books that relate to his current studies. The title of his essay was “Design Thinking.”

“Design books opened to him a world of ‘great tastemakers,’” one judge said in response to Harmon’s collection. “His takeaway from studying them is: ‘even if things aren’t so great, planting a beautiful garden or setting a pretty table can’t help but make the situation a little better. And what a nice gift to share with loved ones!’ Studying these books is ‘a way of holding at bay the confusion, chaos and darkness in the world.’”

A special honorable mention was given to non-CVPA student Robert Anderson Williams, a junior in economics.

Kaseoru is now eligible to compete in the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest this coming spring.

For more information about the Winesett Book Collecting Competition visit the competition website.

Dec 8, 2016