Awards, Contests, and Scholarships

The Department of English supports annual awards and writing contests that recognize students for outstanding creative achievements. It also offers scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students each year.

Awards and Contests

The Creative Writing Program and the Aetna Chair of Writing in the Department of English sponsor the following awards and contests each year. Most of these opportunities are open to students at the undergraduate and graduate level on all UConn campuses. Applicants may submit the same work to different contests but they cannot relabel the genre. (For example, work entered as “Fiction” in one contest may not be entered elsewhere as “Nonfiction.”)

Please review the award and contest descriptions below for instructions on how to apply for the 2023-2024 academic year. Deadlines are strict. No late submissions will be considered.

Creative Writing Awards

How to Apply

Please download this Cover Sheet. Follow all submission guidelines for the Creative Writing Awards. In addition, please review eligibility and additional guidelines for each award. Submit all packets as Microsoft Word documents to

Application Deadline: November 1

Associated Writing Programs Intro Journals Project

Prize: Winners receive a $50 cash honorarium and are published in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Mid-American Review, Puerto del Sol, Controlled Burn, Quarterly West, Tampa Review, Willow Springs, or Artful Dodge.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate students at all UConn campuses

This is a national literary competition for the discovery and publication of the best new works by students currently enrolled in the programs of the Associated Writing Programs (AWP). As a member program, the University of Connecticut is eligible to nominate one work of nonfiction, one work of short fiction, and three poems.

Work submitted should be unpublished. Students may submit up to one essay, one work of fiction, and three poems. Prose should be double-spaced, poetry single-spaced. Excerpts from novels are acceptable. No submission should exceed twenty-five pages.




Application Deadline: December 15

Wallace Stevens Poetry Prize

Prize: $1,000 (first); $500 (second); $250 (third); Prize winners read from their work at the annual program, and winning poems will be published in the Long River Review.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate students at all UConn campuses; no previous first place winners may apply for a second year.

Each year since 1964, a prominent poet has been invited to give a reading at the University of Connecticut as part of the Wallace Stevens Poetry Program. A student poetry contest is held in conjunction with that program.

Students must submit 5-8 pages of poems (cleanly typed, only one poem per page). This can be up to eight short poems, or several longer pieces.

Aetna Prize for Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults

Prize: $250

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate students at all UConn campuses

Please indicate whether you are submitting a manuscript for a picture book, a sample of children’s poetry or drama, or an excerpt from a middle-grade chapter book or a young adult novel. Limit of 3,000 words.

Past Recipients

Rylee Thomas for “Ghostly Dynasty”

Kate Luongo, for “Sophie Spiraling”

Kelly Rafferty

Madeline Eller, “Origami Girl” 

Aetna Creative Nonfiction Award

Prize: $250

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate students at all UConn campuses

Submit one unpublished creative nonfiction work of up to 6,000 words.

Past Recipients

Nicole Catarino for “Glove Compartment Secrets”
Honorable Mention: Kazi Begum

Undergraduate: Maureen Mason, for “Under the Birch Tree”
Graduate: Michael James Hegarty, for "Song of the North”
Honorable Mention: Rachel Bernard, for "Blue Fire";
Honorable Mention: Whitney Hanna, for "Independence Day"

Undergraduate: Aner Bajraktarevic
Graduate: Quinn Molloy

Undergraduate Co-Winners: Andrew Kucharski, “Breathe/Oddychać”; and Natiel Cooper, “Transcript of an N-Bomb Survivor.”
Graduate: Sophia Buckner, “The Mother Teacher.”
Honorable Mention: Jeanne Bonner, “Long Day’s Journey into My Life”
Honorable Mention: Maurice Rodriguez, “Son of Hope”

Aetna Translation Award

Prize: $250. Winner’s work will be published in the Long River Review.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Undergraduate and graduate students at all UConn campuses.

Students may submit one poem or an excerpt from a longer prose piece (maximum 1,500 words) translated into English, along with the original language version.

Past Recipients

Aarushi Nohria for “A bird on my palm”

Aarushi Nohria, for “A Strange Tale”
Honorable Mention: Katarzyna Paszek, for "Writer's Block"

Ain Jeong

Xin Xu, “Night Opera in Jinshan” 

Edward R. and Frances Schreiber Collins Literary Awards

Prize: Cash prize amount varies annually. Winning works will be published in the Long River Review.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Undergraduate students at all UConn campuses

Awarded in memory of Edward R. and Frances Schreiber Collins for the best undergraduate literary works in poetry and prose. For prose submissions: please submit one short story or essay or creative nonfiction essay of up to 6,000 words. For poetry submissions: please submit up to three poems per submission. Students can submit multiple times under separate submissions. 

Past Recipients

Prose: Tess Healy, for “Free Man”
Poetry: Alexandra Houdeshell, for “A Recipe”

Jennie Hackman Memorial Prize

Prize: $1,000 (first); $300 (second); $200 (third); winning stories will be published in the Long River Review.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Undergraduate students at all UConn campuses

This prize is awarded in memory of Jacob and Jennie Hackman for the best works of undergraduate short fiction. Up to three cash prizes are awarded each year.

The submission should consist of a Word document up to 6,000 words.

Past Recipients

First place: Allison Determan, for “Manhunt”
Second Place: Ellen Fuller, for “Touching Empathy”
Third Place: Tess Healy, for “Free Man”
Honorable Mention: Matt Wes Nilsen, for “Life Insurance”

Long River Review Graduate Writing Award

Prize: $250. The winning work will be published in the Long River Review.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Graduate students at all UConn campuses

Entrants may submit prose pieces of up to 2,500 words, or 1-3 poems for poetry.

Past Recipients

Kathryn Warrender-Hill, for "Yes, Another Pandemic Story: A Meditation on Sanity"

Maurice Rodriguez

Sophia Buckner, “A Third Place” (Collection of Poems) 

Edwin Way Teale Awards for Nature Writing

Prize: $100

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate students at all UConn campuses

The Edwin Way Teale Awards are intended to reward essayists who explore the relationships of human beings to the natural world. One undergraduate winner and one graduate winner will be chosen. Applicants should submit one unpublished creative nonfiction work.

Past Recipients

Rose Datum, for “The Saltmarsh"

Gloriana Gill Awards For Drawing and Cartooning, and for Photography

Prize: Varies annually.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Two awards are given in memory of artist Gloriana Gill for 1) the best work of drawing or cartooning, and 2) the best work of photography (with preference given to black-and-white) appearing in the Long River Review. Entrants may submit multiple pieces to each prize.

Long River Review Art Award

Prize: $250. The winning work will be published in the Long River Review.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate students at all UConn campuses

This cash prize is awarded for the best piece of artwork to appear in the Long River Review. Entrants may submit multiple pieces.

Application Deadline: February 5

Aetna First-Year Writing Award

Prize: Winners are awarded cash prizes (up to $100) and a certificate of excellence. These awards are announced at the Aetna Chair of Writing website and in the English News digest and First-Year Writing Program digest. They are publicly acknowledged and invited to read briefly from their work at an awards ceremony held during UConn’s annual Conference on the Teaching of Writing.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: First-year undergraduate students at any UConn campus, and Early College Experience-English program students.

Did your first-year writing students compose exceptional work in their first-year writing course between January 1st 2023 and March 1st 2024? Encourage them to submit their work for the annual Aetna First-Year Writing Award! This award is sponsored by the Aetna Chair of Writing and recognizes excellent expository writing/nonfiction piece composed in a First-Year Writing class at UConn (multimodal projects such as podcast or video essays are also accepted).

Application Guidelines
  • You can submit your project here. (Previous award winners may not resubmit.)


Past Recipients

Previous essay award recipients:

  • 2021—First Place: Andrew Hicks; Second Place: Meg Shah; Third Place: Zara Wlliamson
  • 2020—First Place: Palakjot Bedi; Second Place: Owen Spangler
  • 2019—First Place: Emma Walton; Second Place: Mariah Morneau; Third Place: Leah Sobotka
  • 2018—Meagan Sundstrom

Critical Writing and Teaching Awards

Application Deadline: This award is open for applicants year-round.

Aetna Graduate Writing Support Award

Prize: Maximum $500 for per year, per recipient.
Submit award materials to:

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: All graduate students at all UConn campuses.

The Aetna Chair of Writing invites applications for $500 (maximum) awards for research or professional travel aimed at the process and practice of writing in various settings creative, literary, professional, interdisciplinary, etc. Successful applications might, for example, focus on:

  • The teaching of writing in higher education
  • An author, literary figure, or academic figure use of writing to make or engage change in the world
  • Research on writing topics, such as:
    • Writing and Cognition
    • Writing and Culture
    • Writing Pedagogy Innovation
  • Attending or developing a writing-related workshop (e.g., a writing workshop at a conference, retreat, or symposium)

Ideas need not be specifically from this list.  Additional writing-focused topics and angles are welcome. Please explain in your application the relationship of your work to writing.

The largest total award granted (per year, per applicant) will be $500.

Application Guidelines

  • Address application to:  the Aetna Chair of Writing Advisory Board
  • Send to:  the Aetna Chair of Writing: Professor Brenda Brueggemann (
  • Submit your application AT LEAST 4 WEEKS IN ADVANCE of your planned research or conference travel.  8 weeks is even better.  12 weeks is optimal!
  • Include the following in your application:
    • A narrative of approximately 200-500 words that:
      • Indicates the research/travel project's contribution to the study or teaching of writing
      • Describes the proposed use of the funds
    • A brief budget explanation that documents, in as much detail as possible, how the funds will be spent
    • The applicant's current academic CV

The award is open for applications year-round. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and awards will be dispensed until funds are expended. Award applications are ideally considered when submitted at least 4 weeks in advance of the event/opportunity.

Following the Award

  1. A brief summary statement regarding the use and impact of the award is requested from the awarded applicant (typically within six months of receiving the award). This statement will be used in the Aetna Chair’s annual report to the Provost and Dean’s Offices, the UConn Foundation, and the UConn Board of Trustees.
  2. Applicants receiving awards are encouraged to consider presenting their outcomes from the award in a more public venue.

Application Deadline: Sunday, March 24, 2024 @ 11:59 p.m.

Aetna Graduate Teaching of Writing Award

Prize: Maximum $500 for one recipient; smaller amounts may be given to multiple recipients.
Submit award materials to:

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Open to any currently-enrolled graduate student teaching a writing course in any department or program at UConn.

This award is sponsored by the Aetna Chair of Writing and recognizes the dedication and innovation of graduate students who teach writing at the University of Connecticut.

This award is open to any currently enrolled graduate student teaching a writing course (as instructor of record), regardless of departmental or programmatic affiliation.

The Aetna Graduate Teaching Award is usually given to one Storrs graduate teaching assistant each year. Honorable Mentions can also be awarded.

The nominees go through an engaged evaluation process, including an assessment of several different teaching-related documents. The winner is selected by a committee of faculty and Aetna Advisory Board members. The maximum award comes with a cash prize of $500. If multiple winners are selected, the committee will decide how to allocate prize money.

Application Instructions
  • Submit your application here.


Two (2) of the four (4) suggested documents should be submitted:

  1. A teaching philosophy/statement
  2. An annotated sample assignment (annotations should elaborate on thought process/reasoning in creating that assignment and perhaps also how students responded to it)
  3. An annotated syllabus (annotations should elaborate on thought process/reasoning)
  4. An annotated response to a piece of student writing (annotations should elaborate on thought process/reasoning). All student identification must be removed. An annotated document that includes the student information in any way can not be accepted for the submission.

One recommendation or evaluation element from somebody familiar with your teaching. This could be a letter of recommendation from a professor, advisor, student, or even SET results.

Please send at least two of the four suggested documents, preferably as one file, to Indicate “Aetna Graduate Teaching Award Applicant” in your email header.

Past Recipients

Previous Aetna Graduate Teaching of Writing Award recipients:

  • Hannah Taylor (2023)
  • Julia Brush (2021)
  • Gabriel Morrison (2020)
  • Carol Ann Jackson (2019)
  • Dan Graham (2018) - honorable mention Alex Gatten
  • Meghan Burns (2017)
  • Emma Burris-Janssen (2016)
  • Emily Tucker (2015)
  • George Moore (2014)
  • Christina Henderson (2013)
  • Abbye Meyer (2012)
  • Amanda Smith (2011)
  • Rebecca Nisetich (2010)
  • Mary Elizabeth Lough (2009)
  • Sarah Rasher (2008)
  • Jon Kotchian (2007)
  • Katie Peel (2006)
  • Aaron Bremyer, Ken Cormier, Anita Duneer, and Andy Pfrenger (2005)
  • Peter Sinclair (2004)
  • Joshua Masters (2002)
  • Nancy Knowles (1999)

Previous Aetna Commendation for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing recipients:

  • Amy Fehr (2020)
  • Manuel Ramirez (2020)

Aetna Graduate Writing Award

Prize: Winners receive a cash prize (up to $500) and are recognized at the annual Aetna Celebration of Student Writing and recorded in the annual Aetna Chair Report to the UConn Board of Trustees and UConn Foundation.
Submit award materials to:

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: All graduate students at all UConn campuses

This award is sponsored by the Aetna Chair of Writing and recognizes excellence in writing for critical research and nonfiction composed by a graduate student.

  • Submit your application here.
  • Applicants may submit any unpublished critical essay written for a course or independently.
  • Please include the course, instructor, and semester for which the paper (in first draft) was written; or indicate that the submission was completed outside of coursework.
  • Name of the author/person submitting should be anonymized from the actual document (including the document properties)
  • Dissertation chapters (or partial chapters) may be submitted.
  • The essay may be under editorial/publication review, but if accepted for publication elsewhere, it must be withdrawn from this contest.
  • Only one essay per student may be submitted per year/awards cycle.
  • Submission must have been written during a specific time frame for the annual award. Currently: spring 2021, summer 2021, fall 2022.
  • Submissions should not exceed 20 pages (10-20 pages is suggested).
  • A brief ABSTRACT (100-250 words) should also be submitted and included at the start of the document.

Past Recipients

Winner: Julia Brush
“Un-Documenting: Jan-Henry Gray’s Documents and Memorializing the Present”
Honorable Mention: Kerry Carnahan
"Black am I and beautiful!": Translation of Song 1:5-6 with Commentary

Winner: Samadrita Kuiti
“Decolonizing the Feminist Utopia: Interfaith Sisterhood and Anticolonial Feminist Resistance in Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain’s Sultana’s Dream and Padmarag
Honorable Mention: Anna Ziering
"'A Hand on Clare’s Bare Arm': Mobile Disorientations of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Nella Larsen’s Passing"

1st Place: Julia Brush, Department of English. “Poeisis Ex Machina: Cyborg Poetics and Digital Humanities”
2nd Place: Danielle Dumaine, Department of History. “The Apartment Workshop: Diane di Prima in New York City, 1953-1966”
Honorable Mention: Nathan Braccio, Department of History, “The Rise of Surveyors and the Decline of Algonquin Guidance: The Creation of a New, English, Spatial Epistemology in America, 1635-1660”
Honorable Mention: Olivia Marcus, Department of Anthropology “A sense of scents: perfumes and healing in Peruvian mestizo shamanism”

First Place: Meghan Brown. Meghan Brown (English). “Enacting the Archive.”

First Place: Anna Ziering, “The Novella as Virus: Masochistic Temporality and Utopian Possibility in Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs” (Instructors: Margaret Breen and Victoria Ford Smith)
Honorable Mention: Amanda M. Greenwell, “Aesthetic Resistance: Racist Visual Tropes and the Oppositional Gaze in Joel Christian Gill’s Tales of the Talented Tenth” (Instructor: Katharine Capshaw)

First Place: Daniel Graham, “More Wonderful Than ‘Table-Turning’ Ever Was: Spiritualism, Counterfeit, and the Commodity Fetish after the American Civil War” (Instructor: Chris Vials)
Honorable Mention: Kerry Carnahan, “‘Which one I dey?’: Ordinariness, Lack, and the Language of Testimony in Saro-Wiwa’s Sozaboy” (Instructor: Eleni Coundouriotis)

First Place: Eleanor Reeds, “The Human Dimension of ‘Telegraphic Orders’: Agency and Communication in Ruiz de Burton’s Who Would Have Thought It?”

First Place: Rachel Nolan, “‘tween alepha and beta I’: Crossing Lines of Difference with M. NourbeSe Philip’s Zong!”
Second Place: Maria Seger, “The Ethics of Child Murder: Maternal Filicide and American Exceptionalism in Women’s Progressive Era Short Fiction”
Third Place (tie): Joseph Darda, “Antiwar Absolution in Joseph Hiller’s Vietnam”
Third Place (tie): Alexander Gatten, “Beyond the Ghost: Katherine Philips and the Queerness of Close Reading”
Honorable Mention: Emma Burris-Janssen, “Violating Viola: Re-Membering Female Agency in Mona Carid’s ‘Marriage’ and The Wing of Azrael”

First Place (tie): Joseph Darda, “Airport Memory: Recalling Vietnam from the Terminal in Andrew Pham’s Travel Writing”
First Place (tie): Jorge Santos, “Movement through the Borderlands: Graphic Revisions in Pablo’s Inferno”
Third Place: Chad Jewett, “The Stuff Bores Me: Resistant Consumption and ‘The Culture Industry’ in J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye”
Honorable Mention: Alaina Kaus, “Liberalities of Feeling: Free Market Subjectivities in Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin”

First Place: Maria Seger, “Ekphrasis and the Postmodern Slave Narrative: Reading the Maps of Edward P. Jones’s The Known World”
Second Place: Emily Dolan, “Louisa May Alcott’s Behind a Mask and the Unrepentant Fallen Woman”
Third Place: Mary Isbell, “Not Simply Objects of Ridicule: Amateur Theatricals in Mansfield Park, Villette, and Daniel Deronda”

First Place: Jeremy DeAngelo, “Walls of Troy, Walls of Asgaro: A Connection Between Snorri Sturluson’s Gylfaginning and Ovid’s Metamorphoses”
Second Place: Leah Schwebel, “Redressing Griselda: Restoration Through Translation in Clerk’s Tale”
Third Place: Pamela Swanigan, “Music as Facing-Page Translation in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo+Juliet”
Honorable Mention: Christiana Salah, “The Actress and the Governess: Sensation Fiction’s Spectrum of Female Identity”
Honorable Mention: Joanna Huckins, “Eald is bes eorosele: The Ancestral Landscape of The Wife’s Lament”
Honorable Mention: Laila Khan, “Shell-shock and the Sublime: Re-writing Trauma Narrative in Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway”
Honorable Mention: Amber West, “Making a Troublemaker: Charlotte Charke’s Proto-Feminist Puppetry”

First Place: Pamela Longo
Second Place (tie): Brandon Hawk
Second Place (tie): Tara Harney
Fourth Place: Jeremy DeAngelo
Honorable Mention: Amanda Smith
Honorable Mention: Christina Henderson

First Place: Lindy Brady, “Echoes of a Celtic Fenland Frontier in the Old English Andreas”
Second Place: Patricia Taylor, “Criminal Appropriations of Shakespeare in Jasper Fforde’s Something Rotten”
Third Place: Mandy Suhr-Sytsma, “In the Light of Reverence: American Legal Rights and Indigenous Responsibility”
Honorable Mention: Tara Harney, “Meditations on the Tyranny of the ‘Too Easy’ Fall”

First Place: Kisha Tracy, “Chaucerian Romance and the Temporality of Confession”
Second Place: Emily Wojcik, “A True Picture of Real Life: Tabitha Teeney’s Female Quixotism and the Emergent Realist Novel”
Third Place: Emily Dolan, “Portland, Maine: A Literary City”


The Department of English offers the following scholarships and fellowships each year to students. Please review the descriptions for eligibility requirements. For questions about English scholarships, please contact

Students can also apply for scholarships and awards from:

Undergraduate Support

Kathleen Gibson McPeek Scholarship in English

The McPeek Scholarship is open to undergraduate students majoring in English. Students are nominated by their instructor. Recipients are chosen by a scholarship committee within the Department.

Steblea Family Scholarship

The Steblea Family Scholarship provides support for an undergraduate English major in the top 20% of their class (based on GPA) with demonstrated financial need (based on FAFSA application). Sophomores and juniors with financial need receive an invitation to submit an essay. Scholarships are renewable if students continue to meet the criteria in subsequent academic years.

Susanne Brennan Perella Memorial Scholarship

The Perella Memorial Scholarship supports a junior English major or minor in the top 20% of their class (based on GPA) with demonstrated financial need (based on FAFSA application). Sophomores with financial need receive an invitation to submit an essay. Scholarships are renewable if students continue to meet the criteria in subsequent academic years.