Opportunities Sponsored by the Barnard English Department

2018 English Department Student Prizes Requiring Submissions


The prizes below are open to Barnard students of ALL majors.  Questions should be directed to Dr. Timea Szell, Director of Creative Writing, at tszell@barnard.edu.

For information about Columbia's writing prizes (some of which are open to Barnard students), visit their website.

Please note that prize recipients for all but the Quindlen Prize will be notified by the Dean of Studies Office.

We will accept submissions electronically via Google Form only.  Click here to fill out the form.  Please follow all instructions carefully.  Submissions should be files .pdf, .docx, or .rtf form and must be named in the following form: FirstName_LastName_GraduationDate_PrizeName.  Each page of your submission must be numbered and include your name. 

Please see the descriptions of each prize for specific instructions.


2018 Axinn Foundation/Anna Quindlen Award for Creative Writing

Funded through a generous donation from the Joan F. and Donald E. Axinn Foundation in honor of author and Barnard alumna Anna Quindlen ’74, her oeuvre, and her enthusiastic support for women’s education and creative youth.  The prize will be awarded to a graduating Barnard senior of any major to support her creative writing.   The prize will be awarded to a graduating Barnard senior of any major to support her creative writing.


Applicants must submit 20-25 double-spaced pages of their work electronically through the Google Form. Submissions of fiction are preferred, but creative non-fiction will also be considered. Submissions may consist of a single piece, a collection of stories or creative non-fiction essays, or a chapter or two of a longer prose form. Submissions must include a cover page listing the applicant's name, year of expected graduation, major, telephone number and e-mail address.  The deadline is 11:59 pm on Monday, February 12, 2018.  


2018 Brandt Playwriting Award

This award is sponsored by Barnard alumna and playwright Penny Brandt Jackson whose long-standing support of the Creative Writing Program has been vital to our functioning.  The Brandt Playwriting Award is given to a Barnard student of any year or major who writes the most promising one-act play. 


Applicants must submit electronic copies via the Google Form. Each entry must include a cover sheet with the student’s name, email address, expected year of graduation, the name of the Prize and the title of the play. The play should be around 25 pages.  The deadline is 11:59 pm on Monday, February 26, 2018.


2018 Peter S. Prescott Prize for Prose Writing

This prize is offered annually by the family of the distinguished writer and critic the late Peter S. Prescott, author of Child Savers and former book critic at Newsweek.  Competition is open to all Barnard undergraduates of whatever year or major.  The prize will be awarded for a work in prose, fiction or creative non-fiction, which gives the greatest evidence of creative imagination and sustained ability.


Applicants should submit electronic copies of their submission via the Google Form. You may submit one short story or piece of creative non-fiction, or several shorter such pieces, totaling no more than 20-25 pages. Your submissions must include a table of contents.  Every page of the entry must be labeled with the page number and the student's name.  Past winners of cash awards in the writing competition may enter again; their entries, however, should be composed of new material.  The deadline is 11:59 pm on Monday, February 12, 2018.


2018 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.  In addition to a monetary prize, the winner receives Latest Will, Lenore Marshall's collected poems. 


This competition is open to all Barnard undergraduates. It is suggested that each competitor submit more than one poem, but no more than five.  There is no fixed number of lines required; contestants may find it helpful to think of approximately 100 lines, but they should not hesitate to submit shorter or longer selections. 

Entries should be submitted electronically via the Google Form. Each submission should include a table of contents.   Every page of the entry must be labeled with the page number and the student's name.  The deadline is at 11:59pm on February 12, 2018.  Past winners of cash awards in the poetry competitions may enter again; their entries, however, should be composed of new material.


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Judges for the 2018 Prizes

Prose Judges










Malena Watrous

Malena Watrous is the author of the novel If You Follow Me, which received a Michener-Copernicus Award, and the young adult novel Sparked. She frequently reviews books for such publications as The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. She received an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow, and a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford, where she is currently the lead instructor helping to run the Online Creative Writing program for their continuing studies department.











Jennifer Gilmore

Jennifer Gilmore is the author of three novels for adults, including The Mothers (Scribner, 2013), which is currently being adapted for film, starring Rachel Weisz, with Gilmore Executive Producing;  Something Red (Scribner, 2009), a New York Times Notable Book, and Golden Country (Scribner 2006), also a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Jewish Book Award. (Scribner, 2006), and a novel for teens, We Were Never Here (Harper, 2016). Her work has appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies including The Atlantic, Bomb, BookForum, the Huffington Post, the Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, the New York Times, Real Simple, Salon, Tin House, Vogue and the Washington Post. She has been a MacDowell Colony fellow and has taught writing and literature at Barnard College, Cornell University, The New School, New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, Fordham University, Harvard University and Princeton University. Her next novel, If Only, a young adult novel, will be published by Harper in summer 2018.









Nellie Hermann

Nellie Hermann, Creative Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University, has published two novels, The Cure for Grief (Scribner, 2008) and The Season of Migration (FSG, 2015), a New York Times< Editor's Choice. Her non-fiction has appeared in an anthology about siblings, Freud’s Blindspot (Free Press: 2010), as well as in Academic Medicine. Over the last ten years she has taught fiction and narrative medicine to undergraduates, medical students, graduate students, and clinicians of all sorts, and has given conference addresses in Iowa, California, Seoul, Korea, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a 2016 NEA Literature fellowship and a 2017-18 Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library.


Poetry Judges






Fiona Wilson

 Fiona Wilson is the author of A Clearance (The Sheep Meadow Press, 2015). Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and in several anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic, including Poetry Review, Edinburgh ReviewThe Antigonish ReviewLiterary ImaginationThe Spectator, and New Writing Scotland. She grew up in Scotland and lives in New York City. She teaches literature at Sarah Lawrence College.








Brittany Perham

Brittany Perham’s Double Portrait won the 2016 Barnard Women Poets Prize, chosen by Claudia Rankine for poems that are “by turns playful, mournful, indulgent, musical, insightful, and all the way human.” She is a Jones Lecturer in Poetry at Stanford University, where she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow.








Donna Masini

Donna Masini’s third book of poems, 4:30 Movie, is forthcoming (W.W. Norton and Co., 2018).  She is the author of Turning to Fiction (W.W. Norton 2004), That Kind of Danger (Beacon Press, 1994), and a novel, About Yvonne (W.W. Norton,1998). Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies including Poetry, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Open City, The Paris Review, Parnassus, Pushcart Prize, Brooklyn Poets, Best American Poetry 2015.  A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, she is a Professor of English at Hunter College where she teaches in the MFA Creative Writing program. She is at work on a novel, The Good Enough Mother.