Awards, Contests, and Scholarships


The Department of English supports a range of 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 relable the genre. (For example, work entered as “Fiction” in one contest may not be entered elsewhere as “Nonfiction.”)

Check back soon for instructions on how to apply for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Please review the award and contest descriptions below for eligibility and additional application instructions.

Deadlines are strict. No late submissions will be considered.

Creative Writing Awards

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Work submitted should be unpublished.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.

Application Deadline: December 10


Aetna Children’s Literature Award

Prize: Winners receive $250

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate students at all UConn campuses


For Genre, 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

2020-2021
Kate Luongo, for “Sophie Spiraling”

Honorable Mentions: Tolonda Henderson, for “In Search of Myself”; Roxanne Gentry Henderson, for “Autumn Witch” & "Winter Witch"; Victoria Sun, for "a Queen Bows for One"

Aetna Creative Nonfiction Awards

Prize: Winners receive $250

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Graduate and undergraduate students at all UConn campuses

Past Recipients

2020-2021
Undergraduate: Maureen Mason, for “Under the Birch Tree”
Graduate: Michael James Hegarty, for "Song of the North”

Honorable Mentions: Rachel Bernard, for "Blue Fire"; Whitney Hanna, for "Independence Day"

Aetna Translation Award

Prize: $250. Winner’s work will also be published in the Long River Review, pending permission from the original author.

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

2020-2021
Aarushi Nohria, for “A Strange Tale”

Honorable Mention: Katarzyna Paszek, for "Writer's Block"

Edward R. and Frances Schreiber Collins Literary Fund

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


For this prize, please submit each piece of the single application individually.

Past Recipients

2020-2021
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.

Past Recipients

2020-2021
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

2020-2021
Kathryn Warrender-Hill, for "Yes, Another Pandemic Story: A Meditation on Sanity"

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

2020-2021
Rose Datum, for “The Saltmarsh"

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.

Application Deadline: February 5


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.

Critical Writing and Teaching Awards

Aetna First-Year Writing Award

Prize: Winners receive a cash prize and are recognized at the annual Aetna Celebration of Student Writing.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: First-year undergraduate students at any campus; submissions may be self-nominated or nominated by an instruct


This award is sponsored by the Aetna Chair of Writing and recognizes excellent expository writing/nonfiction composed in a First-Year Writing class at UConn.

Submissions may be nominated by an instructor or self-nominated. To submit your or student’s work, please follow the instructions below:

  • Remove student and instructor names from the paper (names of instructor and student will remain anonymous for committee review).
  • In place of the student's name, the student's PeopleSoft ID number should appear on every page of the paper.
  • The nominator will need to submit the assignment prompt from the FYW course/instructor as well as the project itself.
  • Provide your information, your submission, and the assignment prompt from the FYW course/instructor to the 2021 Aetna FYW Award Form.

Past Recipients

2019
First Prize: Emma Walton, “Defining Home in Terms of No-Man’s-Land”
Second Prize: Mariah Morneau, “History Repeats Itself”
Third Prize: Leah Sobotka, “Boon Island” (Instructor: Sophie Buckner)

2016
First Prize: Aliyah Summer Walker, “What Happens in the Weight Room Doesn’t Quite Stay in the Weight Room” (Instructor: Micah Goodrich)
Honorable Mention: Damini Chelladurai, “The Innocent Muslim in the Post-9/11 World” (Instructor: Lori Carriere)
Honorable Mention: Anna Babbin, “A Dual Grief Paradox: The Unlivable Lives of LGBTQ+Homeless Youth” (Instructor: Tom Deans)

2015
First Prize: Joshua Weist, “Corruptive Villainy: Finding the Root of Evil” (Instructor: Melissa Rohrer)

2014
First Prize: John Peters, “The Silent Treatment: Have We All Lost Our Voice?” (Instructor: Eleanor Reeds)
Second Prize: Marisol Gallo, “Freedom Writers: The ‘Invisible’ Period of Racism in America and Hollywood” (Instructor: Melissa Rohrer)
Second Prize: Dominique Martin, “Irene Adler: Making a Statement” (Instructor: Emma Burris-Janssen)

2013
First Prize: Michael Caruso, “Ain’t No Whig o’ Mine: Sir Robert Walpole, the South Sea Bubble, and a Pissed Irishman” (Instructor: Erick Piller)
First Prize: William Lanzoni, “Dockers Define Manhood” (Instructor: Kate Gross)
Second Prize: Zachary Stack, “The Unconscious Vampire” (Instructor: Denise Lovett)

2012
First Prize: Antonio Rivera, “The Silent Treatment: Have We All Lost Our Voice?” (Instructor: Samuel Robinson)
Honorable Mention: Marcey Lewin, “Curious About Curiosity: An Investigation” (Instructor: Roberta Marggraff)
Honorable Mention: Tanner Rathbone, “Fragmentation and Its Positive Effects on Mentally Ill Patients” (Instructor: Alaina Kaus)

2011
First Prize: Kaley Kruger, “Empirical Reality to Authenticity: Joyce’s Development of the Work of Art in The Dead” (Instructor: Michael Bartch)
Second Prize: Coree Charette, “The Truth” (Instructor: Maria Seger)
Third Prize: Emili Mahon, “The Redefining of ‘Separate Spheres’” (Instructor: Maria Seger)

2010
First Prize: Christian Gibney, “Profile of a Hero: Rorschach” (Instructor: Kisha Tracy)

2009
First Prize: Lisa Ruohoniemi, “History and Heritage: Telling the Story of a Nation Through a Single Soul” (Instructor: Lynn Z. Bloom)
Honorable Mention: Janine Johnson, “The Effects of Sexism and Racism in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye” (Instructor: Abbye Meyer)

2008
First Prize: Zach Dorn, “Night of the Living Post-Modernist” (Instructor: Eva Teague)
Second Prize: Stephen Corbo, “A Different Type of Panopticon: Fight Club” (Instructor: Kristi Garvin)
Third Prize: Kerri Fenton, “Nature and Ecocriticism in Fahrenheit 451” (Instructor: Patricia Taylor)
Honorable Mention: Thomas Dimauro, “On My Honor: Narrative of an Eagle Scout” (Instructor: Sean Forbes)

2007
First Prize: Lauren Silber, “Forces of Creativity Surpassed for a Greater Purpose” (Instructor: Abbye Meyer)
Second Prize: Kerry Smith, “Funding Distribution of the Endangered Species Act” (Instructor: Corey Mahoney)
Third Prize: Caitlin Cuskley, “Unearthing a Voice: Releasing the Creativity of the Women of the Past” (Instructor: Abbye Meyer)
Honorable Mention: Brian Kelly, “Guernica: Capturing the Essence of War” (Instructor: Trudi Bird)

Aetna Graduate Teaching of Writing Award

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

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 awards. The prize is typically awarded at the Aetna Celebration of Student Writing. The nominees go through a rigorous evaluation process, including an assessment of their teaching philosophies, syllabi, and assignments. The winner is selected by a committee of faculty and Aetna Advisory Board members. The award comes with a cash prize of $500; if multiple winners are selected, the committee will decide how to allocate prize money.

Application Instructions

Required

  • A short statement of intent (detailing qualifications/reasons for applying)
  • A teaching philosophy/statement
  • An annotated sample assignment (annotations should elaborate on thought process/reasoning)
  • An annotated syllabus (annotations should elaborate on thought process/reasoning)

Optional
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 all 4 Required documents, preferably as one file, to aetnachair@uconn.edu. Indicate “Aetna Graduate Teaching Award Applicant” in your email header.

Past Recipients

Previous Aetna Graduate Teaching of Writing Award recipients:

  • Gabriel Morrison (2020)
  • Carol Ann Jackson (2019)
  • Dan Graham (2018)
  • 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 and are recognized at the annual Aetna Celebration of Student Writing.

Eligibility and Additional Guidelines

Eligibility: Graduate students at all UConn campuses


This award is sponsored by the Aetna Chair of Writing and recognizes excellent critical nonfiction composed by a graduate student.

Criteria
  • Applicants may submit any unpublished critical essay written for a course or independently.
  • Dissertation chapters (or partial chapters) may be submitted. The essay may be under editorial 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.
  • Submissions should not exceed 20 pages. (10-20 pages is suggested)

Past Recipients

2020
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”

2019
First Place: Meghan Brown. Meghan Brown (English). “Enacting the Archive.”

2018
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)

2016
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)

2015
First Place: Eleanor Reeds, “The Human Dimension of ‘Telegraphic Orders’: Agency and Communication in Ruiz de Burton’s Who Would Have Thought It?”

2014
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”

2013
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”

2012
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”

2011
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”

2010
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

2009
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”

2008
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”

Aetna Writing in the Disciplines Award

Application Deadline: February 1

Prize: $250. Winner’s work will also be published in the Long River Review, pending permission from the original author.
Eligibility: Undergraduate students at all UConn campuses

The Aetna Writing in the Disciplines Awards recognize exemplary academic writing by undergraduate students across the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and professional schools. For more information and to apply for this award, please visit the Writing Center’s website.

Scholarships

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 english@uconn.edu.

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.