(L-R) Hanna Dobroszycki ’23 and Anna Quindlen ’74

Hanna Dobroszycki ’23 was awarded the 10th annual Axinn Foundation/Anna Quindlen Award for Creative Writing on May 3.

This year’s event marked the return of the in-person celebration after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In honoring Dobroszycki, the event also celebrated the importance of students, faculty, and staff coming together to recognize the achievements of one of their own.

Hanna and friends Quindlen event
Hanna Dobroszycki and friends on May 3
Quindlen event faculty mingling
Faculty at the event reception
Sian and Anna Quindlen
Anna Quindlen and President Beilock
Hanna Dobroszycki with Quindlen award
Hanna Dobroszycki holds the slant-cut Tiffany & Co. disc award

Each year, a committee of faculty members select a graduating senior at Barnard to receive a $25,000 prize —  funded by the generous donation of the Donald E. Axinn Foundation/Anna Quindlen Award for Creative Writing — for their mastery of creative writing.

The award is presented in recognition of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anna Quindlen ’74, for her outstanding contribution to American life and letters, as well as her support of the education and development of young people.

“This prize, especially in its vote of confidence, is quite unreal,” said Dobroszycki. “I could not feel more grateful, as it will continue to allow me to invest myself fully in this path.”  Dobroszycki plans to immerse herself in the literary world by developing her poetry and fiction after graduating. 

Quindlen, who is often in attendance to celebrate with awardees, remarked on the prize’s decade in existence and the support it has given to nearly a dozen budding writers to do exactly that — write.

“I have treasured this event since 2014, not just because it honors the notion that we have to tell our stories, but because it honors the notion that our stories matter,” said Quindlen. “When we tell our stories, we enlarge human understanding in a way that can make the world more equitable and expansive. We can make each of us more human than we would be if we were silent.”

Sian at Quindlen event 2023

President Sian Leah Beilock, who presented Dobroszycki with the award, said, “Barnard is known for its rich literary history, and it’s so important to continue to foster and encourage young talent. I want to thank the Donald P. Axinn Foundation for their generosity and commitment that has made this award possible. And many thanks to Pulitzer Prize-winning author and beloved Barnard alumna Anna Quindlen. Your ongoing support, commitment, and engagement with the College means so much for so many of us here.”

As an English major with a creative writing concentration, Dobroszycki is no stranger to the writing process. During her time at Barnard, she has built meaningful connections with Margaret Vandenburg, a senior lecturer in English, and Ken Chen, assistant professor of English and the associate director of creative writing.

“I see myself most in a poem, so it’s immeasurably rewarding to have qualities of my written voice encouraged by the faculty at Barnard,” said Dobroszycki. “[It is] something that I’m going to carry with me for my whole life and when I leave this amazing school.”

Hanna Dobroszycki at podium
Hanna Dobroszycki speaks to the audience
Hanna Dobroszycki and grandma
Hanna Dobroszycki with her grandmother

Dobroszycki’s literary influences include Marie Howe, Ben Lerner, Ocean Vuong, and Kevin Young. Her thesis interrogates Eileen Myles’ “An American Poem” to explore the relationship between American literature and electoral politics.

“I’m really interested in what my generation has inherited [regarding] technological fluency and how that affects the mind or intersects with my love of film, language, and literature,” said Dobroszycki to the audience. “My writing addresses singularity, language, and queerness. My poetry takes on an aesthetic of dissociation and first-person vernacular writing. I don’t think there’s any particular subject that’s more important to write about.”

The award committee included professors Jennifer Finney Boylan, Ken Chen, Jhumpa Lahiri ’89, and Alexandra Watson.