Opportunities Sponsored by the Barnard English Department

2019 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.


2019 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 is judged by a committee of of faculty, and 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 Friday, February 15, 2019.  


2019 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 Friday, February 15, 2019.


2019 Burns Society Prize

This prize, sponsored by the Burns Society of the City of New York, is choen by a committee of faculty members and will be awarded to three Barnard or Columbia students who write the best papers on topics related to the poetry of the eighteenth-century Scottish poet Robert Burns.



Applicants must submit entries electronically using the Google Form. Papers should be 5-10 pages in length. Each entry must be labeled with the student's name, email, phone number, mailing address, and expected year of graduation. Every page of the entry must be labeled with the page number and the student's name.  The deadline is 11:59pm on Friday, February 15, 2019.  


2019 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 15, 2019.  Past winners of cash awards in the poetry competitions may enter again; their entries, however, should be composed of new material.


2019 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 15, 2019.


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Judges for the 2019 Prizes

Prose Judges


Liana Finck 

Liana Finckis a cartoonist. Her work appears regularly in the New Yorker and on her Instagram feed. Her latest graphic novel, Passing for Human, was published in 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.



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.






Poetry Judges

Brionne Janae

Brionne Janae is a poet and teaching artist living in Brooklyn. She is the recipient of the 2016 St. Botoloph Emerging Artist award, a Hedgebrook and Vermont Studio Center Alumni and proud Cave Canem Fellow. Her poetry and prose have been published by the Academy of American Poets, the American Poetry Review, the Sun Magazine, the Los Angelas Review Rattle, Bitch Magazine, The Cincinnati Review, jubilat, Sixth Finch, Plume, Bayou Magazine, The Nashville Review, Waxwing, and Redivider among others. Brionne’s first collection is titled After Jubilee and was published by Boaat Press. www.brionnejanae.com


Alicia Mountain

Alicia Mountain is the author of the collection High Ground Coward (Iowa 2018), which won the Iowa Poetry Prize, and the chapbook Thin Fire (BOAAT Press 2018). She is a lesbian poet, a PhD candidate, and an assistant editor of the Denver Quarterly. Keep up with her at aliciamountain.com and @HiGroundCoward. 




Alicia Jo Rabins

Alicia Jo Rabins (BC'98, English/creative writing) is a poet, composer and performer based in Portland, Oregon. She is the author of two poetry collections, Divinity School (2015 APR/Honickman First Book Prize) and Fruit Geode (Jewish Book Award finalist), and holds a MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College and a MA in Jewish Women's and Gender Studies from JTS. She is the creator of Girls in Trouble, an indie-folk song cycle about Biblical women, and A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff, a one-woman chamber-rock opera about finance and mysticism. Find her at www.aliciajo.com.