Creative Writing

The program offers a wide range of extracurricular activities and opportunities each term, including readings by visiting published authors, “craft talks” with these authors, student readings and small-scale productions or “staged readings” of student-authored plays and scripts in conjunction with the theatre arts program.



Watch video of poetry readings


Newhouse Writing Awards  

The Newhouse Writing Awards are held each spring at Le Moyne and are judged anonymously. Winners in each of five categories and two winners chosen from among the work judges select as second place in each category receive a cash prize of $300.00.


Creative Non-fiction Award: Carolyn Jannetti for “Catcher in the Rye”
Judge’s comments: This essay meditates on a strong and enduring sibling relationship in a voice that is direct and disarmingly candid in its modesty. The speaker does not pretend to explain (or even to understand) why the bond with the older brother is as strong as it is; instead, she evokes intimate moments in a common love of books, particularly for J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, to sketch the relationship, tenderly and with great respect. The writer imparts a rich and complex texture to her meditation by exploring both the similarities and the dissimilarities between Holden Caulfield's relationship with his younger sister, Phoebe, and her own relationship with her brother. This is a deep and affecting essay that honors what is mysterious about any relationship, even (or perhaps especially) a loving one.

Critical Essay Award: Brendan Gilligan for “One Shylock, Two Plays: The Interpolation of Form in The Merchant of Venice”
Judge’s comments: This is a broad and thorough essay which benefits from incorporating the work of some of the leading critics of our time, namely Harold Bloom and Northrop Frye. In doing so, the author goes beyond a superficial engagement with plot to truly explore the complex question of whether Shylock is a comic or a tragic figure. This exploration leads to interesting insights into theories of cultural context and the way in which post-Shoah readings of Shylock would necessarily be as complex as the character himself. And just as history has changed the way in which we see the characters in this play, so too has technology offered new interpretations. This essay’s discussion is further deepened by the consideration of two films: John Sichel’s 1973 film featuring Sir Laurence Olivier and Michael Radford’s 2004 film with Al Pacino. The sustained critical engagement and complex analysis in this essay shows clear promise for future scholarly work of a high standard.

Play or Film/TV Script Award: Alisha Espinosa for “Whore”
Judge’s comments: Although based on a work of fiction (as has been much of dramatic writing) and structured in lengthy monologues, the author of Whore supplies visual, staging and musical ideas that communicate in theatrical language. Presentation of the women’s' stories are simultaneously horrifying and touching, while the overall work presents a unique sense of healing and solace.

Poetry Award: Brendan Gilligan for “An Archaeologist”
Judge’s comments: "The Archaeologist" is striking in its ability to balance the intellectual, emotional and physical components that are essential to the poem There is a strong sense of rhythm in the lines and both the imagery and voice are powerful. The poet has command of the language and tone and knows the subject matter intimately – and yet some mystery, some unanswered questions remain.

Short Fiction Award: Aprylle Deasy for “We Are the Clowns”
Judge’s comments: “We Are the Clowns” is the story of a girl trapped in service to the circus and to her father's life. With no true prospects of escape and integrating into normal society, she ponders escaping on her own terms. Living on the high wire would seem like the most dangerous part of this girl's life, and it is, but not for the reasons one might expect. A fine meditation on how one can be trapped in a life, any life, and the lengths that some will go to escape it.

Any Genre Award #1: Talia Hollander for “Motherhood: On Nagging, Pride, and Dessert Making”
Judge’s comments: This essay reflects on what the narrator terms her "early-onset motherhood" personality, which compels her to nag, keep tabs on, advise, and bake for her wide circle of friends and her younger sister. With good humor and a self-deprecating wit, she confronts the possibility (raised by her sister) that she might sometimes be overbearing, and that as a "mother" she may one day be superannuated; ultimately these fears are turned aside and the speaker's "inner mom" is once more on display by the end of the piece. The writer's garrulous voice and lively voice make this a pleasure to read.

Any Genre Award #2: Rose Murphy for “Clouds in My Coffee”
Judges’s comments: "Clouds in my Coffee" creates an atmosphere for the reader through honest metaphor and perfect pace. The poem has rich details, appealing musicality and sincere language. There is tension in the poem which the poet subtly and carefully conveys using objects and images that contain energy and meaning.  

2011 Recipients

Creative Non-fiction Award: Fiona Barbour for “The Psychology of Seniority”
Judge's comments: This essay concerns itself with the anxieties of a near-graduate and is characterized by its engaging wit and lively voice. Most impressive was this essay's effort to deal with the informal essay on its own terms, to lift the quotidian, as the best essayists do, through craft to the level of art.

Critical Essay Award: Talia Hollander for “The ‘Stronger’ Headstrong Daughter: Hermia or Cordelia?”
Judge’s comments: The essay “The ‘Stronger’ Headstrong Daughter: Hermia or Cordelia?” offers an insightful analysis of the complicated, often vexing daughter-father relationship in Shakespeare’s plays. The essay focuses on this relationship’s most problematic aspects--the rejection of the maturing daughters by aging, jealous fathers, the treatment of daughters as “property,” the daughters’ use of speech (or the absence of speech) as a way to defy their fathers--and, simultaneously, considers issues that illuminate our understanding of the condition of women in Renaissance England. The essay arrives at the perhaps surprising, but splendidly and convincingly argued conclusion that despite Hermia’s insistent and much more aggressive disobedience of both her father and the social norms, it is Cordelia, Lear’s prudent (an important word in the Renaissance vocabulary) and discerning daughter who, in the end, proves to be the strongest female character amongst the two. … Intelligently written, carefully researched, and well organized, the essay is both effective and stimulating. The argument proceeds in an organized and clear fashion, discourse is appropriate to the topic, and the well-chosen examples adequately illuminated the main points of the author’s analysis.

Play or Film/TV Script Award: Nate O’Neil for “Nixon Doesn’t Smile Off Camera”
Judge’s comments: The play provides a smart, dramatic angle on Richard Nixon’s story, with well written dialogue and an insightful perspective on how history judges.

Poetry Award: Jocelyn Hart for “Silence”
Judge’s comments: “Silence” appealed to me for its quiet yet disturbing turn, and the sharp impact of the last sentence. There is also a quiet, mild lyricism to the poem.

Short Fiction Award: Fiona Barbour for “Relationship Arc”
Judge’s comments: This is a beautifully conceived character-driven story about a man pursuing the hard-to-get woman. … She’s hard to get not because she’s popular, but because she’s entirely oblivious to his feelings. I enjoyed the irony of an intellectually sophisticated woman who is so emotionally immature. The writer introduces the situation with grace and ease and then packs in a surprising amount of humor. The game the protagonist develops creates suspense and propels the narrative to an ending that teased me with a beguiling mixture of resolution and doubt.

Any Genre Award #1: Omar Qaquish for “I Challenge”
Judge’s comments: “I Challenge” is a very sustained and substantial effort, evocative in its refrain and range of subject matter.

Any Genre Award #2: Aprylle Deasey for “What Mother Dreams Of”
Judge’s comments: There is great inventiveness in this story about a young woman who must assume a parental role for her injured mother and make a difficult decision. As the narrative moves between fairy tales and reality, it carries forth the promise of the opening section and comes full circle with a parallel closing section that concludes in a manner that is wise and playful. … I admired the richness of the author’s imagination and his or her willingness to take risks.

2010 Recipients

Poetry: Alice Chanthasensak:   “Once I Was a Classics Major”  
Fiction Award: Omar Qaqish:  ”Forever We Played in the Snow” 
Playwright Award: Jordan Judd: A Game of Inches
Creative Non-fiction Award: Aiden Cleghorn: “The Woman of Three Worlds” 
Critical Essay Award:  Ashley O’Mara: “It’s In Your Blood” 
Any Genre Award #1:  Kari Wertz:  the poem “I Believe
Any Genre #2: Matthew Denvir:  the story “St. John’s” 

2008 Recipients

Fiction: Kelly Addams for "Scarred" (pdf)
Poetry: Cristina Quinones for "The Wine Glass" (pdf)
Critical Essay: Katherine Panning for "Translations and Christenings" (pdf)
Creative Non-Fiction: Kyle Mullins for "Splash, Turn, and Twist" (pdf)
Play: Tanith Callicoatt for "Pipe Dreams" (pdf)

Two Additional Awards
Fiction: Allison Ehrhart for "Mrs. Deboius" (pdf)
Poetry (One Award Shared Between):
    Tonastacia Dennis for "Peppermints" (pdf)
    Stephen Mullane for "A Collective: Your Songs of Myselves" (pdf)

2007 Recipients

Ryan DeWolfe - Soup De-Saster
Tisha Dunstan - The Garden Path
James Fleury - The Breakdown of Good and Evil in M
Tyler Hendry - Amen
Peter Keith-Slack - The Stain
Jess Maggi - Love
Olivia Martin - At 2:09 am 

Denise Gasiorowski Award

The Denise Gasiorowski Award is given annually to the creative writing concentrator or minor who best exemplifies "passion for language in his or her writing in any creative writing genre." Offered in memory of a former Le Moyne student who was herself an accomplished poet, the award offers a $50 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble Bookstore and a $50 gift certificate to the Le Moyne Bookstore, where Denise Gasiorowski worked. This award was made possible through gifts donated by Denise's family and friends.


2005: Lucy Harrison (Sample poem - pdf)
2006: Elizabeth Schylinski (Sample poem - pdf)
2007: Peter Keith-Slack (Sample play - pdf)
2008: Allison Ehrhart (Sample poem - pdf)
         Colleen Ghee (Sample fiction - pdf)
2009: Kelly Addams
2010: Staci Dennis
2011: Samantha Salvato

James Fitzgibbons Memorial Award

The James Fitzgibbons Award in English will be offered annually to a continuous-learning student who best exemplifies "commitment to his or her studies and a high degree of honesty and insight in his or her writing and critical skills." The award is offered in memory of Jim Fitzgibbons, a former Le Moyne student who excelled in literature and creative writing, both in the enthusiastic way he approached his work, and also in the degree of honesty and authenticity of his stories. The James Fitzgibbons award offers a $50 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble Bookstore.


2006: Jill Evans
2007: Susan Robinson
2008: John Janitz
         Joseph Deckman 
2010: Staci Dennis

Father John P. Lahey Award in Writing

Academic award presented at Spring Honors Convocation

2006: Nina Fedrizzi
2007: Casey O'Malley