Date Posted: June 2, 2011
Print Edition: May 27, 2011
The Writing Centre at UFV does a number of things for the student body – from helping with citations to the actual writing itself; they’re an invaluable resource paid for by fees. Aside from their basic services, they like to celebrate exemplary students at our institution. One way this is done is with the annual writing competition.
The competition has been held annually for more than 20 years. It’s changed formats a few times; some years, the Abbotsford Times has helped sponsor and judge the event. Other times, it’s been only faculty. Beginning last year, the Writing Centre started holding an awards ceremony for the competition. This gives the winning students and their instructors a chance to present the work to their peers – valuable experience for those planning on moving on in their chosen fields.
The submission deadline was May 19 – extended from May 16. Pieces of writing are submitted by writers or by their instructors. When submitting, the course is listed and the assignment guidelines are provided. This gives the judges a way of gauging the efficacy of the piece; as the submission content is institution-wide, it has a broad range of content. Because the topics are so varied, the award categories are not decided until all submissions have been received. A look at last year’s winning essays proves this: one category was Upper Level French Discourse, the winner of which was Katey Stickle for her essay on the French version of the play “No Exit.” The essay was titled “Huis Clos et la Theorie Existentialiste.” Stickle’s French essay was highly praised by her instructor, Betty Joan Traverse. The play, she said, is difficult enough to analyze in English; Stickle’s ability to do so in a second language is admirable.
This piece juxtaposes starkly with that of another winner, Alison MacNamara’s “Anti-Racist Critique of Avatar.” MacNamara praised the institution for allowing her to tackle such a current topic. As her paper was for a social work course, this demonstrates the power that comes with freedom of study; her writing excelled because the topic was relevant to her experience and field of choice.
One particular success story from last year’s competition is that of Kam Fung Li. She is an immigrant to Canada, originally born in Hong Kong. There, she was a professional writer and journalist. When she came to Canada, she began the struggle to learn English as an adult. During this process, she was in a car accident and as a result suffered many injuries that impacted her ability to write. This led her to UFV: she took an English 081 course in the hopes of being able to “organize sentences and thoughts” once again. Her piece, “Chicken or Egg: a Food Story of a Family Custom,” won the award for Best Lower Level Short Fiction, demonstrating that she is well on her way to regaining her abilities.
With such interesting topics and submissions last year, this year is sure to be just as fascinating. Keep an eye on the Writing Centre’s website to find out when this year’s winners are announced.