Each year English majors and minors have the opportunity to earn membership in two honor societies and win awards based on their research and writing abilities.

ACI Humanities Fellowship recipients meet Margaret Atwood

2013 Writing Awards Recipients
2013 IWU Creative Writing Awards
From left to right: THE ACADEMY OF AMERICAN POETS PRIZE recipient Rob Diehl, BABBITT’S PRIZE FOR SHORT FICTION recipient Janna Strain, and THE KAY NELSON MEMORIAL ESSAY PRIZE recipient Sydney White.




Contests announced for IWU student poets and writers 

Illinois Wesleyan University students are invited to enter annual competitions for the Academy of American Poets University & College Prize, the Illinois Wesleyan University Department of English Prize for Short Fiction, and the Kay Nelson Memorial Essay Prize. The prizes, administered by the English department, are open to all currently enrolled students, including non-English majors and minors.

Founded in 1955, the Academy of American Poets University & College Poetry Prize program has launched the careers of many promising poets, including Sylvia Plath, Tess Gallagher, Mark Strand, and Joy Harjo. The winner from Illinois Wesleyan University receives $100 and a certificate, and is announced in the Academy of American Poets' publications and news releases, with a chance for publication in a future anthology.

To enter the Academy of American Poets' Prize, students should submit 4-6 poems, single-spaced, with the total length not to exceed 12 pages.

The Illinois Wesleyan University Department of English Prize for Short Fiction (formerly the Clockwatch Review Prize for Short Fiction and the Babbitt’s Prize for Short Fiction) began in 1997 as a way to promote and encourage aspiring fiction writers at IWU. The winner receives $100.

To enter the IWU Department of English Prize, students should submit up to 18 double-spaced pages of fiction—either a single short story or a segment from a novel that can stand alone. Any style is acceptable—even genre, if it breaks the mold—but judges will be looking for literary quality, energy, innovation, interesting plots, memorable characters, dialogue that rings true, fresh language, and a sure voice.

The Kay Nelson Memorial Essay Prize has been established in 2013 by Prof. Alison Sainsbury to honor her aunt, Kay Nelson, a prolific writer of short and often humorous essays whose work is a testament to the personal essay’s most essential truth: individual voice and idiosyncratic vision enliven even the most quotidian of experiences.

To enter the Kay Nelson Memorial Essay Prize, students should submit one essay, double-spaced, of no more than 5,000 words (shorter essays are more than acceptable!). Traditional as well as more experimental forms of the essay are welcomed.  The winner receives a prize of $100.

The final judge for the Kay Nelson Prize is Diane McPherson.  McPherson received an MFA (Fiction) and a Ph.D.(Women's Literature) from Cornell University. Her publications include fiction in *The Greensboro Review*, and creative nonfiction in MotherJourneys  (Spinsters Ink) and in a collection of essays about "alternative motherhood" (Demeter Press).  McPherson has previously served as a juror (creative nonfiction) for the Saltonstall Foundation. 

Students may submit only one entry to each competition.

Members of the English department faculty will serve as preliminary judges, with five manuscripts for each competition passed on to a final off-campus judge who’s an accomplished, published writer.

All entries should be submitted to Kathie Bradley, English Department Office Coordinator, in the English Department's main office (on the first floor of the English House) by  4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 .

For additional information, contact Professor Michael Theune at mtheune@iwu.edu or 309-556-3168.