Department Writing Contests

Third Annual Creative Writing Prize

The University of St. Thomas English Department is pleased to announce the third annual Creative Writing Prize to honor Lon Otto, Professor Emeritus of English, and his deep and robust legacy in creative writing and to celebrate the best writing by UST students in fiction, poetry, and/or creative nonfiction. Work of any length is welcome, and $500 in prizes will be awarded to the best work(s) as evaluated by the editors of the Summit Avenue Review and the creative writing faculty. The winner(s) of the prize will be featured in the 2018 issue of Summit Avenue Review and celebrated at the magazine's release reading in early May.

To be considered for the prize, students should submit work to Work submitted for this year's Summit Avenue Review will be considered for the prize, and all work submitted for the prize will also be considered for publication in the magazine. The deadline for consideration is February 15, 2019.

Hawthorne Grad

English Major Student Essay Contest

Any undergraduate student who has 48 or more total credits and has officially declared a major in English, a major in English with Writing Emphasis, a major in English with a Teacher Education Emphasis (5-12), or a major in Literary Studies may enter this contest by submitting an essay written for any ENGL 211 or above English course during the 2017-2018 academic year. A first place prize of $150 and one second place prize of $100 will be awarded.

The department reserves the right to award no prizes should a minimum number of entries not be received by the contest deadline.


  • The submission must analyze a text (literature, poetry, or drama) or a topic related to literary studies (such as film pedagogy, writing theory) from one or more critical perspectives
  • The essay will be judged on the thesis, the use of evidence to support that thesis, the strength of conclusions, academic merit, literary merit, and creativity of thought
  • Submitted essay must be fifteen pages or less (this page count does not include the works cited page)
  • No more than one submission per student

Format for Submissions

Essay should be typed, double-spaced. Please paperclip the formal essay pages together—do not staple. Since it will be judged blindly by a panel of English faculty, do not include your name on the essay itself, just a title. With your essay, submit a cover sheet that includes your name, the essay title, the class for which the essay was written, the instructor’s name, and your UST email address. You have the option of discussing your essay submission with your instructor for revisions and suitability. Please note that your submitted essay will not be returned.


Essay must be received by the English Department administrative office (JRC 333) by 3 p.m. on Friday, April 12, 2019.