Barnard Award

Prize: $250
Deadline: April 2
Entry Form

The Barnard Award is given annually for an exceptional paper submitted in EN 109, EN 111, HON 101 or HON 111. It was established by the English Department in 1969 to honor the teaching and concern for writing shown by Ellsworth Barnard during his years of service at Northern Michigan University (1957-1968).

Houston Award

Prize: $250
Deadline: April 2
Entry Form

The Houston Award is given annually for an exceptional paper written in EN 211 or HON 201. It was established by the English Department in 1984 to honor the teaching and concern for writing shown by Howard Houston during his years of service at Northern Michigan University (1968-1983).

Legler Memorial Poetry Prize

Prize: $250
Deadline: April 2

The Legler Memorial Poetry Prize is awarded annually for a poem submitted by an undergraduate student. It was established by the English Department in 1993 to honor the teaching and concern for poetry writing shown by Phil Legler during his years of service at Northern Michigan University (1968-1992).

  • Only ONE poem can be submitted per person
  • Attach an electronic copy of your poem to an email and send to english@nmu.edu, with subject line = "Legler Submission," and the following information in the body of the email:
    • Your Name
    • Address
    • Phone Number
    • E-mail Address
  • Do not type your name or personal information on the poem.
  • Submissions failing to meet guidelines will be disqualified.

NOTE:  Judges reserve the right not to award the prize should submissions so indicate.

For questions about the contest, please contact the department of English: 227-2711.

The Lois and Willard Cohodas Literary Prize

First Place: $500 | Second Place: $250 | Third Place: $100
Deadline: April 23

The goal of the Cohodas Literary Prize Competition is to provoke serious thought about one or more of the following topics: enhancing religions, racial and cultural understanding; eliminating hatred and racism; and/or promoting awareness of the Holocaust.

This is a prose non-fiction contest. Entries should be approximately 1,500-2,500 words.  The winning entries each year will be posted, with permission, on the English Department’s website and the Marquette Monthly.

The judges are looking for well-written, well-developed, deeply thoughtful essays relevant to one of the topics below. Winning essays will have a strong, ethically informed thesis. Entries that cite research should follow any commonly used style guide to document their sources. All entries ought to be much more than mere reports—marshaling reasons, evidence, argument, and above all insight, to support the author's original thesis.

To submit your entry, attach an electronic copy of your essay to an email and send to english@nmu.eduu, with subject line = "Cohodas Literary Prize Submission," and the following information in the body of the email:

  • Your Name
  • NMU IN Number
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • E-mail Address

Students should NOT write their name or personal information on the essay, only in the body of the email.

Human Rights, Tolerance, & Understanding

This prize was established by Rabbi Samuel and Lynn Stahl and Nancy and Paul Oberman, in honor of the 65th wedding anniversary of their parents, Lois and Willard Cohodas. The goal of the competition is to provoke serious thought about one or more of the following topics:

  • Enhancing racial, ethnic, religious, sex/gender, national and cross-cultural understanding
  • Eliminating racism, sexism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia and hatred of the Other 
  • Advocating respect for universal human rights around the world by overcoming prejudice rooted in ignorance and resentment of differences
  • Remembering the evil of the Nazi Holocaust of European Jewry by promoting awareness of genocide and crimes against humanity

Topics

1. Liberalism and Illiberalism. Has liberalism failed? The political philosopher, Patrick Deneen, will speak on this topic at 7pm in Jamrich 1322, on March 21. Attend the lecture, which is free and open to the public, and write a response to what you hear. Optional/recommended: read some of Deneen’s book, Why Liberalism Failed, and refer to it in your essay.

2. Intersectionality and Exclusion. Does the current drive among social justice activists to take account of “intersectionality” represent progress toward greater inclusion and sensitivity to a multiplicity of forms of injustice? Or is it a strange case of selective sensitivity, unfairly applied for the sake of an unforgiving brand of identity politics? As an example of how difficult and painful discussions around this topic have been lately, for progressive feminists in particular, read this shocking account of a recent event at which some lesbians were expelled. 

3. Civility and Incivility. As Robert Heinlein said, “A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot.” Why is cultivating civility (i.e., polite respect for others in public as a matter of common decency) so important nowadays, more than ever? What makes incivility (vulgar lack of consideration for others’ sensibilities) a serious danger, and why are lots of people concerned about the rise of incivility in America? On the other hand, how can rigid enforcement of codes of behavior by bureaucrats or administrators stifle “free speech” and hamper the “academic freedom” to inquire fearlessly into the nature of the human condition that defines the university?

4. Conspiracy Theory and Threats to Democracy. What role has paranoid “conspiracy theory” played in justifying political violence in the past, and where do we see it reappearing today? Alternatively, what does it mean that our politics have become so “polarized,” as many commentators have observed? One way to approach this kind of question is to read the important new 2018 book, How Democracies Die, by Daniel Ziblatt and Fred Sanders, and report what you learn. How do we keep democracy, which depends on trust in shared institutions, from dissolving into factions at war with one another?

5. The Holocaust and Genocide. How is the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews distinct from genocide as a general category? What made the Holocaust unprecedented and qualitatively distinct in human affairs? How does thoughtlessness (lack of knowledge, intellectual laziness, etc.) threaten to hide the fact of the Holocaust’s uniqueness? Be specific. Go into details. To support your answer, refer to either Yehuda Bauer’s 2001 book, Rethinking the Holocaust, or Alvin Rosenfeld’s 2011 volume, The End of the Holocaust. The point of the exercise is obviously not to rank human misery in a “Suffering Olympics,” but to face the moral and intellectual challenge put to understanding by radical evil.

6. Fighting Prejudice. What can students do to combat harmful prejudice?

7. Standing Up to Injustice. Who do you know of who has stood up heroically against injustice? Or, if you yourself have experienced bigotry, how did you handle it and what did you learn from it?

8. Stopping Genocide. What has allowed genocide to occur in the past and what can be done to prevent it in the future?

9. Terrorism. How should one understand the disturbing brand of human rights violation labeled “terrorism”? How do we think about mass murder for political ends, intentionally directed at civilians and aimed indifferently against whole groups of people, targeted for assassination along ethnic, religious, national or cultural lines?

10. Anti-Social Media. Without the virtues of moderation, forbearance, and toleration, democracies die. Is ours in trouble? How do today’s illiberal political extremes co-create one another, and together threaten to derail American democracy? More specifically, how do far-right White Nationalism (neo-Nazism) and far-left “political correctness” (identity politics) strangely resemble one another, as each of these competing totalitarianisms reacts against and reinforces the other? Read Angela Nagle’s widely discussed 2017 book, Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars from 4Chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right, in order to see how she diagnoses today’s far-right as a twisted response to decades of intimidation by virtue-signaling from social justice warriors on college campuses. What do we need to understand about both extremes in order to defend the “vital center,” around which our national civic life and its human rights culture are built?

11. Jew-Hatred and the Jewish State. Antisemitism (hatred of Jews) and anti-Zionism (hatred of Israel) are on the rise again in our time, after several decades of relative quiescence (following the shock of the Holocaust, which now seems to have worn off). Read this short discussion by a leading scholar of these twin hatreds, and write a response to it.

12.  Islamophobia and Antisemitism. From Pittsburgh, USA, to Christchurch, New Zealand, horrifying intolerance of religious and ethnic differences is on display. As British columnist Brendan O'Neill observes, such atrocities "confirm that identitarianism is now a scourge of the violent right as well as the woke left." Write an essay about Islamophobia and antisemitism as troubling instances of intolerance, in relation to the broader phenomenon of identity politics in our time.

13.  Free Speech and Censorship. As Frederick Douglass famously said, "To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker." With this thought in mind, write about censorship versus toleration of views one disagrees with, in the quest for social progress. Is "no-platforming" controversial speakers the answer to disagreement, loudly shutting down or quietly boycotting those with opinions different from one's own? Or is a progressive society one that actively engages in robust conversation, uncensored civil dialogue and even, at times, contentious debate concerning matters of controversy?

VandeZande Fiction Prize

Prize: $250
Deadline: April 2

The English Department is pleased to announce the establishment of an annual undergraduate fiction award in honor of John M. VandeZande, an esteemed former professor at NMU who died in 2006.  The first competition took place during the 2007-08 academic year.

Guidelines for Submission

  1. ONE story per student.
  2. Stories should be double spaced with one inch margins, using 12-point Times New Roman.
  3. 5,000 word maximum.
  4. Students should NOT write their name or personal information on the story.
  5. Attach an electronic copy of your story to an email and send to english@nmu.edu, with subject line = "VandeZande Submission," and the following information in the body of the email:
    • Your Name
    • Address
    • Phone Number
    • E-mail Address
  6. Submissions failing to meet guidelines will be disqualified

NOTE:  Judges reserve the right not to award the prize should submissions so indicate.

For questions about the contest, please contact the department of English: 227-2711.

Past Writing Contest Award Winners

Barnard Award

1st Place -  Autumn Buchholz for "Maquilas: Manufacturing Gender and Sexual Based Violence

2nd Place Tie -   Sarah Liston for "Malleable Memories and Dictatorship in Two Latin American Documentaries" &  Rachel Placeway for "Preserving the Lives of Troubled Youth"


Houston Award         

1st Place -  Lauren Nyenhuis for "Horror Film Scores Over Time"

2nd Place - Autumn Boyer for "Should We Celebrate Columbus Day?"

3rd Place - Akasha Khalsa for "Narratives of Peace and Violence"


Legler Memorial Poetry Prize

Winners -  Jailin Peterson for "Obsidian" (email jaikaise@nmu.edu to request to read poem) &  Alex Watanen for "We Treat Our Dogs Better"


VandeZande Fiction Prize

Winner -  Peter Smedley for "Frozen Clocks and False Carnations"

Runner-Up - Jane Replogle for "Growing"


Cohodas Literary Prize

1st Place -  Peter Smedley for "The Millennial Narrative"

2nd Place - Lorynn Hackert for "The Darkside of Digital Intimacy"

3rd Place - Jake Rajala for "Making the Right Progression"

Barnard Award

1st Place -  Joseph Sturm for "Daniel of the Blossoming Valley

2nd Place - Matthew Goss for "Inside Checkpoint Two"


Houston Award

1st Place -  Michael Palkki for "Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks:  Being informed to be able to give consent

2nd Place - Mason Pucelik for "Enbridges Line 5, A Disaster Waiting to Happen"


Legler Memorial Poetry Prize

Winner - Devin Hartman for "Ablation"


VandeZande Fiction Prize

Winner -  Akasha Khalsa for " Winter and the Dancers"

Honorable Mentions - Sam Bray for "To Be Reborn" & Zoe Maki for "Come to Where the Flavor Is"


Cohodas Literary Prize

1st Place, Caitlin Sternberg, "Sharing Terror"

2nd Place, Elizabeth Mansfield, "Thinking Differently"

3rd Place Tie, Kelsey Hibbard, "Identity Theft" & Isabelle Nebel, "Cohodas Literary Prize Submission FINAL"

Barnard Award

Winners -

Isabelle Ureel for "Of Monsters and Misogyny
Rebekah Grissom for "The Most Valuable"

Honorable Mention Haley Gaboury for "Realizing the Inevitable"


Houston Award 

Winners -

Arianna Forsman for "Could Ents Be More Than Fiction"
Tyler Penrod for "Anthropocene Extinction: Our Dying Planet"


Legler Memorial Poetry Prize

Winners - 

Scott Dorsch for "The Heights"
Lilith Kontos for "peeling potatoes"


VandeZande Fiction Prize

Winner - Scott Dorsch for "Holes or Tunnels"


Cohodas Literary Prize

1st Place, Nolan M. Greene, "Holocaust Denial"

2nd Place, Aya Jane Waite, "Treat Others as you Wish"

3rd Place, Cortney Kingsley, "Genocide in Guatemala"

Barnard Award

Winners -

Tyler Penrod for "Finding Family" - emailed request to read to tpenrod@nmu.edu
Paige Cutler for "Benzie County"
Abigail Christmas for "Alzheimer's Disease Prevention"


Houston Award         

Winners -

Emily Bell for "Analysis of Vincent van Gogh"
Meagan Bauer for "Emma Watson's Speech to the UN on Gender Equality"


Legler Memorial Poetry Prize

Winners 
Brian Czyzyk for "Diatom"
Maddy Gardiner for "Sitting Outside a Church Parking Lot, for Fish that Fly on Fridays"

Honorable Mentions-
Kendra Klein for "In the Middle of a Cold Stone Church"
Olivia Kingery for "Unbunioned"


VandeZande Fiction Prize

First Place - Noah Hausmann for "Every Man is a Planet"

Second Place - Maddy Gardiner for "Reconciliation: Relativity"

Third Place - Drew Boggemes for "The Space - A Guided Meditation"


Cohodas Literary Prize

1st Place, Emma Schroeder, "Jusqu'ici Tout Va Bien"

2nd Place, Rabah Gabasha, "Muslim-Jewish Relations in the Dar-al-Islam"

3rd Place, Lucy Meyer-Rasmussen, "Persecution of the Poor"

Honorable Mentions:
Rachel Loftus, "Our Failing Education System"
Hanna Meadows, "Decline of Civility"

Barnard Award

Winners -

Morgan Schmidt for "Inside a Bleeding Mind"
Abigail Zeman for "Masking Disability:  Hypermasculine and Neo-Misogynistic Richard"

Finalists -
Emily Winnell for "Homosociology in Romeo and Juliet"
Lindsey Lancaster for "The Strong One"
Nicholas Shortreed for "'Do No Harm':  An Exploration of Medicine in William Shakespeare's Writings and Modern Filmic Adaptations"


Houston Award         

Winners -

Samantha Peplow for "The King's Speech"
Lilith Kontos for "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen"

Finalist -
Virginia Jahr for "Everything Happens for a Reason"
    


Legler Memorial Poetry Prize

Winner - Mariel Murray for "Piccadilly Circus"

Honorable Mentions-
Kendra Klein for "Bad Belly"
Olivia Kingery for "Deer Hanging from the Ceiling"


VandeZande Fiction Prize

Winner - Macie Mitchell for "On Smells"

Finalist -
Luke Faste for "Babyhead"
Noah Hausmann for "Until the Whistle Blows"
Rachel Grabowski for "For You, I Have Tried"


Cohodas Literary Prize

1st Place, Anthony Ciaramitaro, "The Big Strong Government and the Little Wahatehwe Wa'ipi"

2nd Place, Zak Linczeski, "Nazi Genocide"

3rd Place, Katarina Jerman, "Religious Violence and the Associated Stereotypes"

Barnard Award

Winner - McKenzie Shepherd for "My Tile Floor"

Finalists -
Nick Obradovich for "Cut"
YeWon Park for "Rash"


Houston Award         

Winner - Jaici Shiemke for "Pure Heroin"


Legler Memorial Poetry Prize

Winner - Brian Czyzyk for "Bitter Ode"


VandeZande Fiction Prize

1st Place- Anna Daavettila for "A Driving Night"

2nd Place-  Kaitlin Kolhoff for "Halcyon"


Cohodas Literary Prize

1st Place, Danielle Pierre-Trettel, "Gender Identity and Expression and Simone de Beauvoir"

2nd Place, Maggie Rose, "Life In Syrian Refugee Camps"

3rd Place, Meghan Garrett, "Can you hear us now?: Discrimination against the deaf community"

 

Barnard Award

Winner - Alex Shur for "Another Time's Forgotten Space"

Finalists -

2nd Place - Nicole Grossman for "Protection Against Gray Wolves"

3rd Place - Cheryl Brislin for "Detrimental Effects of Texting on Student's GPA and Well-being"


Houston Award

Winner - Alyssa Younk for "Disgraced: An Analysis of Gender Bias and Sexuality"

Finalists -

2nd Place - Aubrey Kall for "The Charming Diaries"

3rd Place - Olivia Crawford for "Seventy-Eight Million Minutes"


Legler Memorial Poetry Prize

Winner - Parker Ameel for  "Be Here to Love Me"

1st Runner-up - Doug Turnbull for "Vulcan Cayembe"

2nd Runner-up - Macie Mitchell for "We Don't Eat"

3rd Runner-up - Maggie Hopp for "Snake in the Garden"

4th Runner-up - Audrey Jazdzyk for "The Feathered Gods"


VandeZande Fiction Prize

Winner - Kaitlin Kolhoff for "The Bear"

Honorable Mentions - Elizabeth Stieber for "Doves" & Elizabeth Butler for "Through the Dancing"


Cohodas Literary Prize

1st Prize, Jessica Ulrich, "The Corruption of Standardized Tests (A Genocide of the Mind?)"

2nd Prize, Katelyn Stralkowski, "The Importance of Civility in Modern Society"

3rd Prize, Mark Surrell, "The Genocide of Mental Disability"

Barnard Award

Winner - Ashley Ede for "The Stocking"

Finalists -

2nd Place - Taylor Keiser for "The Duckling"

3rd Place - Christopher Piche Boris for "Extra Cargo"


Houston Award

Winner - Katlin Connin for "Hatchling"

Finalists -

2nd Place - Laken Falewitch for "My Mother's Hands"

3rd Place - Angela Olgren for "What Remains of Ice and Snow"


Legler Memorial Poetry Prize

Winner - Audrey Jazdzyk for  "Levon"

1st Runner-up - Jaci Millette for "The Odyssey"

2nd Runner-up - Josh Starbuck for "Lament for the Union on the March to the Sea"


VandeZande Fiction Prize

Winner - Max Wojciechowski for "The Road of the Tsimshian"

Honorable Mentions - Reannon Dykehouse for "Ring Finger Sorrows" & Kaylie Armbruster for "The First Maiden"

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cohodas Literary Prize

1st Prize, Tanya Pazdernik, "Local Agency and Individual Initiative in the Evolution of the Holocaust: The Case of Heinrich Himmler"

2nd Prize, Danielle Morrison, "Captive Companions"

3rd Prize, Christian Tauriainen, "The Ethics of Inequality"

Barnard Award

Winner - Taylor Smith for"Radiance"

Finalists -

Benjamin Greenwald for "The Hunter Becomes the Hunted"

Tevra Boris for "To Cross or not to Cross"


Houston Award

Winner - Thomas Ian Beddows for "Formal Report: Summary of Scientific Research Concerning Trientalis borealis"

Finalists -   Alesha Bartlett for "The Tale of Two Dallards" & Dorthy Anderson for "Groundhog Day"


Legler Memorial Poetry Prize

Winner - Josh Starbuck for "An American Dream"

1st Runner-up - Willow Grosz for "Up It Went"

2nd Runner-up - Grace Makley for "To a Place I've Been"

3rd Runner-up - Katelyn Durst for "The Lament of the Ex-Mennonite Farms in Lancaster & Franklin Counties"

4th Runner-up - Abbegail Hoye for "The little things I can't keep here."


VandeZande Fiction Prize

Winner - Bradley Aleman for "The Santa Truth"

Finalists -  Reannon Dykehouse for "Halls for a King"

Josey Bonini-Aalto for "Love, Pills, & Wintertime"

Hannah Schug for "Daughter, or:  If My Parents Had Never Gotten It On"

Russell Pierce for "How to get spent"


Cohodas Literary Prize

1st Prize, Grace Renwand, "The Experience of the Deaf During the Holocaust"

2nd Prize, John Schimek, "Tolerance and Hospitality: the Key to Religious Plurality"

3rd Prize, Irene McCauley, "White Noise"

Barnard Student Writing Award

Winner
Kristy Schwiderson for "A Symbol of Love; Past, Present, & Future"

Finalists:
Amanda Hardy for "One Lightening Symphony"
Grace Larkin for "With Angelic Help"


Houston Student Writing Award

Winner
A. Michael Jacoby for "A Nightingale Cries"

Finalists:
Josey Bonini-Aalto for "Reflections of War's Brutish Reality in Johnny Got His Gun"
Kimmie Conrad for "The Farm"


Legler Memorial Poetry Prize

Winner
Maxwell Peterson for "Morning Deer"

1st Runner up - Paige Anteau for "Under the Influence of Calm"
2nd Runner up - Ian Girard for "(a Tanka)"
3rd Runner up - Doug Turnbull for "Johnny Hurt"
4th Runner up - Rachel Hare for "Old Tenants"


VandeZande Fiction Prize

Winner Reannon Dykehouse for "Las Abuelas"

Finalists:
Kiah Watson for "After the Probe"
Abbegail Hoye for "They've Disappeared"
Rachel Dunne for "An Adventure"
Rachel Wendels for "Third Time's a Charm"
Jessica Krueger for "For Whom the Bell Tolls"


The Lois and Willard Cohodas Literary Prize

1st Place
Shauna Neshek for "Morality: The Bigfoot of Theory"

2nd Place
Kassondra Hendricks for "Eradication of “race”"

3rd Place
Benjamin Scheelk for "Finding Common Ground"

Barnard Award

Winner - Jacqueline Carroll for her essay "Oh Me, Oh Michelangelo"

Finalists -
Naysa Anderson for "Sooner"
Stacie Davidson for "Sunday-Best"


Houston Award

Winner - Reannon Dykehouse for her essay "Irishmen"

Finalists -
Hannah Cotton for "Tuesday Evening"
Shauna Neshek for "American Untouchables"


Legler Memorial Poetry Prize

Winner - Hannah Schug for her poem "Limbo is a bus station"

1st Runner-up - Courtney DePottey for her untitled poem
2nd Runner-up - Jeremy Vavrik for "Walking Home"
3rd Runner-up - Jessica Parker for "Fireflies"


VandeZande Fiction Prize

Winner - Jessica Parker for her story "An is to a was"

Finalists -

Maxwell Peterson for "Fisgard and the Boy"
Stacy Milbourn for "Snow"
Tracy Pickering for "A Roving, Solitary Thing"
Rachel Wendels for "Moldy Milk"
Cameron Witbeck for "The Rifle Line"


Cohodas Literary Prize

1st Place - Tracy Pickering for her essay "The Romani"

2nd Place - Kylynn Perdue-Bronson for her essay "Chain of Evidence"

3rd Place - Hailey Heikkinen for her essay "Abandon Ship Before It's Too Late and All This Love I have Will Turn to Hate"

Barnard Award Winner

Erin Sikkema for her paper "A Before E"

Barnard Award Finalists -
Aaron Sarka
Maegan Hoard
Kelly Chandler


Houston Award Winner

Molly Anderson for her paper "The Lengths That I Will Go To"

Houston Award Finalists -
Angela Carter
Ellary Renier
Karen Rudisill


Legler Poetry Award

Cameron Witbeck for his poem "Post Partum"

Legler Honorable Mentions
Tom Rich
Maxwell Peterson


VandeZande Fiction Prize Winner

Tom Rich for his story "The Captain of Artillery"

VandeZande Honorable Mentions
L.J. Geoffrion
Matt Mallum


Cohodas Literary Prize Winners

First Place
Cameron Witbeck for his paper "What can Students do to Combat Prejudice?"

Second Place
Rachael Shoemaker for her paper "Loss of Innocence"

Third Place
Lisa Geoffrion for her paper "Color Blind"

Barnard Award Winner

Elizabeth Dirkse (right) for her paper "Tia Liz"

Barnard Award Runners-Up
Alayna Sobieniak
Douglas Straka


Houston Award Winner

Nolan Jensen (left) for his paper "Make Yourself"

Houston Award Runners-UP
Jessica Parker
Jessica Wilson


Legler Memorial Poetry Prize

Winner, “For Little Jude,” by Michala Hansen

Finalist, "Abracadabra," Cameron Witbeck

Finalist, "City," by Tom Rich


 

VandeZande Fiction Prize Winners

Winner, “How to Find a Three-legged Dog,” by Jaime VanEnkevort

Finalist, “Pancakes,” by Michala Hansen

Finalist, “Cartoon-Worthy,” by Alaina Vandermissen

Finalist, "Birth Control," by Stefan Mittelbrunn


Cohodas Literary Prize

First Prize, “On the Possibility of Tolerant Religion,” by David Hilden

Second Prize, “The Socratic Hero,” by Derek O’Connell

Third Prize, “Worldview Debate and the Tolerance of Ideas,” by Patrick Arnold

Cohodas Literary Prize Winners

First Place - Stephanie Frenzel for "American Jewish Prisoners of War in World War II"

Second Place - Janna Fox for "I Have 6,577,171,412 Brothers and Sisters"

Third Place - Megan Allen for "The Medical Ethos of the Third Reich"