Following a tradition of excellence, more than 30 students were inaugurated yesterday into a unique brotherhood of distinguished Hopwood Award winners including “Death of a Salesman” playwright Arthur Miller and “Star Wars” screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.
“This is the oldest and best known series of writing prizes in the country and it is a very good indicator of future success,” said English Prof. Nicholas Delbanco, director of the Hopwood Awards Program.
Music freshman Andrew Horowitz said he was stunned when he won his $3,000 award for short fiction and was excited as he looked back on a childhood spent in remedial reading classes. As one of two freshman to win, he said the award has been especially encouraging.
“It was very unexpected, and it was bigger than any award I won for music. It made me kind of think twice about just pursuing a music career,” Horowitz said.
Rackham student Ava Justine Pawlak said she was a little overwhelmed with her two awards in graduate short fiction. She hopes her winnings will allow her to spend the summer working on her writing rather than at a job.
“I don’t normally win things,” she said.
Among other big winners, LSA senior Corey Michael Madsen won three awards totaling more than $11,000, and Rackham student David Morse earned three awards totaling $8,500.
The ceremony included a lecture from University alum and previous Hopwood winner Edmund White on “writing gay.” White described his attempts at writing fiction with a homosexual theme before the gay liberation movement began in 1969. His works, including an off-Broadway play that won a 1962 Hopwood, were often trounced in newspaper reviews.
White said he hopes the award will help to embolden the winners in “this struggle of a writer’s life.”
Awards are presented in several areas including drama, screenplay, essay, novel, short fiction and poetry. Entries in each area are judged by two nationally recognized authors and prizes ranged from $1,000 to $7,000.
The Hopwood Awards were created through the will of University alum Avery Hopwood, who bequeathed one-fifth of his estate for the encouragement of creative writing at the University.