Prizes and Deadlines

Department Prizes

Deadlines and Submission Information

The deadline for all submissions, except for those to category H (senior essays), is 12:00 noon (ET) on Thursday, April 18. Submissions to category H are due at 12:00 noon on Friday, April 26.  We regret that we cannot accept late submissions.


To be eligible, student must be enrolled at least one semester in the current academic year.

Categories of Submission

The Prizes Committee of the English Department administers eighteen prizes for written work, as well as prizes based on the faculty’s assessment of overall academic performance. The following are the categories in which writing is considered for prizes.

* Fiction Prizes

* Nonfiction Prizes

* Poetry Prizes

* First-Year Prizes

* Sophomore Prizes

* Junior Prizes

* Senior Prizes


Any instructor in the English Department may nominate one student essay, short story, or poem for prize competition for each course taught. (It is thus theoretically possible for a student to receive several faculty nominations and to have several submissions in the same genre.) Faculty should provide a note nominating the piece to the student, who will forward it via email to Since faculty-nominated pieces must enter the general competition without prejudgment in their favor, a faculty nomination should not be written on the essay itself, but the nomination should be indicated on the prize submission form. Such a nomination is only for the purpose of permitting the student to submit more than one entry per category.

Other Prizes

The Marina Keegan Award for Excellence in Playwriting

This award honors the memory of Marina Keegan ’12, a gifted playwright. Graduating seniors in English and Theater Studies, as well as seniors in other departments who have studied playwriting at Yale, are invited to submit a portfolio of dramatic writing for consideration – two plays, at least one of them full-length.  

On the title page, include your name, your residential college, your Yale class (you must be a senior), your email address, and your phone number. Save your document with a filename that includes your last name.  Email your submission to, by noon on Thursday, April 18, 2024. The award is jointly sponsored by the English and Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies departments.

The McLaughlin and Herson Scholarships and the Tinker Prize

On the basis of faculty nomination, rather than submitted essays, the Prizes Committee recommends to the Department a candidate or candidates for the Edward Thompkins McLaughlin Scholarship for excellence in composition and the study of English literature during the first three years. The award is made in the January of the student’s senior year. The Sholom and Marcia Herson Scholarship, for outstanding work in English, is awarded to a senior who intends to do graduate work in English, preferably at Yale and preferably in American Literature. The Chauncey Brewster Tinker Prize is designated for the outstanding senior in English.

The Noah Webster Prize

The Noah Webster Prize (for the best essay on some aspect of the history of the English language) is open to graduate students. Consult the DGS for a definition of categories and deadline.

The Field, Porter, and Wallace Prizes

Besides prizes administered by the English Department, The Secretary’s Office supervises competition for the Field Prize (for a work in poetry, literature, or religion) and the Porter prize (for a work of scholarship “of general human interest”). The submission deadline is typically in March for graduate and professional students’ entries and in April for Yale College students’ entries. The Yale Daily News administers the Wallace Prize in creative writing. Check at the Yale Daily News building, 202 York Street, for the deadline date (usually end of March).

The Wrexham Prize and The Steere Prize

The Wrexham Prize (“for the best senior essay in the field of the humanities”) is one for which the Prizes Committee makes nomination after reading entries in category H. The Steere Prize, for the senior essay that best exemplifies the advance in scholarship gained by focusing on women or gender or by employing feminist theory, and the GALA prize, for the best senior essay on a topic relevant to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies, are administered by the WGSS office (315 WLH). Check the WGSS website for more information.

Questions about the prizes should be directed to Professor David Bromwich.
Questions about submissions should be directed to Jane Bordiere.