Talented writers celebrated with awards

Hannah Brooks, Features editor

The English Department is accepting submissions for the P. Barry McAndrew award. For this scholarship, students will write critical essays on a piece of literature. The winner will receive an award certificate, a check for $250 and have their work displayed at the final installment of the Literary Festival. Per the event flier, this award strives to “honor the best examples of student writing each year.” The award is endowed by the McAndrew family and named after Barry McAndrew, who was a professor in the English department at Mercyhurst for over four decades.

McAndrew was a well-loved professor during his time at Mercyhurst. He was a very active part of the Mercyhurst community, working as an associate professor of English as well as the public address announcer for Laker foot-ball and basketball until his retirement in 2014.

“Barry McAndrew, even after retiring, was the voice of Mercyhurst athletics,” said Gregory Brown, assistant professor of English. “He was the announcer for our games, and also has quite an amazing voice.”

Brown is coordinating the scholarship this year, although the award has been offered for over a decade now. Its goal is to motivate students to achieve literary excellence. “The first awards were given in 2007, and have been given every year since,” said Brown. “It is important to acknowledge upcoming scholars, and we hope that this prize urges students to do their best work.”

Separate from the critical essay writing, all students who have their work accepted to the Lumen are automatically entered to win awards for Creative Writing and also have the opportunity to win $250.Last year’s winner was Megan Siegfried, who received a bachelor’s in Professional Writing and is working on her master’s in Secondary Education: Pedagogy in Practice. Siegfried won the P. Barry McAndrew Award for her essay “Finding Truth with Eyes Closed: Perspective in James Joyce’s Ulysses.” She also won the Creative Writing award for her poem “Beartooth Lake.”

“My essay was interested in Joyce’s attempts to critique self-serving perspectives by developing blindness as a symbol throughout his novel,” said Siegfried. “My poem, which won the Creative Writing award, was inspired by the scenery I encountered during a trip to Yellowstone National Park in 2019.”Siegfried adds that both awards were an honor for her to win, and the entire experience was both re-warding and exciting.“When I found out that I won the awards, I was thrilled,” said Siegfried. “Last year was particularly challenging, not just for me, but for everybody, due to the problems that isolation and Covid-19 caused. Winning these awards were an incredible validation of the effort I had been putting forth all year.”

Siegfried also adds that she is thankful not only for the awards, but for the invaluable education that she received from the English department. “I was incredibly proud of myself and my work for winning the awards,” she said. “The faculty in the English department here are unbelievably talented educators, and I would not be the writer I am today without them.”

The deadline to submit en-tries for the P. Barry McAndrew award is April 1. Submissions are to be sent to Gregory Brown at gbrown2@mercyhurst.edu. Be sure to get your entries together soon and put forth your best efforts at writing and literary criticism!