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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Poet Creates Elvis Meets Einstein Award

Poet D.C. Berry created the Elvis Meets Einstein Award Fund to provide income each year to two deserving students in the Department of English’s Master of Fine Arts program. He hopes UM alumni and friends will step forward with gifts of their own to build the endowment from its present value of $63,000 to $100,000 for awards in an annual writing contest for prose and poetry.

“I was reading Albert Einstein quotations at the time, and they were funny,” Berry recalled. “Then Elvis’ song Burning Love came on, and I thought, let’s just call it ‘Elvis Meets Einstein for Writing a Whole Lotta Funny and a Hunka Smart.’ That name would draw a lot of attention to the program. I wanted something that would resonate for as long as people know our friends Albert and Elvis.”

Berry requires entries in the Elvis Meets Einstein Award writing contest to be funny, smart and concise, no more than one page in length.

“Aspiring writers need to understand that their work is, above all, a form of entertainment,” Berry said. “It has to draw in the reader from the first line because there are so many types of entertainment now. If you give (a young writer) $3,000 for writing one page that’s funny and smart, he or she will find an audience.”

Inaugural contest winners Christopher Allen of Pollok, Texas, and Kevin Fitchett of Green Bay, Wis., read their work on the Thacker Mountain Radio program at Off Square Books in Oxford.

The Elvis Meets Einstein Award Fund is open to receive gifts from individuals and organizations. To provide a gift, mail a check with the fund noted to the University of Mississippi Foundation, P.O. Box 249, University, MS 38677, visit, or contact Denson Hollis at 662-915-5092 or

For a video of the prose winner, visit