Twelve students named LA&PS Writing Prize winners

Twelve students from across the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) were recognized as winners of the annual LA&PS Writing Prize on Nov. 27. The students were honored for their outstanding work by Associate Dean (Students) Peter Avery during a recognition ceremony.

Avery congratulated the winners in front of a gathering of students’ family members and professors in a reception at the Second Student Centre. There, each student was recognized, and the adjudicators’ comments concerning their submission were read aloud.

LA&PS Writing Prize winners pictured with faculty members during the reception

The 2018-19 winners featured finalists from both sides of the LA&PS ampersand, from the Humanities Department to the Department of Social Science. This year, the competition featured entries from Fall/Winter 2017 and Fall/Winter 2018, to compensate for the labour disruption of two summers ago.

“We continue to get some really amazing papers,” noted the competition’s co-ordinator Professor Jon Sufrin. “My personal favourite this year was a paper on Viking magic, but we saw a wide variety of submissions, from formal writing to personal essays. The judges had a particularly difficult decision given the high quality of entrants this year.”

For the Fall/Winter 2017 and 2018 competition, the winners were:

  • First-year honourable mention: Michelle Molubi, “Violence Against Black Queer People: The Intersections of Antiblackness and Antiqueerness in North American Society,” from HUMA 1300, Cultures of Resistance in the Americas: The African American Experience, taught by Professor Andrea Davis.
  • First-year honourable mention: Sivana Vythilingum, “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” from WRIT 1700A, Writing: Process and Practice. Course director: Kerry Doyle.
  • First-year winner: Robert Gibbs, Shailee Peck, “Misogynistic presence in Cellini’s Vita & the works of Machiavelli,” from HUMA 1125, Medieval and Renaissance Civilizations, taught by Professor Thomas Cohen.
  • Second-year honourable mention: Noorin Pattni, “Angola’s Challenges,” from SOSC 2800, International Development in Comparative and Historical Perspective, taught by Associate Professor Merouan Mekouar.
  • Second-year honourable mention: Vincent Rizzo, “The Mission Before the Escape,” from WRIT 2710, Grammar & Proofreading, taught by Frances Maranger (TA) and Dunja Baus (course director).
  • Second-year winner: Gil Segev, “Homme Improvement,” from WRIT 2004, Writing in Digital Cultures, taught by Associate Professor Andrea McKenzie.
  • Third-year honourable mention: Jerome Paul, “The Comedy of Tragedy in Good Night, Desdemona and Cloud 9,” from EN 3191, Comedy, taught by contract faculty member Aida Jordao.
  • Third-year honourable mention: Chris Paulin, “In Time We Hate That Which We Often Fear,” from HIST 3843, Occupation, Collaboration and Death: A Social and Military History of the Second World War to 1944, taught by Associate Professor Deb Neill.
  • Third-year winner: Ranfateh Chattha, “State Management and Private Enterprise in the Grain Supply of Ancient Rome,” from HIST 3140, The City in the Roman World, taught by Associate Professor Ben Kelly.
  • Fourth-year honourable mention: Olivia Quenneville, “The Counterfeit Clothing Wars,” from WRIT 4002, Periodical Writing and Publishing Practicum, taught by Paul McLaughlin (course director).
  • Fourth-year honourable mention: V. M. Roberts, “Misjöfn Verks: Gendered division of labour and social/instrumental power in the Viking Age,” from HIST 4990, History of Technology, taught by Associate Professor Margaret Schotte.
  • Fourth-year winner: Joseph Yachimec, “Dreams of the Merchant-King: Sidewalk Toronto as Neoliberal Project," from POLS 4404, Politics and Cultures of Neoliberal Urbanism, taught by Associate Professor Karen Bridget Murray.

There were no entrants in the category of Major Research Project.

Both the winning essays and the adjudicators comments can be found online, in the Fall/Winter 2017 and Fall/Winter 2018 YorkSpace Repository for the LA&PS Writing Prize. The winners also received transcript notations, certificates and cash prizes.

Each year, the Faculty invites course directors to submit outstanding essays in any field but creative writing. The submissions are collected and organized by Writing Department staff into year levels (first to fourth year), with a special category for major research projects and undergraduate theses included.

Then, small teams of full-time writing faculty (each responsible for a category) review the submissions. Using criteria of originality, research, expression (style, structure etc.) and overall significance, the teams choose a winner and a runner-up for each level of the competition.

In Fall/Winter 2017 and 2018, the competition received more than 65 entries written in many different styles and on a wide variety of topics. Some departments held their own internal competitions first, to nominate their strongest submissions to the Faculty-level competition.

The Fall/Winter 2019 LA&PS Writing Competition, open to papers from summer 2019 to winter 2020 will open in April 2020.

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