The Jan Rehner Prize for Writing

The Jan Rehner Prize for Writing was created in honour of University Professor Jan Rehner, a long-time member of York University’s Writing Department. For many years, Professor Rehner has introduced and inspired students to the study of writing, teaching students at all year levels. A University-wide AND a National 3M award teaching winner, she is as home tutoring one-on-one in the Writing Centre as she is in the lecture hall, and her careful, thoughtful feedback in tutorial and seminar has been greatly valued by her students for many years. Professor Rehner was also instrumental in the formation of the LA&PS Writing Department, helping bring together the Writing Centre and the Professional Writing Program in her capacity as program coordinator in 2012.

Professor Rehner teaches her students both to challenge dominant narratives, and to find their own voice as writers and persons. She encourages them to become critically aware of their society, and of their own writing process. This award was established in recognition of her ceaseless efforts to empower and embolden students as writers and citizens, and with the gratitude of the many students, colleagues, and friends met during her years of contribution to the Writing Department and to the University.

Competition Description

The Jan Rehner Prize for Writing is a student nominated, faculty-judged competition open to students who take Department of Writing courses. A winner and an honourable mention from 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 level courses are chosen in May of each year.

Submissions in any style, using any form, or from any genre may be nominated so long as their content is primarily text-based. Life writing, film criticism, podcast transcripts, reports, formal essays, and other kinds of writing are all welcome. Nominated papers must have received a final grade of an “A” or better (e.g. 80%+) and must be submitted without identifying information. The submissions assignment instructions are also required.

Both winners and runners-up receive an official transcript note, a gift card, and the opportunity to have their paper published online and permanently available on York's website.

Collections in this community

Recent Submissions

  • The Counterfeit Clothing Wars 

    Quenneville, Olivia (2018)
    “Counterfeit Clothing Wars” beautifully balances personal story with factual background to create a compelling, in-depth feature article about local artists, “borrowed” designs, and the blurred lines of “ownership.” From ...
  • These Hands Make Music Too 

    Hussein, Sun (2018)
    Travel literature must render the reader able to imagine a place they have never been; to sample, if only in their heads, all the locale has to offer the senses and the intellect. Sun Hussein’s beautifully written survey ...
  • Indigenous Canadians' Representation: Mainstream VS Alternative 

    Gill, Diljot (2018)
    This entry was an excellent, clear, and deserved winner at the 3rd year level. The level of research surpassed requirements and expectations, while the perceptive analysis expertly surveyed the pertinent material, academic ...
  • It Doesn't Feel Human 

    Manji, Zahra (2018)
    “It Doesn't Feel Human” was a very worthy entry, and it was an easy decision to nominate it as our honorable mention. The essay uniquely blended personal and factual narratives, and was equally informative and well-researched. ...
  • The Mission Before the Escape 

    Rizzo, Vincent (2018)
    This 200-word grammatically correct sentence is a powerful example of structure and content working together to convey emotion and message. The author constructs a poignant and complex narrative in few words, exhibiting ...
  • Homme Improvement 

    Segev, Gil (2018)
    This author’s submission—a proposal and a series of linked blog posts—immediately grips the reader’s attention by considering the topic of men’s makeup. A lively and interesting project pitch not only invites us to consider ...
  • The Skin I'm In 

    Mc Almont, Darren (2018)
    “The Skin I’m In” is a striking, engaging and well-argued podcast transcript that questions racial equality in today’s so-called “diverse” Canada. By referring to many contemporary scholars and activists, such as bell ...
  • Where We Belong 

    Absen, Ayan (2018)
    “Where We Belong” grapples with questions of home and place: what is “home,” and how does being forced to leave your country complicate that concept? The writer combines suspense and reflection to arrive at a thoughtful ...
  • How to Save a Marsh 

    Wilson, John (2017)
  • To: You, From: Me 

    Quenneville, Olivia (2017)
  • What Lies Ahead 

    Mouré, Christopher (2017)
  • The Perfect Deal 

    Morgan, Sophie (2017)
  • The Young Classic 

    Favrin, Mia (2017)
  • Once More, With Feeling 

    Wilcox, Stephanie (2017)
  • The Power of Revision 

    Jelly, Amber (2017)
  • Bring Me the Wind 

    Morris, Danielle (2017)
  • The Jig 

    Pries, Madelaine (2017)
  • Smoke Signals 

    Morrison, Lance (2017)

View more


All items in the YorkSpace institutional repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved except where explicitly noted.