Senior wins national creative writing award

Story by Mykaela Cross, Assistant Editor

Senior Kate Colby has been added to the university’s list of Sigma Tau Delta International Creative Writing winners. Colby recently received third place in the creative non-fiction category.

This comes after Baker University students placed first and second in the poetry category in 2013.

Colby’s work, titled


A copy of Kate Colby’s winning essay, “It Began with a Car,” is posted on the third floor of Case Hall outside of the English Department office.

“It Began with a Car,” is an essay about the 1970 Chevy Nova that brought her parents together.

“It started as an assignment for my creative writing non-fiction class,” Colby said. “The topic was to write about an object that doesn’t have a lot of value monetarily, but has a significant personal value.”

Assistant Professor of English Marti Mihalyi originally assigned the essay during Colby’s sophomore year and was Colby’s mentor throughout the experience.

“It was an unusual assignment,” Mihalyi said. “Most creative writers want to describe an event, tragic or otherwise, but I wanted a different focus before they could fly with whatever they wanted.”

During the Sigma Tau Delta convention in Savannah, Ga., Colby understood the odds were not in her favor as she awaited the results. She was shocked when she heard her name called as a prizewinner.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Colby said. “I was optimistic, but in the end I was surprised.”

Colby’s mother, Sheila Colby, was also shocked when she heard her daughter’s good news.

“I was surprised because it is such a big competition,” Sheila said. “When she called and said she won a prize, I felt very proud.”

Mihalyi believes Kate has grown significantly since the piece was written and is also very proud of Kate’s accomplishments.

“She, like many other Baker students I’ve seen, has a natural writing talent, but only the people like Kate, who are dedicated to learning to write, can achieve the level of success she has had,” Mihalyi said.

Kate plans to write as her future career or become a creative writing professor, but she will be taking some time off after graduation to get married and save money before graduate school.

Kate conveyed her gratitude to Mihalyi for her part in the experience.

“She has been so supportive and so helpful,” Kate said. “She’s really gone above and beyond as the only creative writing professor on campus.”

Kate said the experience has earned her “15 minutes of fame” around campus.

“Everyone was really gracious and really happy for me,” she said. “It’s been a really great experience.”