Annual Writing Competition

The English Department announces the annual competition for prizes in writing. The prizes are cash awards ranging from $50 to $500. We encourage students from every department and school within Northwestern to compete according to the guidelines below.

Any original work is eligible, whether or not it has been written for a class. All comments by teachers on the course papers, however, should be removed. A legible photocopy is acceptable; handwritten work is not acceptable. Please follow these rules:

  1. Any original work is eligible, whether or not it was written for a class.
  2. Students may submit only one work in each of the following categories: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction essay, critical essay, ENG 300 (formerly 298) paper. 
  3. The length for critical essays is 5-20 pages; the maximum length for fiction and creative nonfiction is 20 pages; the maximum length for a poetry manuscript is 10 pages or 3 poems.
  4. Students do not need to submit work for a specific prize; we will consider it for all appropriate prize(s).

A cover sheet should be filled out and attached to a clean copy of each piece of work turned in. The author’s name must not appear on the work itself. Work will be judged anonymously and identified afterward through the cover sheets.

Manuscripts must be turned in to University Hall 215 by 3:00 p.m. on the due date. MANUSCRIPTS WILL NOT BE RETURNED.

Creative Writing Awards Eligibility

Category Award Eligibility
CREATIVE NONFICTION ESSAY EDWIN L. SHUMAN AWARD for CREATIVE NONFICTION ESSAY Any WCAS undergraduate
FICTION EDWIN L. SHUMAN AWARD for FICTION Any WCAS undergraduate
POETRY FARICY AWARD for POETRY may be divided among two or more students Any University Undergraduate
POETRY JEAN MEYER ALOE PRIZE from the ACADEMY OF AMERICAN POETS Any University Undergraduate
FICTION ENGLISH DEPARTMENT PRIZE for FICTION Any University graduate or undergraduate
CREATIVE NONFICTION ESSAY ENGLISH DEPARTMENT PRIZE for CREATIVE NONFICTION ESSAY Any University graduate or undergraduate
CREATIVE WRITING THE HELEN G. SCOTT PRIZES for CREATIVE WRITING specific categories will vary Any University undergraduate
AUDIO/VISUAL THE HELEN G. SCOTT PRIZE FOR LITERARY MEDIA Any University undergraduate
 

Literature Awards Eligibility

Category Award Eligibility
CRITICAL ESSAY EDWIN L. SHUMAN AWARD for CRITICAL ESSAY Any WCAS undergraduate
ENGLISH 300 PAPER MAYO PRIZE is awarded for the best paper submitted each year in English 300(formerly 298) Any undergraduate student who took English 300 in Spring 2016, Fall 2016, or Winter 2017
CRITICAL ESSAY HARRIET GILLIAM MEMORIAL PRIZE for the best essay dealing with the psychological or psychoanalytic interpretation of a literary text Any University undergraduate
ENGLISH FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR PAPER The HELEN G. SCOTT PRIZE for BEST ENGLISH FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR PAPER Any Northwestern first-year undergraduate student
CRITICAL ESSAY HELEN G. SCOTT PRIZE for BEST CRITICAL ESSAY on LITERATURE, pre-1830 Any University undergraduate
CRITICAL ESSAY HELEN G. SCOTT PRIZE for BEST CRITICAL ESSAY on AMERICAN LITERATURE Any University undergraduate
CRITICAL ESSAY HELEN G. SCOTT PRIZE for BEST CRITICAL ESSAY on LITERARY CRITICISM and THEORY Any University undergraduate
CRITICAL ESSAY HELEN G. SCOTT PRIZE for BEST CRITICAL ESSAY on GLOBAL ENGLISH Any University undergraduate
CRITICAL ESSAY HELEN G. SCOTT PRIZE for BEST CRITICAL ESSAY on BRITISH LITERATURE Any University undergraduate
AUDIO/VISUAL HELEN G. SCOTT PRIZE for LITERATURE and NEW MEDIA Any University undergraduate
RESEARCH PAPER HELEN G. SCOTT PRIZE for BEST RESEARCH PAPER on LITERATURE Any University undergraduate
CRITICAL ESSAY ENGLISH DEPARTMENT PRIZE for CRITICAL NONFICTION Any University graduate or undergraduate
_____________________________

In addition to the prizes listed above, the Department will annually present the following awards to students who have demonstrated continued excellence in their work in the English Department. Students should not apply directly for these prizes. 

Edwin L. Shuman Awards:

The Shuman Junior Award in Creative Writing will be awarded to the best junior Creative Writing major. 

The Shuman Senior Award in Creative Writing will be awarded to the best senior Creative Writing major.

The Shuman Award for Best Honors Thesis in Creative Writing will be awarded to the best creative honors thesis.

The Shuman Junior Award in Literature will be awarded to the best junior English Literature major.

The Shuman Senior Award in Literature will be awarded to the best senior English Literature major.

The Shuman Award for Best Honors Thesis in Literature will be awarded to the best critical honors thesis.