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  • Writer's pictureKathryn Orwig

Winner of the Nonfiction Summer 2017 Hopwood Awards

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

The Hopwood Library is tucked inside Angle Hall behind a nondescript door with a small plaque beside it.

Once one enters, it is like entering a favorite study or bookstore. Cozy, warm, and inviting all come to mind with just a glance at the round table stacked with books upon it, while even more spines peak out of bins and shelves along every wall.

It not only holds new books and old, but also the famous Hopwood Books. The manuscripts of past winners of the Hopwood Awards since the 1930's whose work has been bound for all prosperity.

The Hopwood Awards are an indicator of a successful writer/literary career. To be among their ranks is something often discussed anxiously, when award season comes, among the hopeful student crowd.

It is an honor to have my name among them after being awarded one of two selected winners for the Nonfiction Summer 2017 Hopwood Awards!

The Hopwood Room is more than the awards, and library to me though, for it is where I made my first friend at the University of Michigan.

On recommendation from a professor, I had ventured down to this hidden library, knocked on the nondescript door and was greeted by a friendly student worker. A ray of sunshine among the dusty books, she talked a mile a minute as she flitted about the place setting up an Author Tea Talk, which I was welcome to stay and attend.

I soon became a regular to the Hopwood Author Tea events, and came early to chat with her. It wasn't long before writing came up between us and she invited me to come to a writing club she was a part of.

At such a large establishment that the University of Michigan is, finding a niche, a spot, a group of people you connect with is more than possible from all the choices; but also a little overwhelming. Yet, from one recommendation, to one friendship, to one club, I was able to find a place where I not only fit in, but where all of us writers who met to critique work in a fostering environment fit in.

From book-gift-exchanges, to writerly games (Writers' Clue!) to just being able to laugh and bounce ideas off one another, it was a most wonderful group to write with. Learn with. And grow with.

So I thank the University of Michigan for having the library. Thank the Hopwood Awards for the honor. And thank my friend at UM for the kindness and open arms that dropped me into the boiling waters of critique. I needed it.


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