Creative writing students receive President’s Prizes

York Creative Writing Program winners 2005

Above: From front left, donor Seymour Hersch and his daughter Maxine Hersch; donor Margo Gewurtz, master of Founders College; Fay Smailes; Stephanie Law; Chenoa Marshall; Jo Panton; Kelsey Carriere; and Professor Priscila Uppal. Second row, from left: Matt Shaw, Andrew Nicholas McCann Smith XII, Heath Flint, Jamie Matechuk, Josh Atkinson, and Brent Delaney 

Members of York’s Creative Writing Program gathered at the Underground last month to recognize students’ work by presenting a variety of awards, including the annual President’s Prizes for the best poems, stories, plays and screenplays, and creative writing scholarships and bursaries.

Priscila Uppal, professor of English literature in York’s Division of Humanities, Faculty of Arts, who teaches in the program, organized the event in collaboration with York’s Office of the President.

The Creative Writing Program emphasizes writing for literary works such as novels, short stories, plays and screenplays, comic books, interactive stories and hypertext documents, to name just some of the genres that involve fictional or imaginative elements. The program introduces students to the forms and styles of writing that authors, past and present, have created and explored in their works. It also exposes young writers to the history of formal experimentation, and specialization in one or two genres, such as fiction and poetry, is encouraged.

Following is the list of winners as well as those who received honourable mention. For more information on individual prizes, visit the awards search page on the Student Financial Services Web site.

President’s Prizes


Winner: Matt Shaw ,”To Several People and Characters”
Honourable Mentions: Jamie Matechuk, “Fire in the Museum”; Chenoa Marshall, “Modern Secretary”; Andrew Nicholas McCann Smith XII, “Eileen”

Prose Fiction
: Jamie Matechuk, “The Brown Fox Jumps Over the Fence”; Heath Flint, “Freezing Tag”
Honourable Mentions: Fay Smailes, “Les Poupees”; Jacob Scheier-Schwartz, “Chapter 3”

: Josh Atkinson, “Happy Sorrow”

: Stephanie Law, “Girls of Kensington”; Brent Delaney, “Snowflakes”

Among the honours distributed at the March 15 event were several scholarships and bursaries recognizing creative writing, awarded through York’s Student Financial Services office. Below is a description of each award and the 2005 recipient:

bp nichol Award (Gift Certificate): Jamie Matechuk
The bp nichol Award is named after the experimental poet who taught at York in the 1970s and early 1980s before his untimely death in 1988. The award is for a graduating student who has developed the most over the course of the program.

Sylvia Ellen Hersch Memorial Award ($500): Matt Shaw
The Sylvia Ellen Hersch Memorial Award offers financial assistance to a fourth-year student majoring in creative writing with proven talent, achievement and commitment.

Sorbara Award ($2,500): Jo Panton, Heath Flint
The Sorbara Award is sponsored by Gregory and Kate Sorbara and their six children, all of whom have a strong dedication to the creative arts and music. Gregory Sorbara is a graduate of York’s Glendon College and Osgoode Hall Law School, and is now Ontario’s finance minister. The Sorbara Award in Creative Writing was established to provide financial assistance to students with proven talent and commitment in the area of creative writing.

Judith Eve Gewurtz Memorial Poetry Award ($600): Kelsey Carriere
This award offers financial assistance for the best poem by a creative writing major who is completing the third year of study.