Jennifer O'Kieffe places first at writing awards

UCLA’s Jennifer O’Kieffe won first place in the 52nd annual Samuel Goldwyn writing awards for her script “Sex and Sylvia Plath.”

The kudo, which includes a $15,000 award, was announced Monday by Samuel Goldwyn Jr., president of the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation, during a ceremony at the UCLA Westwood campus.

O’Kieffe’s story centers on a death-obsessed 16-year-old girl who loses her virginity to a teenage boy — only to discover that her mother is also having an affair with him.

Second place went to “Buckbee,” by UCLA’s Michael Vukadinovich, about a precocious 11-year-old who models his junior high political career after President George W. Bush while dealing with his mother’s death and his eccentrically liberal father.

UCLA’s Mark C. Humphrey won third place for “Coup,” in which a struggling TV network greenlights a new reality series in which contestants take part in a coup d’etat in a small country.

First honorable mention went to “Zen Dog in the Clouds,” by Kevin P. Cramer of UC Riverside, in which a young soldier on leave from Iraq stumbles into a drug deal gone wrong in the mountains of Montana. Second honorable mention was awarded to “Room for Error,” by UCLA’s Andrea McCloud, in which an uptight accountant and her fun-loving mother are reunited after years of estrangement.

Judges were Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart, producer Cathy Schulman and director-writer-producer Joel Schumacher.

The awards were founded by Samuel Goldwyn Sr. in 1955 to encourage young writers. Previous winners include Allison Anders, Francis Ford Coppola, Pamela Gray, Colin Higgins, Eric Roth and Jonathan Kellerman.

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