Prizes for Nonfiction

Categories of Eligibility

Undergraduate students may submit nonfiction work based on the following eligibility criteria.

(C-1) All undergraduates: one piece of nonfiction, 2500-5000 words.

Undergraduates may submit one piece of general nonfiction in competition for the Wright Memorial prize (for the “best descriptive, imaginative, or journalistic article, 2500 to 5000 words”).

(C-2) Juniors and Seniors: a body of journalistic work, 3-6 articles, mostly published.

Juniors and seniors may compete for the John Hersey Prize “for a body of journalistic work” reflecting the spirit and ideals of John Hersey: engagement with moral and social issues, responsible reportage, and craftsmanship. Submit three to six articles, at least the majority of which have been published. Students entering this competition should state which pieces have been published and where.

(C-3) All undergraduates: one piece of nonfiction, longer than 5000 words.

Students who have written pieces of non-fiction too long for the Wright should submit their work in C-3.

Students who have written op-ed pieces for the Yale Daily News or reviews or feature stories, published or unpublished, sometimes ask whether they should compete for the Hersey or single out their best piece for the Wright. If you submit a packet of journalism for the Hersey competition, you may also submit a single piece for the Wright; that piece may be, but does not need to be, something submitted for the Hersey. Since a student cannot win both these prizes the same year, underclassmen may wish to submit only for the Wright and to wait till they have accumulated more of a body of work to compete for the Hersey.

(C-4) Sophomores and Juniors: an essay shorter than 2500 words.

Essays by sophomores and juniors of fewer than 2500 words written for 120/121, or general expository or creative non-fiction essays of fewer than 2500 words written by sophomores and juniors for other courses or no course should be submitted to category C-4.

Submission Deadline

Thursday, April 18, 2024 at NOON, except
Friday, April 26, 2024 at NOON for ENGL 489 submissions to Category C3.

We regret that we cannot accept late submissions.

Length and Number of Submissions

Upload a single pdf document for the category to which you are applying. (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 (C-1, C-2, C-3, or C-4, as described above), 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

Follow the link below to upload your prize submission. PDF is recommended. The filename for each entry must include two pieces of information in this order: 1) prize category; 2) your pseudonym (ps). 

Online Form Tip: log into your Microsoft account using your Yale email address and password. Please note that if you are trying to access the form while logged into any email on your browser that is not your Yale one, the page will not load.

English Prize Submittal Form