News Escobar ’24 Earns Top Poetry Prize, Will Present at National Convention

December 15, 2022

A Hawks in Flight Feature

Sofia Escobar ’24 recently became the first Hartwick student to win the Eleanor B. North Poetry Award from International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta. The $500 prize is in recognition of Escobar’s poem, “Microaggressive,” which she wrote in 2021 and had already been selected for publication next month in the organization’s magazine, The Rectangle. Escobar was one of five winners in a range of categories and genres, including critical essay, short story, and creative nonfiction essay.

The Hartwick chapter of Sigma Tau Delta requires member have a 3.0 G.P.A. overall and a 3.30 G.P.A. in Literature, Media, and Writing classes, and must also rank in the top 35% of their class.

Due to her selection for publication, Escobar was also subsequently invited to present her work at the organization’s annual convention next spring in Denver, CO. She is currently president of the local chapter.

“Microaggressive” was one of two poems Escobar had accepted by The Rectangle, which Associate Professor of Literature, Media, and Writing Brad Fest said, “was a big accomplishment in itself.” A general acceptance rate at literary magazines is about 2-3%, he added, so Escobar distinguished herself considerably from a large international group of undergraduate writers.

Not only will going to Denver allow Escobar to present her work to a national audience, but it will allow her to hear the best undergraduate work being done in creative writing and literary studies and to connect with peers and faculty from across the country. “Attending a convention of this sort has the potential to be professionally life-changing for a young writer and scholar of Sofia’s caliber, and it will be a great springboard to graduate study and beyond,” Fest said.

“I can’t wait to go to Denver,” said Escobar. “I have never been to the national convention before, and it’s an amazing opportunity to meet other students from across the country who share the same passion for writing as I do. I think I am most looking forward to hearing other people read their work and having the opportunity to read mine. There will also be guest speakers, which will be amazing.”

Escobar also said she hopes to speak with other members of Sigma Tau Delta about their experiences with and interests in writing. “I also have never been to Colorado, so that will be an experience in itself,” she added. “I really want to immerse myself in the events they are holding and reach out to the people there about what motivates them to write. I love taking notes at author readings for what ideas stand out most to me, so I hope to do this at the convention when people read their work and use that to push me with my own work.”

Escobar will even have some company. Three other Hartwick students, Paige Eaton ’23, Sara VanValkenburg ’24, and Joe Catalano ’24, have just been accepted by Sigma Tau Delta to attend the national conference as well. “They are all such talented writers and I am glad we will get to experience this convention together,” Escobar said.