Creative Writing Undergraduate Prizes

Peruse our list of prizes. To read about each prize and its submission guidelines, click on the downward arrow to expand each section.

We are no longer accepting entries for the 2021-22 Undergraduate Prizes. 2022-23 submission deadlines coming soon.

Bocock/Guerard Fiction Prize
If you wish to submit to the Bocock/Guerard Prize AND the Mary Steinbeck Dekker Award, please do not use the same work for both.

$1,000 prize for First Place

$500 prize for Second Place

$250 prize for Third Place

 

The Creative Writing Program announces the annual competition for the Maclin Bocock/Albert Guerard Fiction Prize for fiction of high literary merit. The prize will be awarded to the best works of fiction, experimental or traditional.

Guidelines: Entries may be a single short story or section of a longer work, not to exceed 8,000 words. The author’s name should not appear anywhere on the manuscript itself to remain anonymous to the judges. Include the title of your submission on each page of your manuscript. Use Times New Roman in Size 12, save in PDF file format, and include page numbers on entries over 1-page. Entries not following these guidelines will be disqualified.

Creative Nonfiction Prize

$1,000 prize for First Place

$500 prize for Second Place

$250 prize for Third Place

 

The Creative Writing Program announces the annual competition for the Creative Nonfiction Prize. The prize will be awarded to the best work of creative nonfiction.

Guidelines: Entries should not exceed 8,000 words. The author’s name should not appear anywhere on the manuscript itself to remain anonymous to the judges. Include the title of your submission on each page of your manuscript. Use Times New Roman in Size 12, save in PDF file format, and include page numbers on entries over 1-page. Entries not following these guidelines will be disqualified.

Mary Steinbeck Dekker Award in Fiction
If you wish to submit to the Mary Steinbeck Dekker Award AND the Bocock/Guerard Prize, please do not use the same work for both.

$2,000 prize

 

The Creative Writing Program announces the annual competition for the Mary Steinbeck Dekker Award in Fiction for a short story submitted by a Stanford undergraduate in their senior year. The prize will be awarded to the best work of fiction, experimental or traditional.

Guidelines: Entries may be a single short story or section of a longer work, not to exceed 8,000 words. The author’s name should not appear anywhere on the manuscript itself to remain anonymous to the judges. Include the title of your submission on each page of your manuscript. Use Times New Roman in Size 12, save in PDF file format, and include page numbers on entries over 1-page. Entries not following these guidelines will be disqualified.

Planet Earth Arts Creative Writing Prize

$1,000 prize for First Place

$500 prize for Second Place

$250 prize for Third Place

 

The Creative Writing Program announces the annual competition for the
 Planet Earth Arts Creative Writing Prize for works of fiction, nonfiction, 
and poetry that explore environmental themes. The mission of Planet Earth Arts is to harness the universal language and transformational power of the arts and human creativity--inspiring individuals to claim planetary sustainability as the most urgent issue of our time. Planet Earth Arts believes that the unique voice of the novelist, the poet, the writer is essential to the conversation and that Stanford students can utilize the art and craft of writing in service of the continuity of life on earth.

Guidelines: Entries may be a single poem, a single short story or nonfiction piece, or a section of a longer work, not to exceed 5,000 words. The author’s name should not appear anywhere on the manuscript itself to remain anonymous to the judges. Include the title of your submission on each page of your manuscript. Use Times New Roman in Size 12, save in PDF file format, and include page numbers on entries over 1-page. Entries not following these guidelines will be disqualified.

Urmy/Hardy Poetry Prize
If you wish to submit to the Urmy/Hardy Prize AND the Wiley Birkhofer Award, please do not use the same work for both.

$1,000 prize for First Place

$500 prize for Second Place

$250 prize for Third Place

 

The Creative Writing Program announces the annual competition for 
the Urmy/Hardy Poetry Prize for poetry of high literary merit, traditional or experimental. 

Guidelines: Submit a maximum of one single poem, no more than 3 pages typed. The author’s name should not appear anywhere on the manuscript itself to remain anonymous to the judges. Include the title of your submission on each page of your manuscript. Use Times New Roman in Size 12, save in PDF file format, and include page numbers on entries over 1-page. Entries not following these guidelines will be disqualified.

Wiley Birkhofer Award in Poetry
If you wish to submit to the Wiley Birkhofer Award AND the Urmy/Hardy Prize, please do not use the same work for both.

$1,000 prize

 

The Creative Writing Program announces the annual competition for the Wiley Birkhofer Award in Poetry. Wiley Birkhofer was a student in our program with a Creative Writing emphasis in poetry, graduating from Stanford in 2009. A gifted and eloquent poet, Wiley earned his MFA from NYU in 2014. His early death in 2014 prevented him from exploring these gifts further. This prize honors his memory and his creative example.

Guidelines: Entries must be one single poem. The author’s name should not appear anywhere on the manuscript itself to remain anonymous to the judges. Include the title of your submission on each page of your manuscript. Use Times New Roman in Size 12, save in PDF file format, and include page numbers on entries over 1-page. Entries not following these guidelines will be disqualified.

Ina Coolbrith Memorial Poetry Prize
ATTENTION: The Ina Coolbrith Prize will not be offered for 2021-22

Approximately $1,000 prize divided between first, second, and third place winners

 

The Creative Writing Program announces the annual competition for the Ina Coolbrith Memorial Poetry Prize, awarded for the best unpublished poem or group of poems by an undergraduate student at Stanford University, the University of California campuses, University of the Pacific, Mills College, Santa Clara University, or St. Mary's College. Approximately $1,000 is divided each year between first, second, and third place winners.

Guidelines: Submit up to 3 poems on any subject. Poems on California are encouraged, but not required. Do not write your name on the poems, as judges will be reading your work anonymously. Stanford winners will be selected mid-January, while state-wide winners will be announced in March. 

For questions about the Ina Coolbrith Prize, please contact Keith Ekiss.

All entries must be received by Friday, April 22nd, 12:00 pm (noon) PST

Students are granted one submission per prize and may not use the same manuscript for multiple prizes. Submissions will be judged by a panel appointed by the Creative Writing Program.

Only active Stanford undergraduate students are eligible for the prizes. If an undergraduate student's degree has been conferred or they're on leave from Stanford, then they are not eligible. Graduate students are not eligible.

Prize winners will be announced by Friday, May 20th, 5:00pm PST and will be invited to take part in the Undergraduate Prize Reading on Thursday, May 26th, 4:00pm PST. The reading will be in the Terrace Room (Rm. 426, Margaret Jacks Hall).