The Maroon

Dawson Gaillard Writing Awards

Payton Whittaker

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Students with an apt for writing have the opportunity to present their pieces in an attempt to win the Dawson Gaillard Writing Award with the 37th annual competition taking place this year.

Submission acceptance began Jan. 8 and ends on Friday, Feb. 9, and it is open to all Loyola students.

There are four categories students can submit pieces under, including fiction, script, poem and general or scholarly essays.

The competition is named for Dawson Gaillard, who was a chair of the English department and an editor of the New Orleans Review, a literary publication.

“Originally it was just in creative writing,” said John Mosier, Loyola English professor. “We gradually added categories and it got bigger and bigger.”

Mosier oversees the entire competition and reads every submission as an overall evaluation of how the students are doing in their writing.

“I’m very pleased with the quality of the submissions,” he said.

Members of the English department are the judges of the competition. Because the judges are bound to recognize some of the names on the submissions, the pieces are submitted without a name and are instead attached to a number to avoid bias.

“We do it as a sort of blind competition so the entries themselves don’t identify who the author is,” said John Biguenet, English department chairman.

One member of the department will do the first reading, and if there is ever any question about which piece should be the winner, the bunch is then handed off to another faculty member.

“Dr. John Mosier oversees the whole competition and settles if there is any question about the winner,” Biguenet said.

There is no specific template for how the judges rate a piece of work. The judges look for a piece that seeks to accomplish something and how well the piece succeeds in doing that. Because the judges look for what the writer is trying to accomplish, winners of competitions vary from year to year.

“I think what each of the judges is looking for is basically the best of the crop,” Mosier said.

Submissions are to be sent to the administrative assistant in Bobet 318. Names of authors are not to be attached to the piece.

The competition is always held in the spring and the awards are announced by the College of Arts and Sciences at the end of the semester.

“They’re technically supposed to be secret, but at some point, we tell the winners first so they can make plans with their parents,” Mosier said.

Biguenet has helped english writing senior Mackenzie Becker get a copywriting internship in the marketing office. She now works with William Glass, the creative copywriter for Loyola’s Office of Marketing and Communications.

“The English department is also very helpful in arranging writing-based internships for students,” Becker said.

Additional writing opportunities for Loyola students include other student publications such as the Critical and Creative Arts publication or Reader’s Response: Undergraduate Essays.

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Dawson Gaillard Writing Awards