Baker creative writer claims Harlaxton award


Story by Mykaela Cross, Assistant Editor

Junior Melinda Hipple’s study abroad journey last semester at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England, resulted in an award. Nominated by her creative writing professors in England for her science fiction submission, Hipple arrived back at Baker University with the award in tow.

The essay award is given by professors at Harlaxton each semester to a student who has shown skill in academics and writing.

Hipple’s essay submission, the opening chapters of a sequel to a series currently in progress, began as an assignment in her Writing the Young Hero’s Journey class while across the pond.

“The teacher that submitted my piece was the creative writing teacher and what we were doing in her class was writing the first few chapters of what will hopefully become a young adult novel,” Hipple said.

The class covered the basic construction of books, characters and plotlines.

“I wrote mine on characters I’d already developed in another work,” Hipple said. “I’ve written the first book in what I hope will be a series. This would be the sequel to that book.”

Hipple’s writing journey began when she was a child, but it has only recently become a main focus in her life. After years of frustrating ups and downs in her writing career, Hipple decided that her writing could continue to improve and began rewriting previous works, including science fiction and mystery pieces, ultimately deciding as an adult to return to school.

“One of the reasons I came back to Baker was to see if I could get better,” Hipple said. “I figured it would also push me to expose myself to things in classic literature I had not read yet.”

Most of Hipple’s science fiction, her favorite genre to date, revolves around human’s interaction with technology and extraterrestrials. Her works largely focus on the human condition and she hopes to continue to write in the future.

“When I graduate, my fantasy is to write books during the year and go on book tours during the summer,” Hipple said.

Creative Writing Professor Marti Mihalyi is one person that Hipple would consider a “great inspiration” to both her writing and her time at Baker.

“I have to say she’s a great encouragement and I’m learning, even at my age,” Hipple said.

Though she’s concentrating on school right now, Hipple will continue to write and take courses at Baker, ultimately improving her writing skills.

Mihalyi has considered Hipple a fine student since she arrived in her classroom. According to Mihalyi, one thing that sets Hipple apart is the interesting voice in her poetry.

“She came into my classroom very much ready to learn more about writing, particularly poetry, and to learn to really broaden her range as a writer and refine her work,” Mihalyi said.

Though Mihalyi knew little about Hipple when she arrived in her class other than what she’d heard, she found her arrival into the creative writing program to be a pleasure and will continue to work with Hipple one-on-one.

Mihalyi was very happy to hear of Hipple’s success at Harlaxton and thinks that she will continue to receive recognition for her work.

Junior Deeva Sharma has known Hipple since her freshman year and believes her to be a caring person and talented writer.

“She’s so interesting to talk to,” Sharma said. “She has the best stories and she’s really talented. I’ve gotten to read some of her poetry and fiction and I think she definitely has a way with words.”

When Sharma heard of her success at Harlaxton, she was excited and happy for Hipple.

“I’ll always remember her ability to find the right words to capture something so perfectly. It’s phenomenal and I think she does it really well,” Sharma said.

For people who do not know her, Sharma would describe Hipple as a people-person and is excited to see what Hipple can do in the future.

“Her talent is something that should be appreciated by as many people as possible,” Sharma said. “I think that anyone can enjoy her work and thats what makes her an amazing writer.”

For students wanting to check out Hipple’s work or are interested in future creative writing events, the Baker University Watershed publication and upcoming senior readings are ways to find works like Hipple’s and other writing opportunities.