April 21, 2006
75th Hopwood celebration awards $142,050 to U-M student writers
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Great writers from around the world converged on the University of Michigan Friday as 36 U-M students shared $142,050 in prizes and became part of the legacy of Avery Hopwood.
Hopwood, who graduated from U-M a century ago and went on to become the most commercially successful playwright of the 1920s, began an endowment that became the Avery and Jude Hopwood Awards. The awards, the nation's oldest such contest, have nurtured young fiction writers from Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Arthur Miller in the 1930s to current best selling novelist Elizabeth Kostova, who won her Hopwoods in 2003 and 2004.
The Hopwoods have also inspired related contests begun by others and administered by the Hopwood program. Total Hopwood contest prizes totalled $119,500 while the related contests awarded prizes of $25,550.
Past Hopwood winners such as Lawrence Kasdan, writer and director of "The Big Chill'' were among the many past winners who returned to U-M to celebrate the Hopwood's 75th anniversary. Many say the Hopwood was the first important public recognition of their writing talent, a tangible reward that kept them pursuing work as writers.
The awards were presented by Nicholas Delbanco, U-M's Robert Frost Collegiate Professor of English and director of the Hopwood Program. Creative writing professor and author Charles Baxter delivered the Hopwood Lecture.
Local judges for the contests were: Debra Allbery, Steve Amick, Gorman Beauchamp, Frank Beaver, George Cooper, Michael Dickman, Sofia Galifianakis, Derek Green, Nicholas Harp, Joseph Heininger, Stephanie Ivanoff, the Kasdan Company, Lauren Kingsley, Aric Knuth, Deanne Lundin, Brenda Marshall, David Morse, Sharon Pomerantz, Lynne Raughley, Laura Roop, Laura Thomas, and Robert Whitman.
The celebration weekend, capping off a semester of Hopwood-related activities, also includes the University of Michigan Press' release of a compendium of works by Hopwood Award-winning writers of note, "The Hopwood Awards: 75 Years of Prized Writing," edited by Delbanco, Andrea Beauchamp and Michael Barrett, with an introduction by Delbanco.
Photos of Hopwood writers and copies of their works will be displayed in the windows of the Shaman Drum Bookshop for this event, and books by past Hopwood Award-winning authors included in the anthology will be available for signing by their authors.
The latest U-M student winners, who come from across the country and around the world, are listed by hometown:
Monamie Bhadra, Hopwood Undergraduate Essay, $3,500.
Alaina Schempp, Hopwood Screenplay, $4,000 and Leonard and Eileen Newman Prize in Dramatic Writing, $1,000.
Ann Marie Thornburg, Hopwood Undergraduate Poetry, $3,000.
Rachel Ann Harkai, Hopwood Undergraduate Essay, $2,000.
Michael Pifer, Hopwood Undergraduate Essay, $3,000.
Ryan K. Jory, Hopwood Undergraduate Short Fiction, $3,000.
Margaret LeDuc, Hopwood Undergraduate Essay, $3,000.
Carlin Danz, Hopwood Undergraduate Short Fiction, $7,000 and Robert F. Haugh Prize, $2,200.
Laura Hunsberger, Hopwood Undergraduate Essay, $2,000.
Louisville—Sara Grace Willihnganz, Hopwood Undergraduate Poetry, $2,500.
Bangor —K.C. Trommer, Meader Family Award, $1,500.
Austin—Karyna McGlynn, Hopwood Graduate Poetry, $6,000.
Kemah—Joshua Edwards, Meader Family Award, $1,500.
Salt Lake—Britta Ameel, the Meader Family Award, $1,500.
Ashland—Mika Perrine, Hopwood Graduate Short Fiction, $3,000.
Winners from outside the United States.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Preeta Samarasan, Hopwood Novel, $6,000, Geoffrey James Gosling Prize,
Contact: Joe Serwach