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Department of English

Prizes & Scholarships

Writing Contests:

The Nancy Potter Short Story Contest
The Nancy Potter Poetry Contest
The Creative Non-Fiction Contest
The Critical Essay Contest


  • Up to 5 pages of poetry, 3-12 pages of fiction or creative non-fiction, or a 5-20 page critical essay
  • Double-spaced, standard margins, standard typeface (poems may be single spaced)
  • Name on cover page only (for anonymous judging)
  • Story title, creative non-fiction title, or critical essay title on cover page and first page
  • Poem titles should also be listed individually on the cover page
  • Submissions should be in PDF format

Title Page

  • Title of contest you are entering
  • Undergraduate or graduate status
  • Story title, essay title, or poem titles
  • Title or number of the course for which submission was written
    or state submission not written for a course
  • Student name
  • Home address & campus address (if applicable)
  • Phone number(s), e-mail address


Submit one PDF file with title page followed by story, essay, or poems to deadline for contest submissions is March 19, 2015 at 3:00pm.

By Creative Nonfiction, also called Literary Nonfiction, we mean literary memoir; literary journalism; essay; autocriticism; or, multi-genre nonfiction. If you are unsure whether your non-fiction falls under this rubric, consult, for example, the literary journals Fourth Genre; Creative Nonfiction; and Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction (

Undergraduate and Graduate Students at the University of Rhode Island are encouraged to enter any or all four of these contests sponsored by the Department of English.

Awards will be distributed at a reading/celebration in the Swan Auditorium on Friday, April 24th at 3:00 p.m.

Please Note:

The same piece may not be submitted to more than one of these contests or to any other contest at the University of Rhode Island, including the Rumowicz Maritime Essay Contest.

For more information on previous winning essays and previous winners of the prize, please visit the Contest ARCHIVE.

A printable PDF version of the 2015 Writing Contest Announcement is also available.