Awards

The following awards are given annually to the most deserving graduate and undergraduate student writers at the University of Missouri.

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Literature Emitting Diodes (LED) Writing Competition

ABOUT THE COMPETITION

LITERATURE EMITTING DIODES presents poetry and prose by talented writers in public venues on a scrolling LED display. LITERATURE EMITTING DIODES began as a monthly publication in Chicago in 2015, and in recent years, has partnered with the Undergraduate Juried Showcase and the George Caleb Bingham Gallery in the School of Visual Studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia to found an Undergraduate Juried Writing Competition. 

Now an annual writing competition sponsored by the MU Creative Writing Program, the competition solicits unpublished writing of up to 500 words from MU undergraduate students of any major. One work will be chosen for display on a scrolling LED sign outside the George Caleb Bingham Gallery on the MU Campus. The winning writer will also receive a publishing award from THERETHERENOW, a Columbia-based curatorial and publishing project founded and run by Travis Shaffer, an Assistant Professor in MU's School of Visual Studies, to produce a limited-edition print publication.

LITERATURE EMITTING DIODES is a project of PARTIAL PRESS, a small press based in Columbia, Missouri, established and run by Carley Gomez and Levi Sherman. The MU Creative Writing Program is grateful to Carley and Levi of PARTIAL PRESS for founding the LED Undergraduate Writing Competition, and is excited to begin hosting the annual competition in 2020.

For more information about PARTIAL PRESS, THERETHERENOW, and the George Caleb Bingham Gallery, please visit the following websites:

https://partialpress.net/

http://www.theretherenow.com/theretherenow

https://visualstudies.missouri.edu/gallery/bingham

COMPETITION RULES

No more than three unpublished poetry and/or prose submissions per student; each submission cannot exceed 500 words. Authors must be undergraduate students at the University of Missouri. Formatting will not be retained by the LED display. All standard English letters, numerals, and punctuation will display. Submissions will be reviewed by jurors from the MU English Graduate Student Association.

In addition to display at the George Caleb Bingham Gallery, the winner will receive a broadside publication award from THERETHERENOW, a Columbia-based curatorial and publishing project. THERETHERENOW will create a limited-edition print publication and launch it with a reading event at the beginning of the semester following the competition, usually in the early spring. 150 copies will be split evenly among the MU Creative Writing Program, THERETHERENOW, and the winning writer. Three runners-up will also be invited to read their selected submission at the reading.

  • 1 winner, 3 runners-up
  • Deadline: November 6th
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The Mahan Short Fiction Award

No more than two stories per person. Stories should not exceed 7,000 words. Please include word count on manuscript. No restrictions on subject matter or literary method. Stories submitted for this award may not be submitted for the McKinney Award.

  • 1st place $250, 2nd place $150
  • Deadline: March 15
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The Mahan Poetry Award

No restrictions on subject matter or literary method. No more than five poems may be entered. Poems submitted for this award may not be submitted for the Academy of American Poets Prize.

  • 1st place $250, 2nd place $150
  • Deadline: March 15
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The Academy of American Poets Prize

The Academy of American Poets sponsors a prize for the best poem by a student currently enrolled at MU.

  • Maximum of three poems may be entered per person.
  • Poems submitted for the Mahan Poetry Award may not be submitted for this award.
  • No restrictions on subject matter or literary method.
  • One $100 first prize
  • Deadline: March 15
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The Margery McKinney Short Fiction Award

Although some preference will be given to women and undergraduates, this competition is open to any student currently enrolled at any of the four campuses of the University of Missouri.

  • Story should not exceed 7,000 words. Please include word count on manuscript.
  • No restrictions on subject matter or literary method.
  • No more than one story per person. Stories submitted for this award may not be submitted for the Mahan Short Fiction Award.
  • Two $500 prizes
  • Deadline: March 15
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The CWP Award in Creative Nonfiction

The Creative Writing Program sponsors prizes in creative nonfiction submitted by students currently enrolled at MU. No restrictions on subject matter or style, though all submissions must fit within the general descriptions of creative nonfiction.

  • $200 first prize, $100 second prize
  • Deadline: March 15
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The Sibyl Pommer Freshman Poetry Award

This award was established in 1961 by Sybil Pommer of Columbia, Missouri. The competition is RESTRICTED TO FRESHMEN currently enrolled at MU.

  • No more than four poems per person.
  • One $250 first prize
  • Deadline: April 1
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The Margaret Leong Children’s Poetry Award

This award was established in 2000 by Margaret Leong of Columbia, Missouri. The competition is open to all students currently enrolled at any of the University of Missouri campuses.

  • Competition limited to poems which are either addressed to children, or written in collaboration with children, or which incorporate children’s thoughts and emotions.
  • No more than three poems per person.
  • $400 first prize, $300 second place prize, $200 third place prize
  • Deadline: April 1
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The Frances W. Kerr Award for Excellence in Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction, and Drama

Undergraduate students may submit stories, poems, essays, and plays to the following awards:

First place ($300), second place ($200), and third place ($100) will be awarded annually to undergraduates in each genre.

Guidelines:

1) Each student may submit:

  • One short story.
  • Three poems.
  • One essay.

    and/or
     
  • One play.

2) This contest will be judged anonymously. 

3) Judges will be appointed by the Director of the Creative Writing Program.

Deadline: April 1

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The Hien & Emily Nguyen Award in Creative Writing

Any currently enrolled student may apply, though preference is given to graduate students. In order to be eligible for the award, you must demonstrate that you have applied to a summer workshop or residency. You are not required to attend that summer workshop or residency; you must only demonstrate that you have applied and give your reasons for applying.

  • $500 awards

Deadline: April 1

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The William Peden Prize in Teaching Creative Writing

Recognition for excellence in teaching, awarded to a graduate student instructor of creative writing at the University of Missouri each year.

To apply, submit a letter of application, sample syllabi, assignments, and a complete set of student evaluations to the Director of Creative Writing

  • $500 award

Deadline: April 12

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How to Submit

All submissions should be emailed to the Director of CW, Phong Nguyen, at nguyenpv@umsystem.edu.

When you submit your work, include the contest you are submitting to in the email's subject line: e.g., "Mahan Poetry Award Submission."

In the body of your submission email, please include the following:

  • your name, student ID #, phone #, permanent mailing address, & whether you are an undergrad or grad student
  • the title of the work(s) you are submitting

Please attach your submission as a PDF file.

  • Your file should be saved with the contest name and the title of your work (or a group name for poems): e.g., "Mahan Poetry Award Love Poems" or "Kerr Fiction Award Robot Dreams." The author's name and/or student ID # MUST NOT appear on the manuscript or file name.
  • Each submission should have a header that includes the name of the contest you are applying to, the title of the submitted piece, and page numbers.

You may submit to multiple awards, but please send a SEPARATE EMAIL for each award you submit to. For example, if you submit to both the Mahan Short Story Award and the Mahan Poetry Award, these submissions should be sent with two separate emails. If you are submitting more than one entry for a single award, you can send all entries in a single email.