The English Department is pleased to announce the winners of the 10th annual Radke/Sorenson Prizes for Writing, two honors that recognize an outstanding poem and essay written by a junior or senior English major.

This year the essay prize has been awarded to Madlyn Zingler for her essay, “Remaining True to Thyself: The Role of Emilia in Shakespeare’s Othello.” The poetry prize has been awarded to Viviana Mendoza for her poem, “I Imagine a Reality in which My Parents Grow Old Together.” Zingler is a junior from Watertown, WI who is double-majoring in English and political science, and Mendoza is a senior secondary education-English major from Stickney, IL.

“I am very thankful for Dr. (David) Rogner, along with all of my English professors who've encouraged me to write and keep writing,” Mendoza says. “Hearing the news also made me quite emotional. My poem is about my parents and the concept/feeling of home, so it is close to me. I think it's my favorite piece that I've written so far.”

Zingler says, “When I found out I had won, I felt honored to have been chosen from among so many exceptional candidates. I also felt deeply thankful for all the hours of hard work and dedication the fantastic professors in the English Department here put in to help me reach my full potential.”

The honor includes a $250 cash prize, endowed by an anonymous donor. The winners are chosen by members of the English faculty. The winning poem and essay are featured in the 2021 issue of Motif, available now online and in print around campus.

The awards are named for two distinguished former members of the English Department, Dr. Merle Radke and Professor Karl Sorenson. Radke taught English at Concordia University Chicago from 1957 to 1987. He served for many years as department chair and was also the editor of Lutheran Education. He passed away in 2017 at the age of 95. Sorenson, who served in the English Department from at 1965 to 1999, taught a variety of courses in British literature and drama. He also directed and acted in many plays, both at the University and in local community theaters. Sorenson passed away in 2004.

Read the winning entries in the latest issue of Motif.