Sara Samuel ’19 was awarded the sixth annual Donald E. Axinn Foundation/Anna Quindlen Award for Creative Writing. The prize is awarded yearly to a graduating senior, who receives $25,000 to support her creative writing. It is given by the Joan F. and Donald E. Axinn Foundation in recognition of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anna Quindlen ’74, her outstanding contribution to American life and letters, and her sustained support for the education and development of young people. The Donald E. Axinn Award was presented by President Sian Leah Beilock, who gave remarks at a reception on campus on April 15, 2019.
 
“It's wonderful to have this award as an indication that my writing shows promise and as a form of encouragement to continue working on my craft,” Samuel said. “I'm incredibly grateful to the members of Barnard's English faculty who have chosen to provide me with the opportunity and resources to devote myself more fully to my writing.” 
 
Samuel, who is from Long Island, is a double major in computer science and English, with a concentration in creative writing. Her influences in fiction and poetry include Jhumpa Lahiri ’89, Jackie Kay, Elizabeth Strout, Katherine Mansfield, Elizabeth Bishop, Philip Levine, and Jorie Graham. For her senior thesis, Samuel will create and annotate an anthology of elegiac poetry written by women in the 18th century. After graduation, she will enroll in Columbia's graduate school to study computer science and intends to become a software engineer. “I [also] plan to begin working on a creative writing project of a longer form after graduation, and the Axinn Foundation's grant will be particularly helpful in developing that,” said Samuel.

The award committee included professors Jennifer Finney Boylan, Yvette Christiansë, Mary Gordon ’71, Saskia Hamilton, Peter Platt, Timea Szell, and Margaret Vandenburg. Nia Judelson '18, the Drew Barnard Post-Baccalaureate Fellow in English, coordinated the contest.

— N. JAMIYLA CHISHOLM

Information about previous winners
Hannah Kofman '18
Katy Lee '17
Lillian R. Fishman '16
Sauleh Kamal '15
Carmen Ren '14

*Photos courtesy of Joy Lee '21