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Department of English

Prizes & Scholarships

The Rumowicz Maritime Essay Contest


An annual competition open to undergraduates at the University of Rhode Island

Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.
- Zora Neale Hurston


As part of the Edmund and Nathalie Rumowicz Endowed Program in Literature and the Sea, the Maritime Essay Contest encourages undergraduates from all disciplinary backgrounds to submit work that explores and expands our understanding of the subject of the sea. Entries should attempt to engage as diverse an audience as possible, yet approaches may range from creative non-fiction to scholarly research. Each submission will be assessed according to its specific rhetorical goals; generally, however, judges will consider clarity of expression, strength of position, and distinctness of style. Essays crossing traditional models of maritime study and promoting ongoing interaction between different disciplines in the sciences and the humanities are welcome.


The essay should be typed, double-spaced, and we recommend 5 to 30 pages in length, as well as include an original title and all necessary documentation of sources. Please submit four (4) copies of the essay, along with a cover letter providing the author's full name, URI student ID number, email address, phone number, and whether the essay has been previously submitted in a course or seminar. All pages should be numbered, but the name of the author should not appear in the body of the essay. Entries will not be returned.


The essay is due in the English Department Office, 114 Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Road in March each year. Campus mail address: Rumowicz Essay Contest, Department of English, University of Rhode Island, 114 Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881. Please email all inquires to Professor Martha Rojas at


The contest is open to any enrolled undergraduate at URI.


The Department of English at the University of Rhode Island reserves the rights to publication of any essay submitted in the contest.

Awards will be distributed in April of the same year.

The Edmund S. and Nathalie Rumowicz
Endowed Literature and Sea Lecture and Seminar Series

Click here to download a pdf of the 2010 flyer.