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September 07, 1978 - Image 48

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-09-07

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IPage 48-Thursday, September 7, 1978-The Michigan Daily

You too can

be a writer

0 .

I can't even remember when I first
heard mention of the Hopwoods. Chan-
ce mention by a counselor at orien-
tation, or an English TA? It might have
been an article in The Daily. But
memories of a time when Hopwood
deadlines didn't rule my life have faded
into oblivion, especially during those
last few frenzied days of re-writing and
polishing phrases that always precede
the magic hour when a manuscript is
submitted, in triplicate, each copy in its
properly punched paper folder.
Yet there is nothing menacing about
the Hopwoods, the creative writing
awards granted each year to deserving
University students, once you
familiarize yourself with the
regulations and deadlines, and those, in
the tradition of all great traditions, do
not change.
AN UNWITTING English teacher, in
my final term of a high school advanced
comp. class made the mistake of scrib-
bling across the bottom of one of my
papers, "June, you have an exceptional
talent with words." Visions of novels
and Nobel prizes began to haunt me,
and by the time I reached the Univer-
sity, my case was quite advanced. It
was during this period that I first en-
countered that elusive laurel,'Hopwood.
I've spent the two years since then
entering virtually every Hopwood con-
test I have stumbled upon. The first -
ah, the bittersweet memories of that
first time - was the Freshman Essay
The deadline fell fast upon the heels
of Thanksgiving break. A Great Books
essay my TA had particularly admired,
a few hours bent over my keyboard,
fingers tapping out the melody of the
Muses . .. but alas, all for naught.
THE PASSAGE of a few short weeks
brought my first rejection, the form let-
ter I was to come to know and dread so
well, "All entries in the contests have
been carefully read and judged, and the
winners of awards have been notified
by mail. Though your entry has not won

Hopwood hunt

114 E. Washington
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108
(313) 665-3231
Welcome To U of M
We have been the campus favorite for the past
16 years for good food at modest prices. Great
entertainment every Friday and Saturday for
an evening of fun.
* Daily 'All You Can Eat" Specials
" Pizza-Italian and American Foods
* Beer-Wine--Liquor-Entertainment

an award, the committee ap-
preciates ..."
Somehow I managed to salve my
wounded ego. It was, after all, only a
contest, any freshperson in a writing
course could enter. Besides, perhaps
my writing talents lay in other fields,
like fiction or poetry. The Freshman
Essay contest isn't the only Hopwood in
the sea.
The opening days of December also
brought the deadline for the Under-
classmen Awards. Open to any fresh-
person or sophomore in a composition
course, its categories included fiction
and poetry as well as essay. This time it
was fiction.
ANOTHER DEFEAT. But youth is
not easily discouraged. Yet one more
contest remained to be entered - the
Minor Hopwood Awards. Competition is
considerably stiffer - all undergrads
can enter and drama is added to the
I pulled my first bona fide all-nighter
in pursuit of Hopwood fame. Desk lit-
tered with half-full cups of coffee gone
cold, the clean neatly-typed pile of
papers representing the final
manuscript, not-so-neat lines scratched
and written over, the frantic race with
the clock, the trip to the
copiers . . . then only the waiting
Let it suffice to say that my record
remained intact.
HOPWOOD AWARDS are also given
for the Spring/Summer term and there
is a winter Freshman Essay award for
those who weren't eligible fall term
because they had put off taking the
required English course. I was not
eligible for those, and had to wait until
the fall to take on my adversary, Hop-
wood, again. December rolled around

and I duly submitted a manuscript for
the Underclassmen Awards.
I won. I won. I read the letter twice to
assure myself, but the"words did not
change. I won. And on January 18, I sat
in the Rackham Amphitheatre, clad in
a jumper borrowed especially for the
occasion. Professor John Aldridge,
chairman of the Hopwood Committee,
announced the poetry and essay win-
ners and finally, fiction . . . "June
Loeffler, L.S.A. sophomore, $150 for
Sunday Mornings ..."
A speech by some literary personage
of note invariably follows the announ-
cements. Last April it was Tom Wolfe,
of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
fame and even in defeat, the awards
ceremonies are interesting to those
with aspirations toward writing.
AND WINNING.. . the cash is han-
dy, but it's the recognition, knowing,
finally, that someone else believes in
you too. . . that's what is important.
All of this was made possible through
the generous heart of Avery Hopwood,
a 1905 University graduate, who went to

New York and found fame and fortune
writing Broadway plays. Upon his
death he willed over $300,000 to the
University to be used as annual awards
in a contest to be known as "The Avery
Hopwood and Jule Hopwood Prizes" in
creative writing. The first award was
given in 1931, and since then over
$500,000 has been awarded in various
sums ranging from $50 to $3,000.
There is even a door in Angell Hall
behind which lies the Hopwood Room.
The Hopwood Library is housed there,
along with the manuscripts of all the
past Hopwood winners (Arthur Miller
was one) and a vast collection of
literary magazines and books of essays
and criticisms - everything a writer
could want.
HILDA BONHAM, the Hopwood
Committee's assistant, is ever willing
and ready to answer questions about
the contests and if by chance you wan-
der into the room on a Thursday after-
noon between 3 and 5 p.m., you will find
yourself surrounded by cookies, tea,
coffee and other hungry young writers
-what better way to spend a cozy fall
or winter afternoon?
Yes, it is true, Just like they say on
the back of matchbooks and in the
movie magazine ads, with talent, a lot
of work and perhaps a bit of luck - You
too can become a writer.


A ngeio's
' BEST BREAKFASTS IN TOWN (Try the waffles!)
Corner of East Ann & Glen
(short walk from Med. Center)


Expires Dec. 31, 1978
mm. mm. mm mm mm... mm mm mm a

Expires Dec. 31, 1978 f

Daily Photo by JOHN KNOX

... thrill of victory

(short walk from Med Center)

" J
/ / 1

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