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English Department Names Allbee Award Winners

Four UVM students have won the English Department’s 2013-14 Marion Berry Allbee Award. This annual prize for non-fiction writing is named in honor of Dr. Roger Allbee (UVM College of Medicine) in memory of his wife, UVM Class of 1931. The winners will be recognized at the English Departmental Honors Ceremony on Friday, April 25 at 3:30 p.m. in Old Mill's John Dewey Lounge.

Judged by a panel of UVM English professors, the Allbee Awards are designed to recognize outstanding student writers at the start and end of their UVM careers.  First-year students are invited to submit their best non-fiction essays from English 1 and Teacher-Adviser Program (TAP) seminars, while seniors can submit work written in senior seminars and master’s students from graduate seminars.   

Shelby Nolan is this year’s award winner in the English 1 category for her essay, “Mirror, Mirror,” written in Professor Jean Bessette’s class. The judges described Nolan’s piece as “an urgent essay…about the consequences of culturally insisted upon and racialized imperatives of beauty,” finding especially impressive her “precise detail and passionate perspective.”  English 1 student William Wilkins received an honorable mention for his essay, “A World of Good,” written for instructor Ryan Engley.

In the TAP first-year seminar category, Madeline Rose Simon won for her essay, “Presumed Power,” written in Senior Lecturer Sheila Boland Chira’s class. The judges characterized Simon’s essay as a “particularly well organized and well written” piece that explores the conflicts of race, gender, politics and power in Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water.

Jennifer Henning took the prize in the English senior seminar category for her essay, “Deconstructing Dichotomies: Subversion of the Gender Binary in Henry James,” which she wrote in Professor Daniel Mark Fogel’s course. The judges praised Henning’s essay for its “theoretical sophistication, careful close reading, attention to historical context and confident and engaging style.” 

In the English graduate seminar category, Ryan Engley came out on top for his essay on Thoreau, titled “Why does Ecocriticism have to be so gosh-darned earnest?: Utopia, Satire, and the Ecocritical Tradition in Walden.” The judges thought that Engley’s essay, written for Professor Elizabeth Fenton, was an impressive “reimagination of a major canonical text in light of important contemporary critical concerns.”