Middlebury

Young Writers Honored with Ward Prize

October 16, 2013

The Middlebury Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research honored up and coming first-year writers with the presentation of the Paul W. Ward ’25 Prize in Writing at a ceremony in Twilight Hall Friday, Oct. 11. The $500 cash prize recognizes outstanding essay writing by first-year students. This year’s winners and honorees, all members of the class of 2016, were nominated from many academic disciplines and were judged by a faculty committee for writing completed during the 2012-13 academic year.

Video: Aneleisa Gladding-Hinton reads from her poetry collection "Pledged Departures."

“We are impressed this year that among the nominees are students for whom English is just one of many languages they speak,” said Mary Ellen Bertolini, director of the college's writing center told the crowd at Twilight Auditorium.  “And, we are impressed at the range of interests and styles that all your writing represents:  the judges read, personal narratives, short stories, poetry, drama, critical arguments, and many fine research papers.”

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From left:  Clare Donohue-Meyer, Aneleisa Gladding-Hinton, August Hutchinson, Alec Drobac, Pornwalai Siripornpitak and Esme Valette

The winning submission out of 47 nominations was from Aneleisa Gladding-Hinton (see video excerpt above) for her collection of poems titled “Pledged Departures.” Gladding-Hinton was introduced by her advisor Maria Hatjigeorgiou, lecturer in religion, who noted that, like newly-minted Nobel Laureate Alice Munro, Gladding-Hinton is a writer who attempts to “explore life through poetic narrative and music and visual art, weaving her personal experience along with her family into a magical tapestry of art in a way that is distinctly personal and reflects the journey of your own selfhood.” Gladding-Hinton then read several excerpts from her collection.

Five other students read from their works, including runners-up August C. Hutchinson and Bo Pornwalai Siripornpitak, who received $250 each, and honorable mention students Clare Donohue-Meyer, Alec Drobac and Esme Valette. 

“We hope you talented writers of the class of 2016 will share your gifts with incoming classes by working with them in their first-year seminars and college writing classes,” Bertolini told the students, who are invited by the Writing Program to train as peer writing tutors and writing and academic mentors.

The prize is offered in memory of Paul W. Ward ’25, whose life-long career as a journalist and diplomatic reporter brought him both the Pulitzer Prize and the French Legion of Honor. During his long career he emphasized the use of basic English as a writer’s most necessary tool. Precise and exact usage of words, exact meanings, phrases expressed lucidly and gracefully, seemed to him the most direct and understandable means of communicating with his readers.

Photos: Matt Lennon ’13; Video: Stephen Diehl