Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Illinois Department of English Blog


Welcome to the Department of English blog.

My name is Vicki Mahaffey and I took over as
head of the department on July 1, 2016. I'll be using this site to post updates and information of interest to our faculty, students, and alumni,
along with reflections about our discipline(s) in particular and the humanities in general. As anyone who has ever worked or studied here knows, the Department of English is a vibrant place. If you have something you'd like to see posted here, or if you want to contact me about the content of this blog, drop me an email at

Friday, November 16, 2012

Kevin T. Early Memorial Scholarship winner

I am delighted to announce here that Jessica Sung is the winner of this Fall's Kevin T. Early Memorial Scholarship.  The award, established by William and Donna Early, honors the memory of their son, Kevin T. Early, who was himself a talented, dedicated, and award-winning young poet.

This award is is given each year to recognize and a talented Freshman poet, with the stated purpose of helping to encourage talented young writers to continue pursuing their craft. Ms. Sung is an English major, and (though not enrolled in our Creative Writing track) is hoping to take a poetry-writing workshop in the near future.  This year, as always, we received a lot of stellar application packets; Ms. Sung's poems stood out for their careful prosody and their inventiveness and wit.

I've now had the chance to meet briefly with Ms. Sung, who is a second generation UIUC student but the first member of her family to seek a liberal arts degree.  I asked her how she became interested in poetry and writing.  She told me that she came by it as a result of a life-long habit of reading for pleasure, and that she first became interested in the formal aspects of poetry in middle school while reading young adult verse novels.  I confess to being fascinated by the fact that such things exist!  When I asked Ms. Sung if she especially liked any contemporary poets, she immediately mentioned Margaret Atwood (who is most famous for novels like The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake, but who has also published several volumes of poetry). 

Just in case he reads this, I'd also like the thank William Early again here for the enormous generosity of spirit that lies behind this particular award.

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