Since 1931, the Hopwood Program has sponsored writing contests – most notably the Avery and Jule Hopwood Awards, but also other contests and prizes - for University of Michigan students. Celebrated winners include Arthur Miller, John Ciardi, Mary Gaitskill, Robert Hayden, Lawrence Kasdan, Jane Kenyon, Frank O’Hara, Marge Piercy, Edmund White, and Nancy Willard, among the many, many others.
Though the Hopwood Room in Angell Hall is the locus of ongoing activity for this program, the Special Collections Library holds the older archives. We have correspondence from among the program's administrators and judges (and some potential judges who declined to participate), as well as manuscript materials from Avery Hopwood, other members of the Hopwood family, and Roy Cowden, the program’s director, 1933-1952.
We also hold copies of the award-winning submissions for the years 1931-1958. These manuscripts are available for researchers to request and use, but they aren’t currently well represented in Mirlyn (our library catalog). The most comprehensive list of winning submissions is available for download from the Hopwood Program’s website. You can view a list of all the Special Collections Library’s Hopwood-related items that are cataloged in Mirlyn here.
Certainly one might consult these manuscripts for scholarly research into, say, the early poetry of Robert Hayden. Over the years, though, these manuscripts have also been appreciated by family members of contest winners, or even winners, themselves. Before a recent Thanksgiving break, one student bound for a large family gathering was able to take some photos of their grandmother’s award-winning novel to share with the cousins, aunts, uncles, even Grandma!
Did someone you know - or perhaps some author you admire - win a Hopwood Award before ‘58? Come visit us and take a look!