Student writers honoured for their creativity

Above: (Front row, from left) Prof. Priscila Uppal; Stephanie Law; Seymour Hersch, prize donor; Adrienne Grago; Lorna R. Marsden, president & vice-chancellor. (Back row, from left) Claire Kelly, Tania Franco, Carla Coimbra, Claudia Stoicescu, Lara Stokes, Kristen Rose, Justin Joschko, Robert Bolton, Ana Juric, Brent Delaney, Melissa Major.

English and humanities students from York’s Faculty of Arts gathered for the annual President’s Creative Writing Awards event on March 14 to celebrate their achievements and recognize the support of the generous donors who helped establish the awards.

Professor Priscila Uppal, the program director, who is stepping down for a sabbatical next year, took the microphone for the last time on what she called “the happiest day of the year for creative writing students.” Uppal, along with Lorna R. Marsden, York president & vice-chancellor, presented 12 prizes to young writers for their work in various genres.

Marsden thanked the program sponsors, and congratulated all the student writers, saying she hopes to see them attending events such as the Giller Prize and the Writers Trust Awards in the future.

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


Kristen Rose, co-winner, "In Thanksgiving"
Carla Coimbra, co-winner, "Aunt Dot Said Aunt Flow’s in Town / Aunt Rose is Visiting Aunt Ruby"
Honourable Mention: Claire Kelly, "Ear to the Ground"

Prose Fiction

Adrienne Grago, winner, "Trivia"
Honourable Mentions: Claudia Stoicescu, "Gina"; Ana Juric, "Broken Woman"


Brent Delaney, winner, "Churchill’s Last Stand"


Melissa Major, co-winner, "Kicking and Smiling"
Stephanie Law, co-winner, "Cancer and Carnivores"

Book Review Prize

Robert Bolton, winner

Faculty of Arts Creative Writing Awards

bp nichol Award (Gift Certificate): Lara Stokes

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): Kristen Rose

Above: Adam Dinoff (Mr. Hersch’s grandson), Maxine Dinoff (Mr. Hersch’s daughter), Edwin Hersch (Mr. Hersch’s son), Kristen Rose, Seymour Hersch, Priscila Uppal, Rachael Dinoff (Mr. Hersch’s granddaughter), Randi Kwinta

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 in Creative Writing ($2,500): Justin Joschko

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): Tania Franco

This award offers financial assistance for the best poem by a creative writing major who is completing their third year of study.

Right: from left, Professor Margo Gewurtz, Tania Franco, Dr. Shalom Gewurtz

Richard Teleky Prize for Editorial Excellence ($250): Claire Kelly

This is the first year for this prize, which was donated by Prof. Uppal in honour of Prof. Richard Teleky. The prize recognizes the contributions made by those who collaborate with their peers and offer editorial guidance. Prof. Uppal hopes the award will be established as an annual prize.