2021 Creative Writing Prize Winners

Please join the department in congratulating the winners of the 2021 Creative Writing Prizes! The Creative Writing Awards were judged by Asako Serizawa this year.

Asako Serizawa was born in Japan and grew up in Singapore, Jakarta, and Tokyo. A graduate of Tufts University, Brown University, and Emerson College, she has received two O. Henry Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, and a fiction fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her first book, Inheritors, won the PEN/Open Book Award and The Story Prize Spotlight Award. It was also longlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. A Spanish translation of Inheritors is forthcoming from Tusquets Editores S.A. (Colección Andanzas).

About the process, Serizawa wrote that it was truly difficult to select a winner from so many wonderful submissions. She looks forward to the 2021 Creative Writing Awards Ceremony on Thursday, June 3 at 4:30 PM. The winners in each category will be invited to read their work at the ceremony. Serizawa will also read a short excerpt from her own work.


The Sidney Cox Memorial Prize, offered annually for that piece of undergraduate writing which most nearly meets those high standards of originality and integrity which Sidney Cox set for himself and for his students in his teaching and in his book, Indirections for Those Who Want to Write:


Julia Robitaille, The New Abolition



The Academy of American Poets Prize, for the best poem or group of poems:


Jordan McDonald, "Dementia"


Honorable Mention:

James King, "Self Portrait as No. 34 Bus from Dublin to County Meath"

Matthew Nolan, "Encyclopedia"




Jacobson-Laing Award in Poetry for the best manuscript of original poems:


Tom Bosworth, The CVS at the End of the World

Karen Zheng, The Tail of Smoke




The Mecklin Prize, for creative nonfiction or journalism:


Alisya Reza, "Deep Cassie Blue"


Honorable Mention:


Maria Amador, "9 to 5"

Elizabeth Janowski, "Why Aren't They Behaving"

Eve Legge, "The Salamanders at the End of the World"

Frances Mize, "Gatsby Days"

Laurel Lee Pitts, "Elsewhere and Here"



The Grimes Prize, for any form of writing by a senior except plays:


Cynthia Lucas, "Bonefish"


The Lockwood Prize, for any form of writing by a junior except plays:


Mariana Peñaloza Morales, "A Week of Presidents"


William C. Spengemann Award in Writing, for a work of prose or poetry distinguished by its formal precision, as well as its original, innovative, or iconoclastic approach to its subject matter:


Annika Bowman, You Made It


Honorable Mention:


Migwi S. Mwangi, "I WAIT FOR NO GOD"

Nate Stockmal, Meta//Narrative



Erskine Caldwell Prize, for a short story:


Valentina Jaramillo, "Love Letter to Beelzebub"


Honorable Mention:

Shaphnah McKenzie, "A New, Old Home"

Mia Nelson, "The Un-Virgin, Un-Suicides"