A dozen York University students were recognized for their work in poetry, short fiction, screenwriting and stage writing at the 2015 President’s Creative Writing Awards and the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies’ (LA&PS) Creative Writing Program Awards ceremony on May 12.
“I see, here, our literary future,” said Martin Singer, dean of LA&PS, adding that the winners and honourable mentions will no doubt blossom in their careers and become well-known writers as many York alumni have in the past.
Creative Writing Program Coordinator Michael Helm MCed the event, which saw students, friends, families and faculty members gathered to celebrate excellence in creative writing at York.
“We are here to acknowledge the educational value of creativity and the centrality of creative expression to human experience,” said Helm.
Faculty members from the English, Creative Writing and Film departments judged the awards entries, with many noting that it was hard to select among such a talented group of students.
“I really enjoyed reading such lovely and strong poems,” said English Professor David Goldstein.
He was pleasantly surprised when he found out that one of his students, Akash Bansal, was the winner in the Poetry category. Bansal’s poem, “Foreplay and Oranges off the Coast of Florida,” deals with complex geopolitical issues through the eyes of a young, enthusiastic and thoughtful speaker.
“I was doing research on Guantanamo Bay and decided to write a poem comparing my childhood here in Canada to what life would be like for a young prisoner such as Omar Khadr,” said Bansal, a fourth-year double-major student in screenwriting and creative writing.
The following is the list of winners of the 2015 President’s Creative Writing Awards:
Winner: Madeleine Patton for Night Windows
Honourable mention: Robert Apetagon
Winner: James Kenny for La Douleur Exquise
Winner: Akash Bansal for “Foreplay and Oranges off the Coast of Florida”
Honourable mentions: JR Enriquez Amparado and Carla Buckingham
Winner: Madeleine Patton for Lowest Prices Guaranteed
Honourable mention: Kate Hobbs
The following were the winners of the LA&PS Creative Writing program awards:
Babs Burggraf Award in Creative Writing
Winner: Jennifer Hunt
The Babs Burggraf Award in Creative Writing offers financial assistance to a fourth-year student majoring in creative writing with proven talent and achievement in the area of short story writing. Faculty members in the program nominate students who have submitted short stories as part of their academic work for the session.
Judith Eve Gewurtz Memorial Poetry Award
Winner: Yasmina Jaksic
The Judith Eve Gewurtz Memorial Poetry Award was established and presented by York humanities Professor Margo Gewurtz in memory of her daughter Judith, honouring the best poem by a creative writing major who is completing his or her third year of study.
Sorbara Award in Creative Writing
Winner: JR Enriquez Amparado
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, a former Ontario finance minister, is a graduate of York’s Glendon College and Osgoode Hall Law School. This award was established to provide financial assistance to students with proven talent and commitment in the area of creative writing.
Winner: Emma Beckett
The bpNichol 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
Winner: Kate Hobbs
The Sylvia Ellen Hersch Memorial Award was established in memory of Seymour Hersch’s late wife, who graduated from York with a degree in creative writing. The award offers financial assistance to a fourth-year student majoring in creative writing with proven talent, achievement and commitment in the area of creative writing. Faculty members in the program nominate fourth-year students based on their academic work for the session.
Lorna Marsden Prize
Winner: Frederico de Paiva
The Lorna Marsden Prize has been established to honour a York student who writes what is deemed the most accomplished and persuasive creative work written in French poetry, short fiction, short drama or in the mixed genres.