Prizes for Seniors

Categories of Eligibility

(A-2) Poetry written by upper-years and graduate students.

POETRY. Students may compete for the Academy of American Poets Prize, the Albert Stanburrough Cook Prize, and the Gordon Barber Memorial Prize. Poems submitted must be unpublished or they may have been published in a university magazine.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. A student who has won a prize for poetry may not, in a later year, submit the same poems for our poetry competition. A student who has previously competed but who has not won a prize should limit resubmission to one of the poems from the earlier packet; the rest should be new.

(B-2) Fiction written by upper-years.

FICTION. Seniors 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. Students in the Writing Concentration who have written a novel should consider submitting one chapter and accompanying it with a brief explanation of how the selection fits in the larger context. If you choose to submit a whole novel or cycle of stories, the Prizes Committee needs to be able to compare submissions of similar sizes. You must therefore attach a note specifying which story of the cycle or which 20-or-so page piece of the novel you choose for such consideration.

(C-1) One piece of nonfiction, 2500-5000 words.

(C-2) 3-6 mostly published journalistic articles by juniors or seniors.

(C-3) One piece of nonfiction, longer than 5000 words.

NONFICTION. Seniors may submit a single general nonfiction piece (i.e., descriptive, imaginative, or journalistic article) of 2500 to 5000 words to C-1. A piece of nonfiction longer than 5000 words should be submitted to C-3.

Seniors may also 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.

Students who have written op-ed pieces for the Yale Daily News or reviews or feature stories, published or unpublished, sometimes ask whether they should compete for the Hersey or single out their best piece for the Wright.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.

Entries for the John Hersey Prize should be submitted to C-2.

(G) Essays written by juniors and seniors on American literature or American themes.

(H-1) Essays by seniors, fewer than 18 pages.

(H-2) Essays by seniors, longer than 18 pages.

ESSAYS. Prizes for individual essays and for general excellence in the major are awarded; the Ralph Paine Memorial, the Lloyd Mifflin, and the John Hubbard Curtis are the prizes given for essays. In addition, seniors may compete for the Schoenberg prize, “for the best essay on some American poet or some phase of American poetry,” and for the Strong prize, “for the best essay on a phase of American literature or the best story on an incident in the lives of American people.” (If you have a short story on an American theme, please submit it to B-2 for fiction prizes.)

Submission Deadlines

Thursday, April 18, 2024 at NOON, except
Friday, April 26, 2024 at NOON for submissions to Category H-1 and H-2 and ENGL 489 submissions to Category C-3.

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. Please follow the nonfiction limits stated above. (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 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).

Note: for Category A-2 submissions only, please do not provide your status or college year on the title page.

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