English Department Student Prizes
Below is information about the prizes which require submissions. They are open to Barnard students of ALL majors. The Burns Prize is open to Columbia students as well, in both the undergraduate or graduate level. Any questions should be addressed to Prof. Timea Szell, Director of Creative Writing, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about Columbia's writing prizes (some of which are open to Barnard students), visit their page on Columbia's website.
2015 Prize Descriptions
- Burns Prize
- Prize for Prose
- Prize for Poetry
- Current Judges (2015)
- Last Year's Contest Judges (2014)
2015 Burns Society Prize
The Burns Society of the City of New York is pleased to offer again the Burns Society Prize. The Barnard English Department will award $1000 to the student who writes the best paper on a topic related to the poetry of Robert Burns, the 18th-Century Scottish poet. Competition is open to all Barnard and Columbia at the undergraduate or graduate level in any department or major.
At the discretion of the English Department, if there is more than one winner in any given year, the prize may be divided. If no submissions qualify, the prize may be deferred until the following year.
1. Students are required to label each entry with her name, phone number, expected year of graduation, and a list of the contents (if more than one essay is included). Each submission must be securely enclosed in a manila folder or envelope. Every envelope or folder should also be labeled on the outside as well with the student's name and a list of contents.
2. All submissions should be double-spaced and on one side of standard 8-1/2" by 11" sheets.
3. Each separate essay or story must have the student's name, and the pages of each must be numbered.
2015 Peter S. Prescott Prize for Prose Writing
This prize is offered annually by the family of the distinguished writer and critic Peter S. Prescott, author of Child Savers and former book critic of Newsweek. Competition is open to all Barnard undergraduates of whatever department or major. This year's prize is $300. The prize will be awarded at the discretion of a board of three outside judges for a work in prose, fiction or creative non-fiction, which gives the greatest evidence of creative imagination and sustained ability. Each of the three judges, acting independently, is asked to designate his or her first, second, and third choice among the contestants. In the final reckoning, each first choice will count as three points, second choice as two points, and third as one point. The contestant with the highest number of points will be the winner. In any year, however, the judges may decline to designate the choices if none of the work submitted seems to them good enough to deserve the prize. In that event, Mr. Prescott's family and the English Department will determine how the prize money may be spent to encourage creative talent among undergraduate writers at Barnard.
Deadline: Entries in the contest must be turned in absolutely no later than 4:00 pm on Monday, February 16, 2015 in the English Department Office, 417 Barnard Hall. As this deadline is final, students would be well advised to set a somewhat earlier deadline in order to forestall emergencies.
1. Students are required to submit four copies of each entry, each set labeled with the author's name, email address, expected year of graduation, a list of the contents, and each securely enclosed in a manila folder or envelope. Every envelope or folder should be labeled on the outside as well with the student's name and a list of contents. Do not use heavy binders.
2. Typescripts should be double-spaced, on one side only of standard 8-1/2" by 11" sheets.
3. Each separate essay or story must carry the student's name, and the pages of each must be numbered.
4. You may submit one short story or piece of creative non-fiction, or several shorter such pieces, totaling 10-15 pages, and no more than 20.
5. Please retain copies of your work as these entries will not be returned.
2015 Poetry Prize
The Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize
This prize was established on a permanent basis by the New Hope Foundation in memory of Lenore Marshall, the writer and peace activist who had given the prize annually for many years before her death. Besides the prize money, the winner receives Latest Will, Leonore Marshall's collected poems. Each of three judges, acting independently, is asked to designate a first, second, and third choice among the contestants. In the final reckoning, each first choice will count as three points, second choice as two points, and third as one point. The contestant with the highest number of points will be the winner.
This competition is open to Barnard undergraduates of whatever department or major. It is suggested that each competitor submit more than one poem, but no more than five. There is no fixed statement about the number of lines required; contestants may find it helpful to think of approximately 100 lines, but they should not hesitate to submit fewer or more. The student should provide four separate and complete sets of manuscripts, each set labeled with her name, expected year of graduation, and a list of the contents, and each securely enclosed in a manila folder or envelope. Each separate poem within the set must also carry the writer's name. Pages must be numbered and single-sided on standard 8-1/2" x 11" pages. Every envelope or folder should be labeled with the student's name and a list of contents. Do not use heavy binders.
Entries in the contest must be submitted absolutely no later than 4:00 pm on Monday, February 16, 2015 in the English Department Office, 417 Barnard Hall.
Please retain copies of your work as these entries will not be returned. Copies of this notice may be obtained in 417 Barnard Hall. Past winners of cash awards in the poetry competitions may enter again; their entries, however, should be composed of new material.
Judges for the 2015 Prizes
2015 Poetry Judges
2015 Prose Judges
Christine Schutt (Prescott Prize)
Anya Ulinich (Prescott Prize)
Malena Watrous (Prescott Prize)
Judges for the 2014 Prizes
2014 Poetry Judges
Elisabeth Frost’s books include two collections of poetry, All of Us and the chapbook Rumor, as well as a critical study, The Feminist Avant-Garde in American Poetry. She is co-editor (with Cynthia Hogue) of Innovative Women Poets: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and Interviews. She teaches at Fordham University, where she is founder and editor of the Poets Out Loud book series from Fordham Press.
Jessica Greenbaum is the author of two collections of poetry: Inventing Difficulty, which won the Gerald Cable Prize in 2000, and The Two Yvonnes, a 2012 selection in the Princeton University Press Series of Contemporary Poets. She is the poetry editor for the annual upstreet.
Sean Singer’s first book, Discography, won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, selected by W.S. Merwin, and the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. His second book, Honey & Smoke, is forthcoming from Eyewear Publishing in 2015. He has also published two chapbooks, Passport and Keep Right On Playing Through the Mirror Over the Water, both with Beard of Bees Press, and is the recipient of a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has a PhD in American Studies from Rutgers-Newark.
2014 Prose Judges
Kristopher Jansma's debut novel, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards, was published by Viking/Penguin and was selected as a ALA 2014 Notable Book. He received his B.A. in The Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University and an M.F.A. in Fiction from Columbia University. He writes a monthly column for Electric Literature’s blog, “The Outlet” and his work has also been published in The New York Times, The Believer, Slice Magazine, the Blue Mesa Review, and on The Millions. Currently, he is a Creative Writing Lecturer at SUNY Purchase College.
Malena Watrous is the author of the novel, If You Follow Me, which won a Michener-Copernicus award and was selected by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the best works of fiction by Bay Area Authors in 2010. She attended Barnard College and received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. Her short stories have been published in such literary journals as StoryQuarterly, TriQuarterly, and The Massachusetts Review, and her nonfiction has appeared in Allure, Salon, The Believer, and Conde Nast Traveler. She also writes book reviews for the San Francisco Chronicle and The New York Times. She has taught writing at the University of Iowa, Stanford, and in the MFA program at University of San Francisco.
Kate Zambreno is the author of two novels, O Fallen Angel (Chiasmus Press) and Green Girl (Harper Perennial). She is also the author of Heroines (Semiotext(e)'s Active Agents) and Book of Mutter (forthcoming from Wesleyan University Press). She teaches in the creative writing program at Sarah Lawrence College and the MFA program at Columbia University.
page last updated 2/2/15