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 also won.
The winner of each prize receives $100 and notoriety. The Academy of American Poets Prize has a long history of helping to launch the careers of poets, among them Sylvia Plath, Tess Gallagher, Mark Strand, and Joy Harjo. And The Babbitt’s Prize for Short Fiction is sponsored by Babbitt’s Books in uptown Normal as a way to provide fiction writers with their own opportunity for fame . . . and a hundred bucks.
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. To compete for the Babbitt’s Prize, students should submit up to 18 double-spaced pages of fiction—either a single short story or a segment from a novel that can stand alone. Judges will be looking for literary quality, energy, innovation, interesting plots, memorable characters, dialogue that rings true, fresh language, and a sure voice. Students may submit only one entry to each competition.
Members of the IWU English department faculty will serve as preliminary judges, with the final decisions rendered by an accomplished, published writer not connected to IWU. All entries should be submitted by 4 p.m. Friday, March 12 to Julie Lappin, English department office coordinator.