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Heather Wood­house has won an English Department Award for the second year. Sarah Chavey | Col­legian

At the beginning of the story, a man rushes outside on a cold, rainy night. It’s not until the end of the story that readers realize the man has no legs and is in a wheel­chair.

The story called “Night Run,” by junior English major Heather Wood­house, won the Car­lotta and Alvin Ewing English Award — the second year in a row that Wood­house has won the award.

The com­pe­tition includes poetry, prose, short stories, and more and typ­i­cally receives any­where from 25 to several dozen entries, though it is only open to female English majors. Assistant Pro­fessor of English Kelly Franklin said one of the judges on the panel, the entries are judged on aes­thetic mastery and depth of content, message, and insight as well as orig­i­nality and cre­ativity.

“There is an element of the unex­pected,” Asso­ciate Pro­fessor of English Lor­raine Murphy said. “She has a way of slowly revealing layers of meaning so that it’s all just not right there in the surface. You think you know where you’re going, then you realize there’s a lot more going on than you have realized.”

Wood­house sub­mitted “Night Run” this year, but she wrote the story several years ago, after taking a run herself. Last year, her winning story “Pulitzer” depicted a bal­lerina that fell of the stage and was inspired by imag­inary cover art.

“I think I get my inspi­ration from little details of things,” Wood­house said. “One time, I wrote a story about a newt just because that was a cool idea. One time, I saw a chair sitting in a lake and I was like ‘that’s cool,’ and I wrote a story.”

She said she will put her $500 prize to her time studying at Oxford Uni­versity this summer, where she will also work under a cre­ative writing tutor.

“At Hillsdale, it’s a little tricky that we don’t have anyone on the faculty who reg­u­larly teaches a cre­ative writing course or who reg­u­larly pub­lishes poetry and fiction,” Pro­fessor of English John Somerville said. “It’s helpful to have someone someone like that as a mentor.”

Wood­house said it’s chal­lenging to work on cre­ative writing during the school year, but she said she tries to write every day over the summer. She’s been writing cre­atively since she was a child and said she plans to con­tinue writing after grad­u­ation even if not as a full time career.

“A lot of people say that the best part of writing is when you’re done with the story,” Wood­house said. “I enjoy the process of writing the story also because you can just tell when you’re cre­ating some­thing worth­while.”