MOUNT OLIVE – Senior English major Heath Radford of Pikeville recently presented his original short story “I Dreamed a Dream” at the Sigma Tau Delta 2013 International Convention in Portland, Oregon. His story was selected out of thousands of entries from Sigma Tau Delta members all over the United States. “I felt that my literary work was of a good quality since it had been chosen by English professors across the country to be presented at the convention,” said Radford. “The work came from the best within me, and to get the letter of acceptance meant that someone thought it was good.”
As the treasurer of the Alpha Epsilon Lambda chapter of Sigma Tau Delta at MOC, Radford was familiar with the annual convention. “I looked on the Sigma Tau Delta website one day and saw the convention link. I thought that I could try to send in something. I sat down, wrote my story and finally sent it in after many editing sessions. The rest is history.”
Radford’s “I Dreamed a Dream” was inspired by his love of Broadway musicals. “My story is about Michael Hartfield, a boy with no talent. He yearns to be a star on Broadway, but he knows it can never happen. He often escapes into dreams in which he is the star of a production. Eventually, he must choose to be the star of his own life or remain forever daydreaming.”
“A lot of the actions of the character in the story are very parallel to my own life,” Radford continued. “I used F. Scott Fitzgerald’s method of modeling characters and settings from real events and places in his life by writing about what I knew. Broadway has always had some sort of hold over me, and I love to get swept away in its lyrics, although I do not get to Michael’s extent.”
The thought of reading in front of such a large audience was at first daunting for Radford. “I will be honest and admit that I was a little nervous about presenting,” he admitted. “But once I stood at the podium and started reading my work, I let the story speak for itself, and the anxiety was vanquished.”
Radford got the chance to meet famous literary giants. “The big highlight of the convention was the featured authors, especially Ursula K. Le Guin, author of the Earthsea series and The Left Hand of Darkness.” He also got the chance to see the city of Portland for the first time in his life. “Portland was unforgettable. The sights and places were astounding. One of my favorite places was Powell’s Bookstore. The bookstore is a block long, and each section of the store is color coded. I went in to get one book and left with five.”
Radford is already preparing to visit the Sigma Tau Delta International Convention again next year in Savannah, Georgia. There are many more great stories he plans to present to the world. “I will definitely continue to write. I am currently working on a short story now, and two of my flash fictions have already been submitted to The Trojan Voices.”
Radford will graduate from University of Mount Olive in May. He was recently accepted into the graduate program at North Carolina Central University for Library Science.
University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville. For more information, visit www.moc.edu.