Every two years, the Anderson University English department holds a contest to reward and recognize students for their exceptional writing. The Genesis Contest alternates years with the Syford Poetry Contest. Entry is open to all AU students and consists of short stories, brief plays, academic essays, literary essays, and more.
"The Genesis Contest was initiated by a group of students who wanted the English department to host a contest for prose writing," said Assistant Professor of English Deborah Miller Fox, who has directed both contests for 15 years.
In 1996, several English majors lobbied for the creation of a writing contest to acknowledge outstanding creative writing. Agreeing that the poetry contest ignored a significant population of writers on the AU campus, the English department set aside profits from the annual Literary Arts Magazine, which publishes student poetry, fiction, and artwork, to establish a new contest and fund cash prizes.
The overall winner of the contest receives $50, second place gets $20, and third place receives $15. There is also a $50 cash prize for the winner of the Amy Lopez Outstanding Essay Award. This award honors former English department professor and chair Amy Lopez. “We don’t always receive enough submissions in this category to be able to award the prize,” said Miller Fox. “I would like to see more students from other disciplines participate in this particular category of the Genesis contest.”
Winning awards in the contest this year were senior English major Megan Bishop, senior theatre and English major Sarah White, and junior philosophy and writing major Kirsten Milliron. All three students credit Miller Fox with helping them develop their writing. “Professor Miller Fox has taught most of my creative writing classes and I tribute her with a lot of what I have learned as a writer,” said Milliron.
White dedicated her writing to her father. “He was the one who taught me to love words and believe in their power,” said White. “My dad and I have both gone through a lot of pain in our lives, but we’re still making beautiful things.
“Most of the professors I have studied under here at AU have helped me in some way with my writing, whether it was the idea of a story, technical prowess over the English language, character development as an actor, or even just helping me to understand the world more,” White continued.
All authors who entered the contest were notified when the judges completed their evaluations. Applicants were also invited to an awards ceremony in which the winning pieces were formally recognized. Additionally, all winning pieces were submitted to the Literary Arts Magazine staff for consideration in the spring edition.
— Aimee Munn is a junior from Indianapolis, Ind., majoring in communication arts and minoring in political science and history. Munn is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.