Prizes for First-Year Students

ESSAYS. Four separate essay competitions are held for work by First Year students. Prizes awarded are the Bloch, the McLaughlin Memorial, the Lloyd Mifflin, and the Winston T. Townsend.

POETRY.  First-year students may compete for the Academy of American Poets Prize, the Albert Stanburrough Cook Prize, and the Gordon Barber Memorial Prize for poetry. Poems submitted must be unpublished or they may have been published in a university magazine. Poems written in imitation of the style of canonical poets will be considered.

FICTION. First-year students may submit one work of fiction. Entries should be of reasonable length—in most cases a single short story, although the committee will consider a unified cycle of short stories or even a novel or a play. If you choose to submit a whole novel or cycle of stories, please attach a note specifying which story of the cycle or which 20-or-so page piece of the novel you choose for such consideration.

Submission Deadline

Thursday, April 18, 2024 at NOON.

​We regret that we cannot accept late submissions.

Length and Number of Submissions

Upload a single pdf document for each category to which you are applying. Please submit four to six pages for poetry; poems may be of any length and number. There is no page limit for fiction or essays. (Recommended: 12 pt font, double-spaced.) One submission is allowed per category unless you have received a faculty nomination.

Pseudonym and Title Page

Your name must not appear on the entry. Instead, choose a unique pseudonym containing more than one word to avoid possible duplication, and put the letters ps (for “pseudonym”) in parentheses after it. A new pseudonym should be chosen from year to year.

On the title page of your entry, provide your pseudonym (followed by ps), Yale class or graduate status, title of the piece, and the course for which it was written, if it was written for a course. In the upper-left corner of the title page, write the appropriate category (A through H, as below), not the names of prizes. Please take responsibility yourself for entering your work in the appropriate category. For example:

Eli Whitney (ps)
BK ’11
“A Reading of To the Lighthouse”
English 411

Submitting Your Entry

There are two steps to complete your submission: Use the appropriate links below to 1) complete the online prize submittal form and 2) upload your submission via email attachment.


(A-1) Poetry by First Year Undergraduate Students:
A-1 Application Form
A-1 Upload Submission


(B-1) Fiction by First Year Undergraduate Students:
B-1 Application Form
B-1 Upload Submission


Each student may submit one essay to categories D1 or D2 and one essay to categories D3 and D4.

(D-1) Essays by First-Year Students written for ENGL 114
D-1 Application Form
D-1 Upload Submission

(D-2) Essays by First-Year Students written for ENGL 120 and ENGL 121
D-2 Application Form
D-2 Upload Submission

(D-3) Essays by First-Year Students written for ENGL 125, ENGL 126, ENGL 127, and ENGL 128
D-3 Application Form
D-3 Upload Submission

(D-4) Essays of Literary Criticism by First-Year Students written for other courses (including ENGL 115, 129, and 130, and DRST 001 and 002)
D-4 Application Form
D-4 Upload Submission