York University undergraduate students were recognized for their work in poetry, short fiction, and screenwriting at the annual Creative Writing Program Awards ceremony, sponsored by the President’s Office and the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS).
The online ceremony held on May 24 honoured the 2021-2022 winning submissions. The event was organized by David Goldstein, creative writing program coordinator and associate professor of English, with support from staff members Kimberly Wilson, Rose Crawford and Marijana Gmitrovic.
“The awards ceremony is one of the highlights of our year in creative writing. Having the opportunity to honour students from the program and from all over campus for their fantastic writing is a thrill,” said Goldstein.
The LA&PS Creative Writing Awards honour majors and minors in the Creative Writing program. Most of the awards are supported by donations from York alumni and affiliated community members.
“It is so wonderful to see a group of students and teachers excited by the pursuit of good writing. I remember from personal experience that getting an honorable mention or possibly winning any writing contest can fuel a young writer for years,” said Jay Singer, a 1996 York English alum and donor of the Richard Teleky Prize.
The winners of the President’s Creative Writing Awards are:
Winner: Anike Morrison for “Swine [After Chad Abushanab’s ‘Custody Denied’]”
Honourable Mention: Justin Vanek for “My Love is like to Freshly Resurfaced Ice”
Short Fiction 2021-22
Winner: Matteo Cerilli for “The Reverb: A Ghost Story”
Honourable Mention: Theo Bow for “Mostly”
Stage Play 2021-22
Winner: Darla Deigratia for “Mother’s Daughter”
Honourable Mention: Janet Nguyen for “Can We Split the Bill”
Winner: Abigail Henderson for “Changing Seasons”
Honourable Mention: Christina Fernando for “BREEZEBLOCKS”
Daniel Whittaker-Van Dusen Prize for Emerging Poets 2021-22
The Daniel Whittaker-Van Dusen Prize for Emerging Poets is available for students whose work explores and challenges readers’ understanding of the world. The prize was established in memory of Whittaker-Van Dusen, a philosophy graduate who wrote poetry. His parents, Sheelagh Whittaker and Michael Van Dusen, both graduated from York University’s Schulich School of Business in 1975. Recipients receive a copy of Philosoflying, Dan’s first and only published work of poetry.
Winner: Matteo Cerilli for “Parkour Gym, October 6th” and Ivy deRege-Braga for “Circe”
Richard Teleky Short Fiction Prize 2021-22
The Richard Teleky Short Fiction Prize is awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student for a single, original, previously unpublished work of short fiction submitted as part of an annual competition. Singer graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English (Creative Writing) from York University in 1996. The award also honours Singer’s former York Professor Richard Teleky, who encouraged his pursuit of creative writing.
Winner: Clarisse Smith for “In a night”
Judith Eve Gewurtz Memorial Poetry Award 2021-22
Awarded for the best poem submitted by a creative writing major who is completing their third year of study (90 credits). The recipient must demonstrate financial need and be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or protected person and an Ontario resident.
Winner: Ben O’Connor for “In the Interest of Survival”
Honourable Mention: Jean Paul Mazlymian for “A Memory”
The Lorna Marsden Prize for Creative Writing in French 2021-22
The Lorna Marsden Prize for Creative Writing in French honours the best single creative work, of any genre, written in French by a York University undergraduate.
Winner: Suhana Rampersad for “Tandava, la danse des Hindous”
Honourable Mentions: Sara Youssef for “Manipulation: c’est le jeu de la culpabilisation” and Isabella Morency for “l’axe de l’existence”
Babs Burggraf Award in Creative Writing 2021-22
The Babs Burggraf Award in Creative Writing offers financial assistance to a fourth-year student majoring or minoring in creative writing with proven talent in short story writing. Faculty members in the program will nominate fourth-year students (successful completion of at least 84 credits) who have submitted short stories as part of their academic work for the session. The recipient must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or protected person, an Ontario resident and demonstrate financial need.
Winner: Andrei Topala
bpNichol Award 2021-22
This award, in the form of a book certificate, is given to an exceptional undergraduate student writer for accumulative achievement in creating writing. bpNichol was a Creative Writing teacher at York University. His untimely death in September 1988, was a tragedy for York University and the Canadian literary world. He was a winner of the Governor-General’s Award and a Fellow of Calumet College. To be eligible, students must be nominated each spring by an instructor in the Creative Writing program.
Winner: Matteo Cerilli
Sorbara Award in Creative Writing 2021-22
Awarded to students with proven talent and commitment in creative writing. Recipients must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents or protected persons, Ontario residents and demonstrate financial need. This award is made possible by the generous donation of Gregory and Kate Sorbara and their six children, all of whom have strong dedication to the creative arts and music.
Winner: Sakeina Syed
Stanley Fefferman Prize 2021-22
The Stanley Fefferman Prize in Creative Writing is awarded to the student who produces the best final class portfolio in an introductory creative writing course.
Winner: Jean Paul Mazlymian
Priscila Uppal Poetry Award 2021-22
The Priscila Uppal Poetry Prize has been created to benefit a fourth-year student majoring or minoring in Creative Writing. Recipients must demonstrate talent and achievement in poetry writing. Uppal (BA Hons, ’97, PhD ’04) was a poet, novelist and playwright and one of York University’s most distinguished teachers and writers. Uppal died of cancer on Sept. 5, 2018.
Winner: Ivy Derege-Braga
Adrienne Grago Memorial Prize 2021-22
The Adrienne Grago Memorial Prize for Short Fiction was established by Barbara Rasha Grago and Jennifer Hann in memory of Barbara’s daughter Adrienne Grago, who graduated from York University with a BA (Honours) in Creative Writing and English in 2007. This prize honours the best short story by a creative writing major who is completing their third year of study.
Winner: Lily Scriven