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.
2018 Winner: Emily Salomon, for her essay “The Devil’s Playground”
2017 Winner: Mayra Gonzalez for her essay “Assests-Liabilities=Equ[ality]”
Honorable Mention: Vandhana Rajarathnam, for “The Garage”
2016 Winner: Hanna Peterson, for her essay “My Own Way.”
Honorable Mention: Savannah Feher, for “Four Plywood Walls.”
2015 Winner: Olivia Anderson, for her essay, “Blood Tide.”
Honorable Mentions: Olivian Heffernan, for “In the Same Bed,” and Jasmine Wright, for “As Best He Could.”
2014 Winner: Colleen O’Connor, for her essay, “Darling, It’s Better”
Honorable Mentions: Olivia Anderson and Mack Rivkin
2013 Winner: Sydney White, for her essay, “Hallways and Home”
Honorable Mentions: Savannah Davis and Shane McGowan