Program in Creative Writing Awards and Honors

Honors By Application

New Voices Series

Deadline: Deadlines for the three competitions will be announced throughout the year

Eligibility: All University of Chicago undergraduate and graduate students

  • The New Voices series brings in three emerging writers—in the genres of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction respectively—each year. The New Voices writer will select a student writer to open their public reading.
  • Prior to the public reading, we invite students to submit anonymous samples in the relevant genre. Click here to subscribe to creative-writing@lists.uchicago.edu for competition announcements.
     

Offen Poetry Prize

Deadline: Applications are typically due in Winter Quarter, with deadlines announced via our listservs. Click here to subscribe to creative-writing@lists.uchicago.edu. Academic Year 2021-2022 deadline: January 31, 2022.

Eligibility: Any UChicago undergraduate or graduate student

  • Established in memory of poet and editor Ron Offen, the Offen Poetry Prize brings one Chicago poet to campus annually for a public reading.
  • A visiting poet will select a student reader from the pool of anonymous submissions. The winning student will be awarded a prize of $300.
  • Submit 3–5 pages of poetry to starshagill@uchicago.edu. Please anonymize your entry by omitting your name from the PDF.
     

The Margaret C. Annan Memorial Prize

Deadline: April 15th, 5:00 p.m.

Eligibility: Third-year students in the College

  • Established in Ms. Annan's memory by her students, the prize supports three summer writing projects—one each in the genres of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction—and is awarded to third-years / rising fourth-years in recognition of excellence in creative writing and in support of a summer writing project.
  • Submit a portfolio of approximately 10 pages double-spaced and indicate the genre in your submission. Entry is limited to one genre per student.
  • Three prizes: $1000 each
  • Email your submissions to ddooley@uchicago.edu. If applying for more than one prize, submit each entry in a separate email. The subject line should contain the name of the prize you are applying for. Within the body of your email, please include: your full name, the name of the prize you are applying for, the title of your entry, your year in the College (i.e., 3rd or 4th year), your major, and your University of Chicago email address. Attach an anonymized PDF of your writing sample with the author’s name omitted from all pages.
     

The David Blair McLaughlin Prizes

Deadline: April 15th, 5:00 p.m.

Eligibility: Fourth-year students in the College

  • Presented for essays written by students in the graduating class who demonstrate special skill and sense of form in the writing of English prose.
  • Essays should not exceed 25 pages (double-spaced). Entry limited to one essay per student.
  • First Prize: $300; Second Prize: $150
  • Email your submissions to ddooley@uchicago.edu. If applying for more than one prize, submit each entry in a separate email. The subject line should contain the name of the prize you are applying for. Within the body of your email, please include: your full name, the name of the prize you are applying for, the title of your entry, your year in the college (i.e., 3rd or 4th year), your major, and your University of Chicago email address. Attach an anonymized PDF of your writing sample with the author’s name omitted from all pages.
     

The Olga and Paul Menn Foundation Prizes

Deadline: April 15th, 5:00 p.m.

Eligibility: Fourth-year students in the College

  • Awarded for original short stories or novel extracts written by students in the graduating class.
  • Novel extracts should include an explanatory preface but should not exceed 25 pages (double-spaced). Entry limited to one short story or novel extract per student.
  • First Prize: $1000; Second Prize: $500
  • Email your submissions to ddooley@uchicago.edu. If applying for more than one prize, submit each entry in a separate email. The subject line should contain the name of the prize you are applying for. Within the body of your email, please include: your full name, the name of the prize you are applying for, the title of your entry, your year in the college (i.e., 3rd or 4th year), your major, and your University of Chicago email address. Attach an anonymized PDF of your writing sample with the author’s name omitted from all pages.
     

The John Billings Fiske Poetry Prize

Deadline: April 15th, 5:00 p.m.

Eligibility: Fourth-year students in the College

  • Awarded for the best original poem or cycle of poems by a student in the graduating class.
  • Entry limited to a group of six poems, or one poem cycle, per student.
  • Prize: $500
  • Email your submissions to ddooley@uchicago.edu. If applying for more than one prize, submit each entry in a separate email. The subject line should contain the name of the prize you are applying for. Within the body of your email, please include: your full name, the name of the prize you are applying for, the title of your entry, your year in the college (i.e., 3rd or 4th year), your major, and your University of Chicago email address. Attach an anonymized PDF of your writing sample with the author’s name omitted from all pages.

 

Honors By Nomination

Les River Fellowship for Young Novelists

Deadline: No application. Candidates will be nominated by faculty each Spring.

Eligibility: Undergraduate students in their Fourth Year and/or in the graduating class

  • The Les River Fellowship for Young Novelists was established by Dorothy River in 2016 in honor and memory of her husband, W. Leslie River, Ph.B.’25.
  • One Les River Fellowship of $5,000 will be awarded annually to a writer of fiction completing a BA project in Creative Writing, to support the development of a work of fiction towards publication. The expectation is that the Fellowship will enable uninterrupted work or travel for research purposes during the summer after graduation.
     

Elsie Filippi Memorial Prize in Poetry 

Deadline: No application. Candidates will be nominated by faculty each Spring.

Eligibility: Undergraduate students in their Fourth Year and/or in the graduating class 

  • Presented to a student in the graduating class in the College who shows distinction in poetic composition.

 

FAQs

1. Can I submit something that has already been published elsewhere?

Yes! You may even choose to specify in your application where the piece has already appeared.

2. The prose piece I am submitting is under the page limit. Should I submit another piece?

You may submit more than one piece to comprise your portfolio, but we recommend that you only do so if you see both pieces cohering in some way or complementing each other to represent your work. If you have one great piece, you should feel free to submit it alone—even if it is under the page limit.

3. When will I hear back about my submission?

For prizes with an April 15 deadline, winners will be notified in May. For prizes with event-related deadlines, winners will be notified in advance of the event.

4. I’m not a Creative Writing major or minor. Can I still apply?

Yes! You will want to pay close attention to the eligibility requirements, but students with other majors and minors are welcome to apply.