Undergraduate Award Winners

Undergrad Collage

The Department of English would like to proudly present the 2021-2022 Undergraduate Award Winners. Expand on each award name to learn more about the winners

English Society Creative Writing Award for Poetry

Tom Johnston

Title: A Man Revisits His Childhood Home

Adjudicators' comments:

This writer writes Poetry. The power in this selection lies in its evocation of another world, blending images of the familiar with the strange (“when the fog spreads along the ground like a high school play”), and combining generic smarts and inventive figuration to frame the writer’s vision as prophecy, description, theory, reminiscence, and invitation. This is to make the most of what is latent in the notion of poiesis, the most creative genre of them all.

English Society Creative Writing Award for Prose

Nicole Cao
Nicole Cao

Title: The Ink Boat

Adjudicators' comments:

This mature and assured prose fiction brings together the weird and the everyday beautifully. The power of writing to call things into being comes across in what is probably fair to call a calligraphic style, gestural and yet exact.

The Albert Shaw Poetry Prize

Tom Johnston


"In Order to Prevent the Collapse of One’s Living Space"

"Poems for my Grandfather"

"Messages I’ve Sent to Women on Dating Apps"

Adjudicators' comments:

The poetry has a lovely surreality to it with unusual and surprising imagery and diction as well as impressive range in form, style, and content. “Poems for my grandfather” is particularly moving for its incisive honesty, capacity to embrace limitation and contradiction, and its mature craft.

Masternak Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship in English

Victoria Lumax
Ritika Puri
Ritika Puri || Victoria Lumax

About the award:

This scholarship is awarded annually to full-time undergraduate students and is based on academic excellence.

Co-op Work Report Award

Emily Doyle

Title: Translingualism and Linguistic Diversity in Academia

Emily's report on "Translingualism and Linguistic Diversity in Academia” was a succinct, richly developed exploration into the prejudices around language which impacts multi-lingual students. It engaged with a wide range of scholarship, ultimately providing targeted and valuable recommendations for professors in the classroom.

Wajiha Parvez
Wajiha Parvez Nayani

Title: Inclusive Terminology: Combatting Implicit Bias in Technical Documentation

Adjudicators' comments:

Wajiha's document, "Inclusive Terminology: Combatting Implicit Bias in Technical Documentation" exemplifies the report genre with exceptional attention to detail in parallelism, structure, and form. The paper uses strong prose to present a considerate and dynamic recommendation and conclusion.

Walter R. Martin English 251 Award

Emma Smith

Adjudicators' comments:

A skilled application of literary concepts gleaned from ENGL 251 combined with a precise and stylish expression that is a pleasure to read.

The Hibbard Prize for Shakespeare Studies

Erin Christine Froud
Erin Froud

Title: The Twisting of the Shrew: Maria Edgeworth and Othello

Adjudicators' comments:

"The Twisting of the Shrew: Maria Edgeworth and Othello" is an original consideration of the gender politics of Shakespeare's play. Drawing on Maria Edgeworth's late eighteenth-century spoof of "the husband as enemy" in "An Essay on the Noble Science of Self-Justification", the author cleverly examines Othello for examples of the rhetorical devices that Edgeworth satirically proposes for dealing with threatening husbands. The essay concludes on a down-beat note, observing in the case of Desdemona that such rhetoric can fail.

Click here to see Erin's work The Hibbard Prize for Shakespeare Studies - Erin Christine Froud

The Canadian Literature Prize

Yvan Deslauriers
Yvan Deslauriers

Title: The Decolonial Dialogical Potentials of Fiction: Examining the power and significance of Indigenous literature(s) through Tracey Lindberg’s Birdie

Adjudicators' comments:

An excellent essay that offers a fully articulated consideration of the narrative power of indigenous texts. Engaging an ample range of theoretical resources and positions, the author reveals how texts such as Tracey Lindberg’s Birdie can actively undermine delusional settler self-certainty and contribute to exerting appropriate pressure on hegemonic discourses or legal decision-making.

The Award in American Literature and Culture

Rachel Zehr
Rachel Zehr

Title: Dialogical Creativity in the Question of American Identity: Johnson and Fitzgerald Awaken Desire through Lack

Adjudicators' comments:

In “Dialogical Creativity in the Question of American Identity: Johnson and Fitzgerald Awaken Desire through Lack” the author ably considers longing in relation to the protagonists of two novels, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man. Positing the fixation on lack contributes to the sense of simmering unfulfilled desire which undergirds both texts, the author productively argues for the ways in which a Lacanian reading opens up our sense of that desire, simultaneously forwarding a critique of the capitalism and measures of success valorized within both books.

The Rhetoric and Digital Design Award

Lal Sekercioglu || Sharon Seegobind || Han Xiang Sun || Tiffany Shen   

Sharon Seegobind
Lal Sekercioglu

Title: Echo Chambers

Adjudicators' comments:

This infographic provides a nuanced illustration of the concept of "echo chambers." It is well designed and provides a very fluid viewing experience. The designer (s) use the text to track the chamber effect concept in a visually innovative way. This is a really strong design that does a great job of reflecting the complexities of the theoretical concept they are illustrating. This work is of a professional quality, and is a wonderful example of the exceptional quality of digital media production abilities amongst our undergraduates, as well as the strong critical media scholarship that students bring to their design work. Exceptional work!

Click here to see their work The Rhetoric and Digital Design Award - Lal Sekercioglu, Sharon Seegobind, Han Xiang Sun, Tiffany Shen

The Rhetoric and Professional Writing Award

Ana-Sanziana Beschia
Ana Sanziana

Title: Dracula, or the Undead. By Bram Stoker. Scene 3 edited.

Adjudicators' comments:

Using an original play-script as sole witness and minimal help from the novel as reference source for additional help with transitions, this edition is an adaptation of scene 3 of Stoker's Dracula, or The Undead play-script. The new script has been edited and adapted for actors to work and rehearse with and aims to recreate a clear script that respects and matches what Stoker would have had in mind for his actors at the time yet did not get to finish himself. The introductory materials convey the general principles that guided the production of the edition and explain specific editorial choices. The layout is clear and suited to the purpose of the edition. But most notably, it is impossible not to be truly engaged by this new text, as well as the ways the author reveals their sophisticated editorial thought process.

Anna Maria Brokalakis
Anna Maria Brokalaki

Title: The silent streets of Crete

Adjudicators' comments:

This gallery guide to an exhibit by realist painter Ioanna Planakis for The Oden Wagner Gallery is as beautiful, timeless, stately, and detailed as the paintings it features. The work is cleanly designed, with strategic use of negative space to highlight titles and consistent visual design across the pages. The student has clearly invested time to get to know the artwork, the artist, and the gallery. The colours work well and the typeface choices are strong. The prose is clean and informative. The result is a truly professional product.

Click here to see Anna's Work The Rhetoric and Professional Writing Award - Anna-Maria Brokalakis

Andrew James Dugan Prize in Rhetoric and Professional Writing Award

Sarah Casey
Sarah Casey


Adjudicators' comments:

In this timely paper, the author explores the construction of risk during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employing an ambitious theoretical lens, the author systematically parses the rhetorical contours of the Ontario Government’s press releases concerning its public schools. The author convincingly argues that the Ontario Government individualized risk, and raises important questions about what is at stake when individual action is prioritized over collective action.

Click here to see Sarah's work Andrew James Dugan Prize in Rhetoric and Professional Writing Award - Sarah Casey

Erin Christine Froud
Erin Froud

Title: Leetspeak: The Other Internet Code

Adjudicators' comments:

7h15 3554y 15 4m0n9 7h3 m057 1n7323571n9 4nd 3n732741n1n9 w3 h4v3 234d 1n 4 10n9 71m3. [Leet for 'This essay is among the most interesting and entertaining we have read in a long time.'] The author explains, contextualizes, and celebrates this new slang-orthography, motivated and deployed very much like the famous examples of Cockney Rhyming Slang and Pachuco but adapted to text-heavy digital environments. The essay demonstrates the very best merger of scholarly precision and lucid knowledge mobilization. 824v0! [Bravo!]

Click here to see Erin's work Andrew James Dugan Prize in Rhetoric and Professional Writing Award

Andrew James Dugan Prize in Literature Award

Rachel Zehr
Rachel Zehr

Title: The Interconnected Community as Ethical Response in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “The Cry of the Children” and George Eliot’s Silas Marner

Adjudicators' comments:

The winner of this year’s Dugan Prize for Literature aptly demonstrates the value of close reading. Focusing on specifics of language and structure in Barrett Browning’s “The Cry of the Children” and Eliot’s Silas Marner, the author of this essay explores the ethical responsibilities of communities towards their most vulnerable members. The writer illuminates the texts’ strategies of careful questioning and listening as a way to expose injustices and open a dialogic space where marginalized characters can be recognized and valued. While grounded firmly in a close reading of the texts, the essay offers a hopeful argument for how communities might thrive through empathy and compassion.

Diaspora and Transnational Studies Prize

Joanne Szeto
Joanne Szeto

Title: Food Memoir

Adjudicators' comments:

Through pictures, colourful drawings, and recipes, the author shows that although the diaspora can be alienating, it can also allow us to establish an understanding of different cultures. I kept going back to the images and recipes to find connections between the people she describes and the foods she chooses to share with her readers.The work is engaging and creative in the way that it presents an understanding of diversity and belonging; it draws on food and community building to enhance the narrative of relationships and concepts of identity.

Donald R. and Mary E. Snider Literary Award for Excellence in Non-Fiction Writing

Alexis Joy Nagum
Alexis Nagum

Title: I don't feel free

Adjudicators' comments:

"I Don't Feel Free" distinguishes itself by its strong use of the blog genre. Its integration of image with multiple styles of writing, from the personal to the critical, is well-organized and designed to take readers on an engaging and emotional journey about the tensions of family and cultural identity. Furthermore, with questions like "What if i can't do this without the privilege my pain affords me?" and succinct poignancies like "you learn to calculate cost," this submission excelled in offering powerful moments of well-worded revelation.

Janice Del Matto Memorial Award in Creative Writing

Nadia Formisano

Nadio Formisano

Title: Medium Chestnut

Adjudicators' comments:

The writer finely captures the depth of the relationship between the narrator and her grandmother through the intimacy of helping the grandmother dye her hair. Small events in the present—the necklace taken off, the brief conversation, the drops of dye on the carpet—help frame a recollection of the past, especially memories of the grandmother’s dead husband/the grandfather, and the movement into the future, a celebratory vacation for the grandmother. The writer packs a lot into a short narration, giving readers a glimpse into the life of a family and of the relationships that shape it.

Click here to see Nadia's work Janice Del Matto Memorial Award in Creative Writing - Nadia Formisano

Jacob Neal (Honourable Mention)

Jacob Neal

Title: Alike Animals

Adjudicators' comments:

An evocative and richly described forest scene thrumming with energy.

Click here to see Jacob's work Janice Del Matto Memorial Award in Creative Writing - Jacob Neal

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