DEADLINE: MARCH 31st, 2019 (end of day).

  • Late entries will not be accepted.
  • If your submission is received on 12:01am on April 1st, it is not eligible.
  • Please make appropriate plans to submit your work on time.
  • All submissions will receive a confirmation of receipt.


  • This contest is open to all undergraduate students enrolled at Ithaca College.
  • No past winner of a first prize in any contest category is eligible to enter that contest category again.
  • 24 April 2019 Notice: There was a stipulation in our 2019 contest guidelines that dictated only one prize could be awarded per person, per year. This was a new addition to the guidelines, added on a trial basis in 2019 to address issues pertaining to equity—making space so that more students could be recognized. In practice, this guideline proved to be logistically impossible. Since all prizes are judged without identifying information, the responsibility of identifying dual winners falls on the contest coordinator. This qualification can only be enforced once a submission has been deemed a winner; thus, enforcing this guideline would require, first, stripping a winner of their designation. I determined that this practice, ultimately, undermines the integrity of the contest, of the judges' decisions, and the work.


  • Each category has its own individual guidelines, listed below.
  • In the subject line, include: THE CATEGORY__FIRST AND LAST NAME.
    • Here’s an example: SHORT STORY__RAUL PALMA
  • In the body of the email, include a brief cover letter, along with your contact information.
    • In your cover letter, you may briefly describe your project, including any technical elements that need to be clearly elaborated on.
    • If you were a winner or finalist in a previous category, you must disclose that information in the cover letter. Failure to do so can result in disqualification.
  • Attached: a PDF with your submission. The attachment must be stripped of identifying information, even in the file name. Your name should not appear on the submission.
  • If you are going to submit to multiple categories, send a separate email for each.
  • You may not submit more than one entry per category.


First-Year Essay: for a submission to qualify, it should be a research-based essay produced by a first-year student in a writing intensive course. Send one unpublished selection.

Poetry: send a selection of 3 unpublished poems in a single document.

Hybrid: for a submission to qualify, it should cross genres or alter a genre. Examples include, but are not limited to: flash fiction, flash non-fiction, prose poetry, image/text, lyric essays, drabbles, etc… Send one unpublished selection.

Short Story: send one unpublished selection between 1000-5000 words.

Long-form Writing: for a submission to qualify, it should be part of a project that is a minimum of 5000 words. Your submission, which can be an excerpt or a complete work, should not exceed 7000 words; this can include creative nonfiction, literary journalism, fiction. Poetry submissions are limited to 20 pages, with a minimum of 16; this can consist of a single poem, or multiple. Please include, along with your submission, a 150-word synopsis. (The 150-word synopsis, to be included along with your submission, does not count towards the submission's word count). In your synopsis, be sure to identify the genre you are working in. Your synopsis should describe the complete project.

Personal Essay and Memoir: Send one unpublished selection between 1000-5000 words.

Creative Nonfiction: this category is for essays that are artfully concerned with language, character development, and story. Send one unpublished selection between 1000-5000 words.

Nonfiction: this category includes research-based writing—any essay that privileges empirical and/or informational writing. This can also include public essays, argument, and essays on criticism, science, nature, to name a few. Send one unpublished selection between 1000-5000 words.

Feature/Magazine: for submissions that are journalistic features for magazines and newspapers, whether print or online. Send one selection. Submissions may have been published in the last year.

Humor/Satire: for submissions in the comedic of satiric mode, including forms such as monologue, parody, caricature, and irony. Send one selection.


A certificate, accompanied by a gift card for Buffalo Street Books; prizes will also include an invitation to read in our award’s ceremony, and consideration, when applicable, for nomination to additional prizes outside the realm of the Writing Department at Ithaca College.


The Writing Department believes that clear guidelines and transparency form the foundation of an ethical contest. We agree to (1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address unethical behavior should it arise; (2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines; and (3) to make the mechanics of our contest available upon request. While there is no formal rubric used to decide on winners and finalists, the contest coordinator will be happy to describe the process of judging and selecting a winner.

Winners are announced in April. A complete list of judges will be made public once the winners are announced. Please direct any questions you have to Raul Palma: