In the spring of each year, the English department posts a call to all Bowdoin students for submissions of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and critical analysis for its competitive writing prizes.

English Department Writing Prizes

Submissions for writing prizes are reviewed by faculty judges. The department awards the winners during the college's Honors Day program in May, and prize winners’ names are also printed in the commencement program. 

A competition for the Brown Prize for Extemporaneous Composition is held in the spring, and it's open to all seniors.

Fiction Prizes:

  • Hawthorne Prize: for best short story written by a sophomore, junior, or senior
  • Sinkinson Prize: for best short story written by a junior or senior

Non-fiction Prize:

For best work of creative nonfiction, open to all classes.

Composition Prizes:

  • David Sewall Premium: to a member of the first-year class, for excellence in English composition
  • Pray Prize: to a senior for excellence in English literature scholarship and original English composition

Poetry Prizes:

For best work of poetry, open to all classes

  • The Academy of American Poets Colette Inez Poetry Prize
  • Forbes Rickard Poetry Prize
  • Nathalie Walker Llewellyn Poetry Prize
  • Poetry Prize
Creative Writing
March 25, 2021
Submissions are due Thursday, March 25th, 2021 at 4:00 pm. Email a copy of your manuscript and submission form to
Past Winners
Brown Prize
The 2020-2021 competition for the Brown Prize for Extemporaneous Composition is tentatively scheduled for Friday, March 26th, 2021 at 4:30 PM, location TBD. 

Instructions for Submission

  1. Click here for a submission form and manuscript requirements.
  2. Complete and attach your submission form to the front of your work. Do not put your name or class year on your work.
  3. Email your submission to the English department coordinator at