D-- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 3, 1997
Hopwood Awards shower cash,
recognition on aspiring 'U' authors
By Mary Trombley
Daily Arts Writer
The Hopwood Awards are semi-annual contests
that celebrate student ability in writing. The
Hopwood Program grants special prizes to under-
classmen and offers an excellent introduction to the
writing resources of Ann Arbor.
Highly competitive, the Hopwood Awards are an
excellent opportunity for students to demonstrate
their creative talent on a college level. Aside from
artistic recognition, Hopwood winners also reap siz-
able cash prizes. Former winners include playwright
Arthur Miller and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.
"The Hopwood Awards give student writers
money, recognition and validation. They show that
the University, the faculty and the community take
writing seriously,"said Prof. Eileen Pollack, director
of the undergraduate creative writing subconcentra-
tion in the English Department. "The Hopwood
Program brings visiting writers here and raises the
level of interest about writing on campus.'
The Hopwood contests are administered through
the English Department and are open to University
students enrolled in writing courses. These courses
include creative- and essay-writing courses in the
Communications and English Departments, as well
as those in the Residential College.
The Hopwood Awards were funded by a bequest
of alumni Avery Hopwood, who granted one-fifth of
his estate to start the program. In his will, Hopwood
wrote that he wanted "the new, the unusual and the
radical (to) be especially encouraged.' Many small-
er writing awards are also given in conjunction with
the Hopwood Awards.
The Hopwood Program sponsors three contests a
year. The Hopwood Underclassmen Contest is held
in the fall semester and is open only to first and sec-
ond-year University students. University students
enrolled in writing courses during the spring and
summer terms are eligible for the summer Hopwood
Awards. The Major/Minor Hopwood Contest is held
in winter term, and is open to undergraduate and
Pollack said that the size of Hopwood Awards is
"very unusual, especially at the undergraduate level
... (the awards) are sometimes more than most writ-
ers get for work published in the real world."
For each contest, prizes are awarded in the cate-
gories of short fiction, poetry, drama/screenplay and
essay. The Major competition also gives prizes in the
category of novel. Judges of the Hopwood contest
have included writers in the Ann Arbor community,
University staff, and nationally known writers like
H.L. Mencken, Donald Barthelme, Anne Tyler and
. Winners of Hopwood Awards are honored in cer-
emonies. The Major/Minor Hopwood Awards also
feature the annual Hopwood Lecture, which is deliv-
ered by a prominent author. Speakers have included
Philip Levine, Elmore Leonard, Maxine Hong
Kingston, Joyce Carol Oates and Saul Bellow.
Additionally, the Hopwood Room, located in
1176 Angell Hall, is an important resource for
University writers. "The Hopwood Room is the
physical center of the program. It is a place to gath*
er the writing community together," Pollack said.
The Hopwood Room contains information about
the Hopwood Awards, a collection of periodicals
and books, and manuscripts from previous winners.
A set of Lawrence K(asdan's screenplays are also on
display. Pollack calls the Hopwood Room's collec-
tion "a wonderful resource, very inspiring."
The Hopwood Program sponsors fiction readings
in the Hopwood Room and holds a tea every
Thursday afternoon during fall and winter terms.
Bestselling crime novelist and Michigan native Elmore Leonard reads from his
work at last January's Hopwood awards. Leonard's works include "Get Shorty" and
numerous other classics of the crime genre.