Every day, students at the University of Michigan work hard to develop their skills as writers. Every winter, we have a chance to sample the fruits of this labor as we select winners for the first-year writing prize. The English Department Writing Program and the Sweetland Center for Writing established a first-year writing prize in 2010. With generous support from the Sweetland Center for Writing, Andrew Feinberg and Stacia Smith (both of whom earned English degrees from the University of Michigan), and the Granader Family, we have developed a tradition of honoring students who produce writing of exceptional quality.
In this collection, we share the writing of prize-winning students so that other writers may learn from, and feel inspired by, their examples. The featured essays illustrate how writers formulate compelling questions, engage in dialogue with other thinkers, incorporate persuasive and illuminating evidence, express powerful and poetic insights, and participate in meaningful conversations.
We are equally grateful to the many students who submitted essays for these writing prizes and the many instructors who encouraged and supported them. As writing teachers, we relish the opportunity to learn from the challenging questions, intellectual energy, creativity, and dedication that our students and their teachers bring to our classrooms. We hope that you will gain as much pleasure as we have from reading the writing contained in this volume.