The Department of English would like to proudly present the 2020-2021 Undergraduate Award Winners. Expand on each award name to learn more about the winners
English Society Creative Writing Award for Poetry
Maya Victoria Venters
Title: Straw House Series
"We agreed immediately that the Straw House Series (submission 10) stood out for the originality, consistent excellence, and evocative interrelation of its five poems. With impressive craft and depth of imagery, the series fashions a curious and unexpected world. The poems confront, with a striking honesty and a living faith, what it means to be rich and poor, materially, in spirit, and in human relationship."
Chrislyn Jo Fernandes (Honourable Mention)
Title: First Generation
"We would like to give an honourable mention to First Generation (submission 15), which we found to be thoughtful, moving, and powerful in its well-expressed simplicity. This series of poems does lovely things with word choice and pacing, and shows a nice sense of how to direct an audience’s attention."
English Society Creative Writing Award for Prose
Title: And Then the Floating Bears Came
"The winning story sets itself apart with a combination of realism and the fantastical handled with remarkable skill and poise. The unconventional main characters’ discussion of a few key motifs – floating bears that may or may not be there and cuckoo clocks that dispense fortunes - is enigmatic and intriguing. Big questions about the strange and the familiar, uncertainty and fate hover in the background of a story that will keep you musing long after reading."
The Albert Shaw Poetry Prize
Maya Victoria Venters
Title: Summer in the Valley
"These poems are artful, graceful, and feeling. The poet has a lovely sense of cadence and uses line breaks and word repetition to layer meaning and enrich our understanding of the profoundly ambiguous nature of experience and understanding. These features give the poems capacity to characterize both the centrality and the instability or motility of the lyric subject. These lines from "Brooding" convey and describe the sensation of reading the poems, as slight, precise, observations join others to form complex expressions: "Tiny balls forming into wing and feather, a delicate puzzle that peeps and sneezes." "
Masternak Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship in English
Anna-Maria Brokalakis || Jared Cubilla
About the award:
This scholarship is awarded annually to full-time undergraduate students and is based on academic excellence.
Co-op Work Report Award
"Wajiha Parvez's Co-op work report excellently exemplified the report genre. They provided a strong narrative of their thought process throughout their work term, while maintaining a tightly worded focus on the particulars of the project. One of the strongest elements was their handling of technical jargon, choosing words and terms carefully and distinctly, while also ensuring that the project, overall, came across as clear and concrete."
Walter R. Martin English 251 Award
"The writer impressed the judges with their capable handling of diverse literary techniques and Lacanian psychoanalysis as a theoretical lens. The essays showed thoughtfulness and polish, despite being a timed exam. The writing was immediately engaging, offering the reader sharp observations conveyed in an understated, yet confident narrative voice."
Title: Discoveries in Marriage and Power Dynamics in 'King Lear' and 'Julius Caesar'
" “Discoveries in Marriage and Power Dynamics in King Lear and Julius Caesar” is a searching account of the gendered force of action in two plays by Shakespeare. Successfully engaging with critical conversations on the subject, this paper explores the performance of “feminine weakness” and “masculine power" by men and women in order to draw out a series of subtle insights: the variation of private versus public expressions of dominance in marriage, the power of female expressions of masculinity such as Portia’s, and relative equality of gender display between France and Cordelia. The essay is impressive above all for its critical nuance and careful tracing of “the fluid nature of gender display” in the staging of power between the sexes in these plays."
Click on this link to view Philip's work - The Hibbard Prize for Shakespeare Studies - Philip Hohol
The Canadian Literature Prize
Title: How to Experience A Life of Pleasure: The Defamiliarization of the Desire and Drive of Life As A Result of the Structure of Margaret Atwoods’ Narrative “Happy Endings”
"Making excellent use of the insights of narratology, and keeping a sharp eye on the experience of reading, this essay delivers an insightful and memorable analysis of a story by one of Canadian literature’s most analytic writers."
Click on this link to view Emilie's winning work - The Canadian Literature Prize - Emilie Stanley
The Award in American Literature and Culture
Title: “What does it mean?”: The Acknowledgement of Blessing in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead
"This beautifully-written and theologically-astute essay shows how Marilynne Robinson explores the meaning and power of blessing in her novel Gilead. Through a careful reading of the text supplemented by the judicious use of published criticism and of Robinson’s own comments, the essay demonstrates the importance of blessing to the novel’s central relationships. For Robinson and her characters, the essay argues, blessing is a way of recognizing and acknowledging another person, and is both mutual and mysterious."
Click on this link to view Katrina's work - The Award in American Literature and Culture - Katrina Steckle
The Rhetoric and Digital Design Award
Title: Frozen Pines
"This audio drama sets a compelling original story against a comprehensive soundscape. The foley effects and sound design are excellent. The creator succeeds in building a suspenseful (and legitimately quite frightening) story."
Click on this link to listen to Caleb's work - The Rhetoric and Digital Design Award - Caleb Draper
Christina Piruchta (Honourable Mention)
Title: Perfect Art: Beauty in Pieces
"This visual project juxtaposes art history with contemporary expectations of beauty and thinness. The images in this series are expertly reworked to present a clear and compelling critique. Fantastic application of media theory into practice."
Click on this link to view Christina's work - The Rhetoric and Digital Design Award - Christina Piruchta
The Rhetoric and Professional Writing Award
Title: Wilfred Owen: A Collection of Editions
"Wilfred Owen: A Collection of Editions is a stand-out example of student writing in the award category of rhetoric and professional writing. Composed in prose that is personable, elegant, and insightful, this writer has gathered handwritten manuscript pages of successive iterations of key poems in Owen’s oeuvre alongside transcriptions for readability. Also included in the collection are copies of the poems drawn from various editions of Owens’ work annotated by the essay’s author. Taken together, this writer has dramatized for readers the creative and craft-driven process of poetry writing as well as providing insight into the array of choices made by editors that impact on the weight, shape, and import of a poet’s work. We are pleased to recognize the excellence of the Wilfred Owen collection with the English Department’s rhetoric and professional writing award."
Title: The Dark Web for Dummies (Terrorist Edition)
"We are also pleased to present the Rhetoric and Professional Writing Award to the The Dark Web for Dummies (Terrorist Edition). Designed as a parody of the popular For Dummies series, The Dark Web provides a well written, carefully researched, and sobering analysis of the nether regions of the Internet as a safe haven for terrorist activity. In addition to providing an accessible but sophisticated analysis of the technical aspects of the Dark Web (browsers, IP addresses, message pathways, etc.), this submission also outlines the broader legal and political implications of the Dark Web as a vector for the anonymous dissemination of terrorist propaganda. Another noteworthy feature of this text is its highly professional visual design, which carefully orchestrates text, image, colour, and graphics as it guides the reader from the Surface Web through the Deep Web and into the Dark Web. Congratulations on a stellar example of professional writing and graphic design."
Click on this link to view Anna-Maria's work - The Rhetoric and Professional Writing Award - Anna-Maria Brokalakis
Title: Shakespeare’s Othello and Epideictic Tradition: The Play, Its Source, and Subsequent Adaptations
"This paper is an impressively ambitious, well-researched examination of the rhetorical aspects of Shakespeare’s Othello. Its insightful textual analysis reveals how a consideration of epideictic rhetoric illuminates the play’s action and ethics. The paper also presents a broader analysis of Othello’s sources, history, and various incarnations on stage and film, arguing that from a rhetorical perspective the play has become over time a kind of topos used to support various social arguments. The paper draws on a wide array of rhetorical sources and touches on many topics, including Elizabethan history and politics, Shakespearean biography, and the nature of theatre, and manages to weave them into a coherent, stimulating argument. We’re pleased to award it the Andrew James Dugan Prize in Rhetoric and Professional Writing."
Click on this link to view Philip's work - Andrew James Dugan Prize in Rhetoric and Professional Writing Award - Philip Hohol
Andrew James Dugan Prize in Literature Award
Title: “A Curious Little Old Woman in a Squeezed Bonnet”: Miss Flite in Dickens’ Bleak House
"This person writes with assurance and sensitivity. They make a compelling case for how Charles Dickens’ novel Bleak House “needs” the ambiguous character of Miss Flite, and what she represents in nineteenth-century British society, especially in contrast to the stark soullessness of the Court of Chancery. What she undergoes supplies “the materialization of the abstraction of injustice,” while she herself “incarnates” “clarity and knowledge in a world of fog.” The judges praised the essay for bringing to light a critique that Dickens in some ways leaves latest, one that hinges on a lovingly individuated character. One might say that the work done in this essay reciprocates that sort of attention to the initially unprepossessing Miss Flite."
Diaspora and Transnational Studies Prize
Title: With Warm Regards and Open Ears
"This essay is not just beautifully written - it makes the reader think deeply about writing, about "writing to listen," and about the voice of this writer as it takes shape through the essay. The writer uses counterstory to offer detailed personal narrative as a way into critical reflections on racialization, language, family, and dissent."
Click on this link to view Jane's work - Diaspora and Transnational Studies Prize - Jane Lu
Nicola Tidbury (Honourable Mention)
Title: Metaphor and the Senses: How Dunya Mikhail Makes Homes for Readers in Poetic Fractures
"In recounting how Mikhail "invokes the senses and narrative time to create an experiential reading that pulls the reader" into her world, this writer also pulls in the reader with deft prose skills and a sensory handling of language that makes one almost hear and taste the words usually reserved for academic analysis. Excellent work and a strong treatment of Mikhail's poetry."
Click on this link to view Nicola's work - Diaspora and Transnational Studies Prize - Nicola Tidbury
Donald R. and Mary E. Snider Literary Award for Excellence in Non-Fiction Writing - Life Writing
Raha Nyakio Mahmoudi
Title: A Betta Named El-Matado
"This meditation on the experience of loss opens with the death of a betta fish—a short-lived pet who was purchased by the narrative’s speaker as part of preparations for Iranian New Year festivities. The author beautifully weaves together themes related to family, tradition, culture, and grief; and the piece balances humor and poignancy as it progresses through a series of brief, moving vignettes that depict disparate moments from the speaker’s life that become connected through their association with the fish and its death."
Click on this link to view Raha's work - Donald R. and Mary E. Snider Literary Award for Excellence in Non-Fiction Writing - Raha Nyakio Mahmoudi
Donald R. and Mary E. Snider Literary Award for Excellence in Non-Fiction Writing - Rhetorical Essay
Title: Modes of Persuasion and Orthodox Ecumenism
"This essay offers a thoughtful analysis of Aristotelian pathos and logos as features of speeches and letters by leaders of Eastern Orthodox religions who argue either for or against unity with Roman Catholicism. The author provides careful and clear definitions of the various key terms and rhetorical categories that are part of the argument; and by selecting examples from multiple opposing perspectives for discussion, the essay emphasizes the urgent need for rhetorical mastery by the various participants within the debate."
Janice Del Matto Memorial Award in Creative Writing
Title: Hannah and Mack and the Highway Overpass
"This is a nicely-observed, elegant, simple coming-of-age story. The writing is unpretentious and controlled; dialogue is realistic; the hopes and fears of the young protagonist are well realized. No big fuss is made about the gay relationship of the two leads; it is as concrete a part of their small town life as anything else. An excellent example of the verisimilar style."
Click on this link to view Selina's work - Janice Del Matto Memorial Award in Creative Writing - Selina Barker