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The 51st Annual Nina Mae Kellogg Awards

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By Shezad Khan

If you’re looking to go to a PSU event this month, the Kellogg Awards Ceremony is just a couple of weeks away. I went to the Kellogg Awards for the first time last year when a writing professor insisted that we attend. Being an English major, I should have gone before. Not only was it a fun event to go to, three friends of mine won awards and I had no idea they were contestants.

So what are the Kellogg Awards? The awards recognize excellence in writing. There are 21 different awards for poetry, fiction, or non-fiction with prizes ranging from $100 to $2,000 – these awards are serious business! Plus winners get the recognition of winning such a great reward for their writing. The event provides a wonderful opportunity to see people from your community – from your college –achieve great things, and the event is completely free, so you should go show your support.

The ceremony is going to be held on Monday, May 18th, at 5:30 p.m. at the Native American Student and Community Center on campus, 710 SW Jackson Street. This year’s guest speaker is going to be Mike Davis who is the author of City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles.

Last year there was free food and beer! How much more motivation do you need?

(Although this event is free and open to the public, they ask that you RSVP.)

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Why I Left the Vanguard

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By Shezad Khan

  • I didn’t get paid the first three months I worked for the Vanguard. The director lost my paperwork which included some sensitive information. It was later found after I was asked to fill all the forms out a second time.
  • One of my articles was attributed to someone else. This one really upset me. How can you take the time, work, and effort of a writer and put someone else’s name on it? I only heard from the chief editor once via a short email. Nothing was done to correct the problem. I was told the following issue would offer clarification. It didn’t. It was a stupid error for the Vanguard to make, and the way they handled the problem was nothing but a slap in the face.
  • They cut our pay by 33% (the least of my worries). For months I was making $45 per article if my articles were over a certain word count. After a new managing editor and a new editor for my section arrived, however, our pay was dropped to $30 dollars. Why? Because apparently the last managing editor had been mistaken about our pay. So it didn’t matter how long of an article we wrote, the pay would be the same. Did they bother to tell me that before I wrote articles nearing or reaching a thousand words? Of course not.
  • They changed the title of my article – twice. When this happened with the new editor, I was told that these things happen all the time. This would be the deciding factor in my choice to leave the Vanguard. I wrote an email asking why they would change the title without telling the writer, or why they wouldn’t give the writer the chance to come up with a new title if they didn’t think the original title was sufficient. The answer I received was that it would simply be a waste of time for the Vanguard to consider the writer’s thoughts. It doesn’t matter to me if publications feel they “have the right” to do this, I still think it’s wrong.
Power of Words

Memoir Writing at PSU

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By Andreea Nica

When I tell people I’m writing a memoir, they usually appear surprised and ask: “Aren’t you too young?”

In 2013, I began writing “Freeligious,” a memoir and narrative nonfiction about my detachment from a charismatic religious sect and community. As a former evangelical, my gradual transition from the Pentecostal community spanned 10 years. The book focuses on identity, power and society with the aim of empowering those who have left — or who want to leave — their religious systems. Since then, I’ve taken a memoir writing course in Seattle, joined a writing group and received attention from media outlets such as Fox News Radio. Around 200 pages later, I realized I still needed help organizing my book.

I decided to take a memoir writing class with instructor and author Paul Collins in PSU’s English Department this winter term. The course has been extremely helpful in not only focusing on creating new content, but organizing my existing work. While the workshops (each student and the instructor reviews the student’s work and provides open feedback) initially can be an uneasy experience, they have certainly been most useful. As a Ph.D. Sociology student, being the only non-MFA student in the course has also helped me learn from others’ writing skills and expertise.

Although some find it unexpected that I’m writing a memoir at a “young age” or while pursuing a doctoral degree in the social sciences, I believe following more than one passion or goal can be most satisfying in life.

If you’re interested in taking a course in PSU’s English Department, visit: http://www.pdx.edu/english/

Have Pen Will Travel

Are there any budding writers out there? Students who really feels they have something to say or simply like to give their opinions–maybe a restaurant, a favorite punk band, or perhaps a book or author?

There is a class being taught at PSU that may be right for you. WR 458, Magazine Writing, taught by Prof. Paul Collins. I am taking this class right now and I find it very interesting and useful…for if you follow the class closely, listen to an expert on the subject, you could in time have your own magazine articles published…AND be paid to do so. Continue reading

Warning: Feelings Ahead

Emotionally drained, in a good way.

This is not a frequent experience for me in college. Sometimes classes can be appreciated, in a distant, intellectual kind of way. Sometimes I am moved to laughter. But very rarely do I experience the higher and more vulnerable emotions in a classroom: awe, or even tears. I just got out of dramatic reading day in Susan Reese’s Writing from the Earth Class, where we all read our essays out loud.

Think This American Life, except it’s from your peers who are going through the same struggles as you. I was so blown away by the depth and talent of some of my peers, and I do not often give out compliments. A few students had to pause while they were reading to let their shaky voices settle down. I would pay money and consider it a good Saturday night to hear storytelling like that.

Topics ranged from frustrated love and female circumcision in Africa to growing up and finding yourself. Anyway, if you are in the mood for some touchy-feely stuff, as I secretly am sometimes, then take a personal essay class. I’ve experienced a lot of college, and yesterday’s class was one of the most memorable ones I’ve ever had.