EdCC English instructor wins award for humorous essay about Basenjis

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Marcia Woodard with her dogs. (Photo courtesy EdCC)

Edmonds Community College English instructor Marcia Woodard won the Dog Writers Association of America’s 2016 Maxwell Medallion award for her humorous essay, “If they don’t bark, how do you know someone’s at the door?”

“It was on my bucket list,” Woodard said. “I had to win one of these awards.”

She’s been a finalist twice and said the contest is competitive.

Woodard’s essay, published in the Nov. 2015 American Kennel Club Gazette, was entered into the association’s annual writing competition, which is held each year in conjunction with the Westminster Dog Show in New York, N.Y.

In her column, Woodard humorously describes how Basenjis, who are known as the “barkless” breed, alert her when company is at the door. Her writing has been described as a cross between Oprah and Erma Bombeck.

“People will often ask me, ‘If they don’t bark, how do you know someone’s at the door?’” she said. “I wrote two columns about this – one about the sounds they make, because they’re not silent, and the winning one.”

Woodard has been the AKC Gazette’s Basenji dog breed columnist since 2004, contributing four columns a year. She spends about two weeks drafting and writing each column, and is inspired by incidents and mishaps with her dogs or stories of friends’ furry pals.

“I take my situation and add the best bits from other people,” Woodard said.

Woodard has published a collection of her Gazette columns along with photographs in a book titled, “Collected Kona, Brief Takes on a Basenji.” She is a lifelong resident of the Seattle area and has taught English and writing at Edmonds CC for more than 20 years.

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