DEADLINE: April 1st, 2024 (5pm). Late entries will not be accepted. All submissions will receive a confirmation of receipt within 72 hours.

ELIGIBILITY: This contest is open to all undergraduate students enrolled at Ithaca College. No past winner of a first prize in any category is eligible to enter that category again.

SUBMITTING WORK: Each category has its own individual guidelines (see below). All submissions should be sent to the following email address:

  • Subject line, include: THE CATEGORY__FIRST AND LAST NAME. Here’s an example: SHORT STORY__JIM STAFFORD
  • Body of the email, include your contact information. If you were a winner or finalist in a previous category, you must disclose that information in the cover letter. Failure to do so may result in disqualification.
  • Attached: a PDF with your submission. Your name should not appear on the submission, nor should it appear in the name of the file itself.
  • If you are going to submit to multiple categories, send a separate email for each. 
  • While you may submit to various categories, you may not submit more than one entry per category.

REVIEW PROCESS:The Department of Writing believes that clear guidelines and transparency form the foundation of an ethical contest. We agree to (1) conduct our contest 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. Winners, this year, will be announced in early May. A complete list of judges will be made public then. Please direct any questions you have to Jim Stafford:

PRIZES: First and Second Place Prizes for each category will include gift certificates to Buffalo Street Books.  First place winners will have an opportunity to read their work during a ceremony in early May.


  • 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 Send one unpublished selection.
  • Poetry: send a batch of 3 unpublished poems in a single document. 
  • Hybrid: for a submission to qualify, it should cross genres or alter a genre. Examples include: flash fiction, flash non-fiction, prose poetry, image/text, lyric essays, drabbles, etc… Send one unpublished selection.
  • Short Story: send one unpublished selection between 1000-7000 words.
  • Personal Essay/Creative Nonfiction: this category is for essays that are artfully concerned with language, character development, and story—all employed in order to present factually accurate prose about real people and events. Send one unpublished selection between 1000-5000 words.
  • Critical Writing: 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.