Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) student Toni Bunton has won the national Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs’ annual writing award for best creative writing by a graduate student

September 30, 2011

Bunton and her mom, Valerie.

DEARBORN / Sept. 30, 2011---Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) student Toni Bunton has won the national Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs’ annual writing award for best creative writing by a graduate student.

In competition with entries from 100 graduate programs across North America, Bunton won for two excerpts from the narrative Masters Thesis she recently completed under the direction of Language, Culture, and Communication Professor Carolyn Kraus.

The two have been working together since 2004 when Bunton enrolled in a creative writing course that Kraus was teaching at Scott Correctional Facility, where Bunton was incarcerated for 17 years. The Inside Out program was initiated by UM-Dearborn Sociology Professor Lora Lempert, who recruited other UM-Dearborn professors as volunteer teachers and has since developed college education programs at several other Michigan prisons.

After the writing course ended in 2005, Bunton continued sending her work to Kraus and, soon after her release in September 2008, she enrolled in the MALS Program at the University of Michigan-Dearborn with the goal of continuing her writing.

“Toni has been a joy to work with for the past seven years,” Kraus said. “She writes with extraordinary attention and compassion. Her memory is nearly photographic.”

Ken Smith of Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs praises Bunton’s work as “powerful, psychologically insightful, and deeply engaging.”

Bunton, who will receive $500 as part of the award, will be honored at a ceremony during the AGLSP’s annual conference in October. In addition, her work will be published in the upcoming issue of the organization’s journal, Confluence.

“A national writing award is a proud accomplishment for any university program,” Smith added. “I hope you agree that it hints at the excellence not only of Ms. Bunton and her creative writing but also of the faculty who have inspired and supported her, the program that shaped her graduate experience, and the university that values the good work of graduate liberal studies. I want to congratulate you all.”

Founded in 1959 with a gift of just over 200 acres of land and $6.5 million from the Ford Motor Company, University of Michigan-Dearborn is a metropolitan university serving southeastern Michigan, committed to excellence rooted in strong academics, innovative research and programming and civic engagement. The University has nearly 8,900 students pursuing more than 100 bachelor's, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business and education.  A top-ranked university with a faculty devoted to teaching, and students committed to achievement, UM-Dearborn has been shaped by its history of partnering with local leaders and communities, and is committed to finding solutions for the challenges that face the region.

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Contact:
Beth Marmarelli
UM-Dearborn
313-593-5542
bethmar@umd.umich.edu