One of the distinguishing traits which every Denison student is expected to develop throughout the course of their time here is the ability to write clearly, creatively, critically, persuasively and profoundly, no matter what field they decide to pursue.
The “All Denison Annual Writing Competition” provides students with a chance to test these waters and display a culmination of these writing strategies.
Students can submit their work for evaluation to at least one of five categories: fiction, poetry, nonfiction, critical writing and scholarly writing.
Judges from the English Department will award prizes for first, second and third place in each category to students who demonstrate exemplary writing abilities.
Many of the contestants who have submitted work in the past are often English Literature and Creative Writing majors.
However, entries from students of almost any major or discipline are accepted.
Sylvia Brown, faculty member of the English Department and organizer of the competition gave insight as to the depth and breadth of the talent here at Denison:
“While the majority of entries for scholarly writing (10-15 pages, research required) and critical writing (5-10 pages of analysis of a literary or cultural text without required research) involve analysis of literary or film texts and were written for courses in the English Department, in the past several years, we have received essays from such fields as religion, sociology, queer studies, cinema, and communication.”
She continued, “Each year, the judges are impressed by the high quality of entries and sometimes the decisions are difficult… the level of work can be so good that we feel we must award two second or third prizes or an honorable mention or two.”
The “All Denison Annual Writing Competition” has been hosted for over 30 years and the prestigious awards for each category are named after the donors who fund them.
The Danner Lee Mahood family grants the awards in fiction, creative nonfiction and critical writing. The Annie Macneil Award funds awards for poetry. Finally, the Robert T. Wilson Award is dedicated to scholarly writing.
As a college that has such a strong writing tradition and thus places a high emphasis on a student’s writing ability, such a competition is an integral part of the liberal arts experience.
Denison truly stands out in that its students can boast a record of writing significantly more than their peers at other institutions, a statistic measured in the number of pages.
Such a skill is lasting, and is, in many cases, a non-negotiable prerequisite for jobs. At Denison, it would seem that the pen, indeed, is mightier than the sword.
All entries are due at Barney-Davis 200 between Monday, Feb. 29 and Monday, March 7 at 4:00 p.m. For more questions and concerns regarding the writing competition, please contact Anneliese Davis, Sylvia Brown or the Alumni office.