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Department of English

Prizes & Scholarships

Writing Contests:

The Nancy Potter Short Story Contest

The Nancy Potter Poets 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

Cover Page

  • Title of contest you are entering
  • Undergraduate or graduate status
  • Story title, essay titles, 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 four copies with one title page to Michelle Caraccia, URI English Department, 114 Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02281 by Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 3:00 pm.   

By Creative Non-Fiction, also called Literary Non-Fiction, we mean literary journalism, literary memoir, autocriticism, or multi-genre autobiography. If you are unsure whether your non-fiction falls under this rubric, consult the literary journals Creative Non-Fiction and Fourth Genre.

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.

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 (the Aran Islands poetry and Fiction Contest is not being held this year). Also, only one entry may be submitted per contest.

Click here to download a pdf file of the contest instructions.

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