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

Deadline for Submissions

March 28, 2019
Submissions are due Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 4:00 pm. Deliver a hard copy of your manuscript and submission form to room 102, Massachusetts Hall. (Electronic submissions will not be accepted).
Past Winners

Brown Prize for Extemporaneous Composition

March 29, 2019
The 2018-2019 competition for the Brown Prize for Extemporaneous Composition will be held on Friday, March 29, 2019 at 4:30 pm in Massachusetts Hall. (Bowdoin seniors only). Write for an hour to a prompt given "on the spot."

Instructions for Submission

  1. Click here for a submission form and manuscript requirements (this form can also be picked up at the door of room 102, Massachusetts Hall). 
  2. Complete and attach your submission form to the front of a printed copy of your work. Do not put your name or class year on your work.
  3. Drop off your submission(s) at the door of room 102, Massachusetts Hall. 

Questions? Contact the English department coordinator at