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Prize Competitions

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Recognizing Exceptional Writers

The Department of English is host to many gifted student writers, both from the undergraduate and the graduate programs. Thanks to the generosity of more than a few Cornell alumni, annual prizes are awarded for outstanding work in poetry, fiction and critical writing. Please visit the 2016-2017 Awardees List, to view names of previous winners.

Application Instructions

  • Applicant must be a currently registered student (with the exception of the Guilford Essay Prize, see below).
  • Submissions will be accepted in electronic form only.
  • Only one submission is required when applying for poetry prizes.
  • Manuscript lengths must adhere to the specifications described for each prize below.
  • Applicant’s name SHOULD NOT APPEAR anywhere on the manuscript (committee review is anonymous).
  • Email the following information along with your manuscript to Vicky Brevetti in the Department of English (vlb3@cornell.edu):

-Name of prize(s) to which applicant is applying
-Applicant’s full name
-Applicant’s student status (graduate or undergraduate)
-Applicant’s Cornell NetID
-Applicant’s year (example: sophmore, junior, 2nd year grad., etc.)
-Applicant’s expected graduation date
-Applicant’s college
-Applicant’s major
-Title of manuscript

Creative Writing Prizes

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 5 p.m., March 25

Corson-Browning Poetry Prize

  • Established 1902 by Cornell Professor Hiram Corson, professor of Anglo-Saxon literature and theorist of Robert Browning
  • Open to undergraduate and graduate students
  • Maximum length of entries: no more than 10 pages of poetry

Robert Chasen Memorial Poetry Prize

  • Established in 1980 by Margaret Rosenzweig ’32, in his memory
  • Open to undergraduate and graduate students
  • Maximum length of entries: no more than 10 pages of poetry

Dorothy Sugarman Poetry Prize

  • Established in 1978 by Hyman Yudewitz ’28
  • Open to undergraduate students
  • Maximum length of entries: no more than 10 pages of poetry

Arthur Lynn Andrews Award for Fiction

  • Established in 1965 by the late Harriet Cousens Andrews, in his memory
  • Open to undergraduate and graduate students
  • Awarded to the top entry from each group
  • Maximum length of entries: not to exceed 10,000 words

The George Harmon Coxe Award in Creative Writing
*Please Note: submissions for the poetry prizes and/or the Andrews Prize will also be considered for the Coxe Prize.

  • Established in 1951 by Mr. and Mrs. George H. Coxe in memory of their son who was a student at Cornell University
  • Awarded in odd years for the best entry in creative writing by a sophomore, junior, or senior. 
  • Maximum length of entries: Poetry submissions: no more than 10 pages of poetry. Fiction submissions: a story, group of stories or a selection from a larger work, not to exceed 10,000 words.

Essay Prizes

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 5 p.m., April 15
Only one submission permitted per prize competition.

The Guilford Essay Prize

  • Established in 1988 in memory of J. P. Guilford ’21
  • Given to the doctoral student in any field whose thesis is judged to display the highest excellence in English prose
  • Students are encouraged to submit their own dissertations, and faculty members are invited to draw this opportunity to their attention.
  • Dissertations submitted for degrees during the calendar year in which the prize is awarded will be accepted as entries, as well as dissertations submitted for degrees conferred during the previous calendar year.
  • The copy submitted for this prize need not conform to Graduate School filing standards, but may instead follow the normal standards for term papers.

The Moses Coit Tyler Essay Prize

  • Established in 1936 by William Austen in his honor
  • Awarded for the best essay by a graduate or undergraduate student in the field of American history, literature, or folklore
  • Maximum length of entries: none

The Barnes Shakespeare Essay Prize

  • Established in 1887 by Mrs. Alfred Smith Barnes in memory of Alfred Smith Barnes, founder of Barnes Hall
  • Awarded each year for the best essay on Shakespeare written by an undergraduate
  • Previous winners are not eligible and students may submit no more than one essay in any year
  • Maximum length of entries: not to exceed 8,000 words

The George Harmon Coxe Award in American Literature (not available in 2017)

  • Established in 1951 by Mr. and Mrs. George H. Coxe in memory of their son who was a student at Cornell University.
  • Awarded in even years for the best entry in the study of American Literature by a sophomore, junior, or senior
  • Two prizes will be awarded
  • Maximum length of entries: none