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Honors & Awards

Each year English majors and minors have the opportunity to earn membership in two honor societies and win awards based on their research and writing abilities.


Creative & Critical Writing Awards

Journalism Awards & Scholarships

Recipients of 2024 IWU Creative Writing Awards:

Illinois Wesleyan University Department of English Prize for Short Fiction

Winner: MJ Soria for “Lifestyle Tips”

Honorable Mention: Asia B. Rogers for “Just Once"

Judge: Jac Jemc

About Soira’s work, Jemc writes: “Soria's story employs a voice that is unmistakably assured. There is humor and irony in the way the character of Nessa moves through the absurd spaces of contemporary life. Soria creates an atmosphere that is at once sinister and flippant, causing the reader to wonder if Nessa is capable of identifying the real threats surrounding her or if an unidentified risk lurks just outside of her awareness. A nihilism lines the story, asking, what does it matter?”

IWU Department of English Prize for Short Fiction judge Jac Jemc is the author of three novels and two collections of short fiction. Her most recent novel is Empty Theater. Her work has received many honors, including a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. Jemc teaches creative writing at UC San Diego.

Peter J. Theune Memorial Essay Prize

Winner: Brook Pacchetti for “New Year, Same Place” and “Paternity Scandal at the Funeral”
Honorable Mention: Van Le for “A Communistic McDonald’s Advertisement”
Judge: Rachel Jamison Webster

About Pacchetti’s essays, Webster writes, “I chose these essays for their shapeliness. Both are written about knotty and complex family situations, but the author has a sense of how to hone them to keep the reader’s attention and to focus, ultimately, on psychological awareness. Pacchetti varies her sentence length and achieves a pleasing and clarified prose rhythm. This approachable style contrasts nicely with the essays’ emotional complexity. The essays illuminate hard-won truths about life and family, about what we owe to others and to ourselves.”
Peter J. Theune Memorial Essay Prize judge Rachel Jamison Webster is the author of five books, most recently Benjamin Banneker and Us: Eleven Generations of an American Family, hailed as a Best Book of 2023 by The New Yorker. She teaches at Northwestern University.

Arthur W. Hinners & Louise Hinners Sipfle Poetry Prize presented by the Academy of American Poets

Winner: Farah Bassyouni
Judge: Diego Báez
Of Bassyouni’s poems, Báez writes, “In lyrics that are intimately tender and burning with insight, Farah Bassyouni's poems navigate the spaces between mothers and daughters, between English and Arabic, between chance encounters with the divine at O'Hare Airport and afterthoughts of international students on a Greyhound bus (‘i wonder what they’d think about Palestine’). Whether whispering words for ‘mercy’ and ‘love’ in Arabic, or conjuring the alimentary comforts of home (olive branches, tea with milk, lemon, and honey), Bassyouni asserts a lyrical legacy all her own, at once brightly hopeful and defiantly sincere: ‘i am the land you couldn't burn / the souls you couldn't steal / i am the love you couldn't take away.’”

Arthur W. Hinners & Louise Hinners Sipfle Poetry Prize judge Diego Báez is the author of the poetry collection Yaguarete White. His work has received many honors, including fellowships from CantoMundo and the Poetry Foundation’s Incubator for Community-Engaged Poets. He teaches at the City Colleges of Chicago.

Michael Theune - Robert Harrington Endowed Professor of English and Chair of English

Department - English