Creative Writing Prizes

Creative Writing Prizes for Undergraduates

These prizes are awarded at the annual Creative Writing Awards ceremony each May. Please see the next section for submission details.

  • The Sidney Cox Memorial Prize:

The Sidney Cox Memorial Prize is 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.  Any kind of undergraduate writing in English may be submitted; there is no limit to the amount or variety of the material that any individual may submit; and the award is not limited to students majoring or minoring in English.

  •  Academy of American Poets Prize:

 The Academy of American Poets Prize is offered for the best poem or group of poems.

  • Jacobson-Laing Award in Poetry:

The Jacobson-Laing Award will be given to an undergraduate for the "best manuscript of original poems."

  • Lockwood Prize:

Competition for the Lockwood Prize is open to undergraduates classified as Junior. Any form of writing except plays may be submitted. A group of short poems may be considered as one manuscript.

  • Grimes Prize:

Competition for the Grimes Prize is open to undergraduates classified as Senior. Any form of writing except plays may be submitted. A group of short poems may be considered as one manuscript.

  • The William C. Spengemann Award in Writing:

The William C. Spengemann Award in Writing is given 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.

  • The Mecklin Prize:

 The Mecklin Prize is for the best student writing in creative nonfiction or journalism. 

  • The Erskine Caldwell Prize:

The Erskine Caldwell prize is awarded to a student(s) whose written work in the short story is most outstanding.     

  • The Ralston Prize

The Thomas Henry Ralston VI Creative Writing Prize is for the most outstanding student in an introductory creative writing class, in any genre (fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry). Please do not submit to this prize. This prize is selected by creative writing faculty.

Creative Writing Prizes Rules and Instructions


Please read these submission instructions carefully. Your submission will not be considered if it does not follow the guidelines below. If you have any questions, please email

The deadline to submit to the 2024 Creative Writing Prizes is Wednesday, April 3, 2024 at 4 p.m. ET (Eastern Time). Submissions will open on Monday, February 5, 2024. Please submit through this online form. You must complete the online submission form (which includes uploading a cover letter and your piece(s) as a single PDF) in order to be considered. See details and rules below.

  • This writing contest is open to all Dartmouth undergraduate students.
  • You must complete the online submission form in order to be considered. This form will ask for your name, class year, email, the titles of your piece(s) (a maximum of two pieces can be submitted), and the prizes you wish each piece to be considered for. The form will also include a section to upload your submission as a PDF. See PDF guidelines below:
    • The PDF must include a cover letter as the first page. The cover letter must include your full name, the titles of each piece, and the prizes you would like each piece to be considered for. See cover sheet sample. The cover letter must match what you enter in the online submission form.
    • Your piece(s) must start on the second page of the PDF. Please title every piece in the document.
    • You must use a minimum of 12 pt font in Times New Roman. Prose submissions must be double-spaced. Poetry submissions may be single-spaced.
    • Your document must include page numbers. Your cover letter should be page 1.
    • Save your work, with the cover letter as the first page, as one PDF document. You may use this template: Creative Writing Prizes Submission PDF Template (note that the template is a Word document, which you can edit, and then save as a PDF).
    • Name the PDF file as lastname_firstname_2024.pdf (e.g., Shakespeare_William_2024.pdf).
    • Upload your PDF to the online submission form. Your PDF upload must match what you submit in the online form. Double check to make sure you have listed the correct titles and prizes in the cover letter, and that you have included the correct pieces in the PDF.
    • Your submission will not be considered if it does not follow the above PDF guidelines.
  • You may submit a maximum of two pieces for consideration. You can submit each piece for multiple prizes. Please read each prize description and eligibility requirements to determine which prizes your piece can be submitted to. You must indicate which prizes you are submitting your pieces to in the online submission form as well as on the cover letter in your PDF.
  • Fiction and creative nonfiction submissions are limited to one short story, or one nonfiction piece, or one chapter of a book length manuscript not to exceed 20 double-spaced typewritten pages. If your submission is an excerpt from a novel or longer piece of writing, please include a 1-page synopsis.
  • A group of poems should have 6-8 poems and the document must not exceed 12 pages single-spaced.
  • Pieces that previously won a Creative Writing Prize cannot be submitted again. They will not be considered.
  • You must submit work that is solely yours. Collaborations are not accepted.

The prize winners will be announced in early May 2024. There will be a prize ceremony with readings on Thursday, May 9, 2024 at 4:30 p.m. in Sanborn Library.

The 2024 Creative Writing Prizes judge is Andrea Cohen. Andrea Cohen is the author of eight poetry collections, including The Sorrow Apartments, just out with Four Way Books. Other recent books include Everything and Nightshade. Cohen's poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Threepenny Review, The Atlantic Monthly, and elsewhere. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship and several residencies at MacDowell. She directs the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge, MA and is teaching at Boston University this spring.