Sydney Kim of Weston, Mass. has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity, a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to Wesleyan, worth as much as $200,000. Her submission, a short story titled, “The Driveway,” was selected by an all-star committee of Wesleyan alumni chaired by Hamilton writer/creator and former star Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ‘15 and director Thomas Kail ’99, from more than 550 entries. Kim attends Concord Academy, and will be a member of Wesleyan’s Class of 2022.
“This year’s submissions gave us insight into the minds of so many creative students,” said Miranda. “I admire their bravery in sharing who they are with the committee. Taking that leap isn’t easy. They are all inspiring.”
The Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity was established in honor of Miranda and Kail’s contributions to liberal education and the arts and named for the pair’s hit Broadway musical, Hamilton: An American Musical, which in 2016 won 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Book, and Best Original Score. The first Hamilton Prize was awarded to Audrey Pratt in May 2017.
“Hamilton: An American Musical has inspired and energized so many young people. Through this prize, we look forward to bringing promising new writers to Wesleyan, where they will find a community that encourages experimentation and values the sharing of creative work,” said Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth. “I can’t wait to see what these students produce with their Wesleyan educations.”
Kim’s “The Driveway” is a story about a young couple’s relationship and break-up, told in reverse through the lens of the main character’s best friend.
“This young writer ambitiously and successfully works with tone, narrative architecture, and emotional specificity,” said Simone White ’93, a poet and critic who served on the selection committee. “The result is a very sophisticated and deeply moving story.”
“These kids are all exceptional, but ‘The Driveway’ stood out as my favorite,” said committee member Carter Bays ’97, the co-creator, executive producer and writer of How I Met Your Mother. “It’s rare to see the messiness of a first heartbreak depicted so vibrantly, yet in a style that is so mature.”
In 2018, Wesleyan received more than 550 creative written work submissions—including short fiction, songs, drama, slam poetry, non-fiction prose, and more—for the Hamilton Prize. Faculty members reviewed entries, while an all-star, all-alumni selection committee judged finalists’ submissions on their originality, artistry and dynamism.
“I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to collaborate with this remarkable group of alumni in choosing this year’s Hamilton Prize recipient,” said Kail. “Her short story and the other submissions displayed amazing talent and originality. The future is bright for this next generation of Wes students.”
Learn more about the Hamilton Prize here.