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 Alexander Laing Memorial Writing 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.       

2022 Creative Writing Prizes

The 2022 Creative Writing Prizes judge was Chris Abani. Chris Abani's books of fiction include The Secret History of Las Vegas, Song For Night, The Virgin of Flames, Becoming Abigail, Graceland, and Masters of the Board. His poetry collections are Sanctificum, There Are No Names for Red, Feed Me The Sun: Collected Long Poems, Hands Washing Water, Dog Woman, Daphne's Lot, and Kalakuta Republic. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/Hemingway Award, the PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the Hurston Wright Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship, among many honors. His work has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, German, Swedish, Romanian, Hebrew, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Dutch, Bosnian, and Serbian.

For the Sidney Cox Memorial Prize
Mia Anwar '25, "The Subway"
Claire Callahan '23, "Drop Tower"
Cia Gladden '23, "Tuesday"

The Academy of American Poets Prize
Eliza Dunn '25, "Excavation"

Jacobson-Laing Award in Poetry
Migwi Mwangi '23, "Tendered Soils"

The Mecklin Prize
Christopher Cartwright '21, "Twenty-First Century Drugs"
Maeve Fairbanks '22, "Landscape in a Bottle"
Ellen O'Rourke '23, "Horseshoe Crabs and Queer Ecologies"

The Grimes Prize
Willem Gerrish '22, "Patience"
Karen Zheng '22, "burnt tongue"

The Lockwood Prize
Thomas Brown '23, "The New Text"

William C. Spengemann Award in Writing
Abigail Bresler '21, "In the Closet of Expired Medicine"
Emma Ginsberg '23, "Lunch After Death"
Jade Haakonsen '25, "A Fragmented Bellflower"

Erskine Caldwell Prize
Yevheniia Dubrova '24, "A Flat Tire"
Chukwuka Odigbo '25, "A Sexual Assaulter Is Someone You Know"
Jiyoung Park '23, "Our Summer"

SUBMISSION DETAILS

  • The deadline for submissions is Monday, April 18, 2022 at 4:00 PM ET (Eastern Time).
  • You will need to complete an online survey to submit your work for consideration. If you have any questions while completing the survey, please email english.department@dartmouth.edu.
  • Please use a cover sheet to indicate your name, your entry titles, and the prizes for which you would like your work considered.
  • Please save your work as a PDF.
  • Please save your PDF as lastname_firstname_2022.pdf (e.g., Shakespeare_William_2022.pdf)
  • Please uplaod the PDF to the online survey.
  • 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 along with a one-page synopsis of the book.
  • This writing contest is open to all Dartmouth undergraduate students.
  • The prize winners will be announced in May 2022, with a reading to take place on Thursday, June 2nd at 4:00pm in Sanborn Library.

2021 Creative Writing Prize Winners

Asako Serizawa was the judge of this year's prizes.

For the Sidney Cox Memorial Prize
Julia Robitaille '23, The New Abolition

The Academy of American Poets Prize
Jordan McDonald '21, "Dementia"

Honorable Mention:
James King '21, "Self Portrait as No. 34 Bus from Dublin to County Meath"
Matthew Nolan '21, "Encyclopedia"

Jacobson-Laing Award in Poetry
Tom Bosworth '22, The CVS at the End of the World

Karen Zheng '22, The Tail of Smoke

The Mecklin Prize
Alisya Reza '22, "Deep Cassie Blue"

Honorable Mention:

Maria Amador '24, "9 to 5"
Elizabeth Janowski '21, "Why Aren't They Behaving"
Eva Legge '22, "The Salamanders at the End of the World"
Frances Mize '22, "Gatsby Days"
Laurel Lee Pitts '24, "Elsewhere and Here"

The Grimes Prize
Cynthia Lucas '21, "Bonefish"

The Lockwood Prize
Mariana Peñaloza Morales '22, "A Week of Presidents"

William C. Spengemann Award in Writing
Annika Bowman '21, You Made It

Honorable Mention:
Migwi S. Mwangi '23, "I WAIT FOR NO GOD"
Nate Stockmal '21, Meta//Narrative

Erskine Caldwell Prize
Valentina Jaramillo '21, "Love Letter to Beelzebub"

Honorable Mention:
Shaphnah McKenzie '23, "A New, Old Home"
Mia Nelson '22, "The Un-Virgin, Un-Suicides"

2020 Creative Writing Prize Awards

Carlos Andrés Gómez was the 2020 creative writing prizes judge. For more information, please visit: https://carloslive.com/.

Sidney Cox Memorial Prize in Creative Writing:
CC Lucas '21

Academy of American Poets Prize:
James King '21

Honorable Mentions:
Kira Householder '23
Mia Nelson '22

Jacobson-Laing Award in Poetry:
Karen Zheng '22

Honorable Mention:
Julia O'Sullivan '20

Lockwood English Prize:
CC Lucas '21

Grimes English Prize:
Julia O'Sullivan '20

The William C. Spengemann Award in Writing:
Raena Roman '19

The Mecklin Prize in Creative Nonfiction:
Kai Chen '19

Honorable Mention:
Maeve Fairbanks '22
Shaphnah McKenzie '23

The Erskine Caldwell Memorial Prize:
Jordan McDonald '21

Honorable Mention:
Betty Kim '20

2019 Creative Writing Prize Awards

Professor Inara Verzemnieks was the 2019 creative writing prizes judge. For more information about Professor Verzemnieks, please visit: http://inaraverzemnieks.com/.

Sidney Cox Memorial Prize in Creative Writing:
Rebecca Flowers '19

Academy of American Poets Prize:
Julia O'Sullivan '20

Jacobson-Laing Award in Poetry:
Michael Sun '19

Lockwood English Prize:
Sofía Carbonell Realme '20

Grimes English Prize:
Saleha Irfan '19
Yegene Joyce Lee '19

The William C. Spengemann Award in Writing:
Maanav Jalan '19

The Mecklin Prize in Creative Nonfiction:
Kai Chen '19
Jordan McDonald '21
Rebecca Flowers '19

The Erskine Caldwell Memorial Prize:
Isabelle Blank '19
Betty Kim '20

The Thomas Henry Ralston IV English 80 Prize:
Chibuzo Chiwike '22

2018 Creative Writing Prize Awards

Joshua Bennett was the 2018 creative writing prizes judge. For more information about Professor Joshua Bennett, please visit: https://www.drjoshuabennett.com/.

Sidney Cox Memorial Prize for Best Creative Writing Honors Thesis:
Stephen Banks '18, High Honors Thesis in Fiction
Liza Wemakor '18, High Honors Thesis in Fiction and Poetry

Sidney Cox Memorial Prize in Creative Writing:
Hannah Matheson '18

Academy of American Poets Prize:
Courtney Niamh McKee '21

Jacobson-Laing Award in Poetry:
Sarah Lehan '20

Lockwood English Prize:
Emma Hobday '19

Grimes English Prize:
Hannah Matheson '18

The William C. Spengemann Award in Writing:
Celeste Jennings '18

The Mecklin Prize in Creative Nonfiction:
Ben Szuhaj '19

The Erskine Caldwell Memorial Prize:
Emma Sklarin '18

The Thomas Henry Ralston IV English 80 Prize:
Kaijing Janice Chen '19
Hye Young Kim
Sofía Carbonell Realme '20
Neelufar Raja '21

2017 Creative Writing Prize Awards

Aimee Phan was the 2017 creative writing prizes judge. For more information, please visit: https://us.macmillan.com/author/aimeephan/.

Sidney Cox Memorial Prize for Best Creative Writing Honors Thesis:
Jennifer Evans '17, High Honors Thesis in Fiction
Sarah Khatry '17, Honors Thesis in Creative Non-fiction

Sidney Cox Memorial Prize in Creative Writing:
Abbey Cahill '18
Andrew Joubert '20, Honorable Mention

Academy of American Poets Prize:
Abby Starr '19

Jacobson-Laing Award in Poetry:
Michael Sun '19

Lockwood English Prize:
Ho-chun Herbert Chang '18
Hannah Matheson '18

Grimes English Prize:
John "Mac" Emery '17
Sarah Khatry '17

The William C. Spengemann Award in Writing:
Parker Richards '18
Frederikke Strobech Furst, Honorable Mention

The Mecklin Prize in Creative Nonfiction:
Eliza McDonough '18
Raul Rodriguez '19
Alexa Sonnenfeld '17

The Erskine Caldwell Memorial Prize:
Kylee Sibilia '20
Elise Wien '17

The Thomas Henry Ralston IV English 80 Prize:
Saleha Irfan '19
Isabel Parks '20
Jaclyn Verzuh '19

2016 Creative Writing Prize Awards

Peter Manseau was the 2016 creative writing prizes judge. For more information, please visit: http://www.petermanseau.com/.

Sidney Cox Memorial Prize:

Queenie Sukhadia '16
Gabrielle Pacia '16
Georgianna Anderson '16

Academy of American Poets Prize:
Kelsey Sipple '16

Jacobson-Laing Award in Poetry:
Margaret Lacey Jones '16

Lockwood English Prize:
Treeman Baker '17

Grimes English Prize:
Charlotte Gross '16
Robbie Herbst '16

The William C. Spengemann Award in Writing:
William Peters '16

The Mecklin Prize in Creative Nonfiction:
Max Gibson '16

The Erskine Caldwell Memorial Prize:
Cherrie Kandie '18
James Sachar '16

The Thomas Henry Ralston IV English 80 Prize:
Ho Chun Herbert Chang '18

2015 Creative Writing Prizes Awards

Meg Kearney was the 2015 creative writing prizes judge. For more information, please visit: http://megkearney.com/.

Sidney Cox Memorial Prize:
Sara Khatry '17
Haider Ghiasuddin '15
Madison Pauly '15
Kelsey Stimson '15
Jeremy Whitaker '15

Academy of American Poets Prize:
Margaret Lacey Jones '16

Jacobson-Laing Award in Poetry:
Andrew Lohse '12

Lockwood English Prize:
Tailour Garbutt '16

Grimes English Prize:
Jenna van de Ruit '15

The William C. Spengemann Award in Writing:
Joshua D. Koenig '16

The Mecklin Prize in Creative Nonfiction:
Kelsey Anne Stimson '15

The Erskine Caldwell Memorial Prize:
Robbie Herbst '16

The Thomas Henry Ralston IV English 80 Prize:
Kevin M. Patterson '17

 

2014 Creative Writing Prize Awards

Emily Raboteau was the 2014 creative writing prizes judge. For more information, please visit: https://www.emilyraboteau.com/.

Sidney Cox Memorial Prize:

In Fiction
Cassandra Hartt '14

In Poetry
Mitchell Jacobs '14

Second Prize
Kirklun Davis '16

Academy of American Poets Prize:
Geanette Foster '14
Rebecca Rothfeld '14, Honorable Mention

Jacobson-Laing Award in Poetry:
Mitchell Jacobs '14

Lockwood English Prize:
Eva Petzinger '15

Grimes English Prize:
Amelia Acosta '14

The William C. Spengemann Award in Writing:
Suado Sheikh-Hassan '14
Autumn White Eyes '14, Honorable Mention

The Mecklin Prize in Creative Nonfiction:
Claire Groden '14
Runners Up
Max Gibson '16
Madison Pauly '15

The Erskine Caldwell Memorial Prize:
Henry Russell '15

The Thomas Henry Ralston IV English 80 Prize:
Georgianna Anderson '16
Dondei Dean '17