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University of Colorado Denver

College of Arts & Media

Bragging Rights 2007-08:

Craig Volk


Craig Volk Wins 2007 PENN Center Award

Craig VolkThe LA Observed, an online journal of Loss Angeles media, announced Craig Volk has won the 2007 PENN CENTER USA’s  “Best in the West” competition, drama category, for his original play, Mayakoksky Takes the Stage.  A debut run of Mayakosky occurred in the King Center’s Eugenia Rawls Courtyard Theatre during February and March, 2006.

The play takes audiences inside the life and mind of Vladimir Mayakovsky, artist, playwright, and leading poet during the Russian Revolution of 1917.  Mayakovsky, a passionate and disturbed man who led a life of public disobedience and passionate love, succumbed to the critical beatings of his work in 1930 when he committed suicide by revolver.  The darkly humored play originally began as an epic screenplay not even the most patient agent would read.  Set in two acts, it uses original and witty dialogue alongside snippets of Mayakovsky’s most famous poetic works.  Research for both cinematic and theatrical versions took almost ten years.

Craig Volk, an assistant professor in the Theatre, Film, and Video Department, was a staff writer for the hit television series, Northern Exposure, and has written pilots for ABC and CBS, as well as a feature film for Showtime while he was under contract at Viacom.  His past projects with students enrolled in his scriptwriting and screenwriting classes have shown his ability to educate and demonstrate excellent capabilities: Mayakovsky Takes the Stage should do nothing less than the same.

From the web site:

PEN Center USA’s annual awards program, established in 1982, is a unique, regional, “Best in the West” competition that recognizes literary excellence in ten categories: fiction, creative nonfiction, research nonfiction, poetry, children’s literature, translation, journalism, drama, teleplay, and screenplay. Each fall, PEN USA calls for submissions of work produced or published in that calendar year by writers living west of the Mississippi River. Entries in the ten categories are reviewed and judged by panels of distinguished writers, critics and editors. Winners are announced in June and they receive $1,000 cash prizes and are honored at the annual Literary Awards Festival in October/November in Los Angeles.

The Literary Awards Festival evening includes a dinner, the presentation of the competitive literary awards and the honoree awards, and a silent auction or raffle. This gala event is attended by more than 500 writers and readers. Past recipients of the Award of Honor and Lifetime Achievement Award include: Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Ray Bradbury, Otis Chandler, Betty Friedan, Robert Towne, Octavia E. Butler, Carolyn See, Kevin Starr, and Billy Wilder. The highlight of the evening is the presentation of the prestigious Freedom to Write Award, given to men and women who have produced work in the face of extreme adversity, who have been punished for exercising their freedom of expression, or who have fought against censorship and defended the right to publish freely.

Photo above of Craig Volk: Clinton T. Sander, photographer and alumnus of UC Denver