Tryphena Yeboah, MFA (’21).

We are proud to announce Tryphena Yeboah, MFA ‘21, is the national winner of the 2020-2021 WAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Master’s Thesis and/or Final Master’s Capstone Project Award in the Creative, Visual and Performing Arts category!

In her award-winning thesis, “First Light,” Yeboah details her attempt to “let go of the gaze that accompanies the myth and expectations of African literature” and “claim and make of the craft a space of freedom, devoid of any burdens or preassigned symbolic representation—a space where writing, rather than conditioned and shaped by several factors, comes alive from an intensely intimate devotion to unrestrained, uncompromised, outpouring vibrant living and witnessing.”

As the recipient of this prestigious regional award, Yeboah will receive a $1,000 prize. Additionally, she will be honored at the 63rd Annual WAGS Conference Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, March 22nd where she, along with other award recipients, will be recognized.

As a member of the Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS), the western regional affiliate of the national Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), Chapman University has the opportunity to nominate outstanding graduate students from the university’s graduate and professional programs for this recognition.

The award is granted to the nominee who demonstrates peerless “originality, aesthetic merit, technical execution, and potential to reach beyond the original academic audience.”

Yeboah amassed an equally impressive record of professional accomplishments during her time as a graduate student in the MFA in Creative Writing program in Wilkinson College. Yeboah has four publications in the popular Narrative Magazine, been showcased in the college’s feature From our Eyes as an emerging female writer, and most recently had her chapbook A Mouthful of Home, published this past fall in the New-Generation African Poets series from Akashic Books. She was also awarded The James L. Doti Outstanding Graduate Student Award, the highest honor for graduate students at Chapman University.

Dr. Anna Leahy, Director of the MFA in Creative Writing program noted that Tryphena “champions her fellow MFA students and also Ghanaian writers, both in the classroom and on social media. She has been a powerful presence at Chapman University and is becoming a powerful voice in literary culture.”

Yeboah completed her thesis under the direction of esteemed novelist and professor of creative writing Richard Bausch and is now pursuing her PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

We congratulate Tryphena Yeboah on her outstanding achievement and extend our appreciation to her graduate faculty advisors for nominating and being such enthusiastic advocates of her work.