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2014-2015 Undergraduate Writing Prizes

english department

The Boston College English Department administers the awarding of several important University Prizes each spring. Some of these prizes require students to submit writing (in various genres) in order to be considered. Other prizes go to the best creative writing published during an academic year in a campus publication. Still others require nomination by a faculty member. There is a prize for freshman writing and a prize for the best essay or piece of literary journalism on American Literature and Culture. Additionally, there are several creative writing prizes, and a prize for Outstanding Senior English Major. Each prize is judged by a three-person committee comprised of full time English Department faculty. These committee members serve anonymously.

The deadline for 2014-15 prize submissions is the last day of March, no later than 4:00 p.m. Professor Elizabeth Graver is Chair of the Prize Committees. Instructions on how to submit your prize application or nomination are below.

Note: If you are on a Mac, please open the PDF form from Firefox.

For brief descriptions of the prizes, please see below. Cover sheets and more detailed descriptions of the prizes that require submission by either students or faculty can be found by navigating to the appropriate links.

Prizes Requiring Submission

  • The Dever Fellowship – a substantial cash grant, presented annually, in honor of novelist and BC alumnus Joseph Dever, to a graduating senior who proposes to pursue a career in writing. Applicants, who must have published at least one work in a BC publication or in an external one, may nominate themselves or be nominated by a faculty member.
  • The Dever Prize for Freshman Writing – a cash award for the best essay (at least five double-spaced pages) written by a freshman for any English course. The essay should be submitted by a member of the English faculty with an application form filled out by the faculty member. Instructors may nominate up to three essays.
  • The McCarthy Prize – a cash award, open to juniors and seniors, given annually for the best collection of pieces of creative writing (fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction or pieces from several different genres). The submission may total no more than 12 pages. Prose should be double spaced; poetry may be single spaced). Both published and unpublished work may be submitted; if a work has been published or is forthcoming, please note this at the top. Fragments of longer works are acceptable, but please note them as such. Applicants may nominate themselves.
  • The Randall Award – a gift of books presented in honor of author and Professor John Randall to the undergraduate writer of the best essay in the field of American literature and culture. This may include literary journalism, as well as scholarly essays. Chapters from relevant Senior Honors Projects from AY 2014-15 are eligible; submissions should be limited to 20 double-spaced pages. Faculty may nominate up to two student essays or chapters written during AY 2014-15 or Spring semester 2014 by current undergraduates. Undergraduate students nominating themselves may submit one essay or one chapter written during Fall/Spring 2014-15 or Spring semester 2014. Either the student or a faculty member may submit the essay and cover sheet by the last day of March at 4:00 p.m.

Prizes Requiring Publication in BC Undergraduate Publications

Application not required for the following awards

  • The Cushing Award – cash award given annually to undergraduates who produce the best work in fiction published in BC undergraduate publications (Stylus, Laughing Medusa, Naked Singularlity, Witness, or other new BC publications).
  • The Kelleher Award – cash award given annually to undergraduates who produce the best work in poetry published in BC undergraduate publications (Stylus, Laughing Medusa, Naked Singularlity, Witness, or other new BC publications).

Prize by Internal Nomination

Application not necessary for the following awards

  • The Kean Award – a cash award to the graduating senior judged by the Kean Award Committee to be the outstanding English major.

If you have questions about your prize application please email Professor Elizabeth Graver, Chair of the 2014-15 Prizes and Awards Committee.


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