It’s contest time!

Illinois Wesleyan University student poets and fiction writers are invited to enter annual competitions for the Academy of American Poets University Prize and the Babbitt’s Prize for Short Fiction. The prizes, administered by the English department, are open to all currently enrolled students. In previous years, non-English majors and minors have won frequently.

Founded in 1955, the Academy of American Poets University & College Poetry Prize program has launched the careers of many promising poets, including Sylvia Plath, Tess Gallagher, Mark Strand, and Joy Harjo. The winner from each school receives $100 and a certificate, and is announced in the Academy of American Poets’ publications and news releases, with a chance for publication in a future anthology.

To enter the Academy of American Poets’ Prize, students should submit 4-6 poems, single-spaced, with the total length not to exceed 12 pages. This year’s judge is poet Jason Bredle.

The Babbitt’s Prize for Short Fiction (formerly the Clockwatch Review Prize for Short Fiction) began in 1997 as a way to promote and encourage aspiring fiction writers at IWU. The winner receives $100 from Babbitt’s Books, in downtown Normal.

To compete for the Babbitt’s Prize, students should submit up to 12 double-spaced pages of fiction—either a short story or a segment from a novel. Any style is acceptable—even genre, if it breaks the mold—but judges will be looking for literary quality, energy, innovation, interesting plots, memorable characters, dialogue that rings true, fresh language, and a sure voice. This year’s judge is writer John Keene.

All entries should be submitted to Julie Lappin, English department office coordinator, in the English department’s main office (on the first floor of the English House) by 4 p.m., Friday, March 6th. 

Above photo: Raymond Carver (from Miscelánea: Bellas Artes)

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