The Hopwood Program administers the Avery Hopwood and Jule Hopwood Awards in writing as well as 3 fellowship competitions, 6 poetry contests, and 16 special prizes. The program was endowed by Avery Hopwood, a popular American dramatist and member of the Michigan Class of 1905. Mr. Hopwood bequeathed one-fifth of his considerable estate to the University of Michigan with the stipulation that it be used to encourage creative writing among students. During the years that have passed since the first Hopwood Awards were made in 1931, we have been able to award a cumulative total of well over $3,000,000 to more than 3,200 gifted writers. Former winners include Arthur Miller, John Ciardi, Mary Gaitskill, Robert Hayden, Lawrence Kasdan, Jane Kenyon, Frank O’Hara, Marge Piercy, Edmund White, and Nancy Willard. The program is directed by Nicholas Delbanco, Robert Frost Distinguished University Professor of English. For Professor Delbanco’s remarks on the history of the program and the legacy of Avery Hopwood, written for the New York Times in 1998, see this PDF.
The Hopwood Room, located in 1176 Angell Hall, was established by Professor Roy W. Cowden, Director of the Hopwood Awards from 1933 to 1952, who generously contributed a part of his library, which has grown through the addition of many volumes of contemporary literature. In addition to housing the winning manuscripts from the past years of the contests, the Hopwood Room has a lending library of twentieth-century literature, current journals that feature creative writing, reference books on how to get published, information on graduate and summer writing programs, and a collection of screenplays donated by Lawrence Kasdan. The Hopwood Tea is held regularly during the fall and winter terms on Thursdays from 3:00–5:00 p.m., a gathering to which all are welcome. Visiting writers are often special guests at the tea.