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Former professor awarded posthumous lifetime achievement award

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Molly Brodak was an award-winning poet and memoirist. The former GC professor recently was awarded the posthumous lifetime achievement award from the Georgia Writers Association.

Brodak’s students remember her as an extraordinary educator who enjoyed sharing her talents with others.

“When I think of Molly, I see her in the classroom, wielding a piece of chalk in her hand as if it were a wand. That’s the thing about Molly. She held magic at her fingertips,” said former student MaryBeth Cooper. “She pops up in my dreams sometimes, and even then, she’s always in a classroom, perhaps a place she felt most herself.”

Brodak taught creative writing at Georgia College as a visiting professor just months before her passing.

Caleb Bouchard is another former student of Brodak. He says he now uses her writing to inspire his students.

“Before I took that class with Molly, I knew her as the author of ‘Bandit.’ It’s poetic and profound and so uniquely Molly,” said Bouchard. “I taught that book in my English composition class, and my students really enjoyed it. I think her writings can uplift people at any point in their lives.”

Cooper agrees that she wouldn’t be the teacher she is today without knowing Brodak.

“I wouldn’t be the teacher I am today without Molly,” she said. “She cared about her students so much that she would even pay attention to the little details. She knew the importance of separating the writing from the student so that the student doesn’t inherently assign a moral value to themselves based on the quality of their writing.”

“Bandit” is one of Brodak’s best-known works. The book details her life and the trauma caused at the hands of her father, who was a notorious bank robber in the Detroit area. The book was published in 2016 and earned Brodak the Iowa Poetry Prize.

Brodak had been an educator for over 15 years and taught at several institutions, including Georgia College, Kennesaw State, Augusta University and Emory.

Along with being an author, Brodak was described as an accomplished baker. She was a highly recognized author by the New York Times. Her works appeared in such publications as Granta, Guernica and Poetry Magazine.