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Undergraduate Writing Award

Founded in 2015, the Undergraduate Writing Award honors undergraduate literary achievement in three rotating genres: short fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction.

Our mission is to foster a culture in which literary effort across the entire undergraduate body is encouraged and recognized, and excellence is rewarded.

2022-23 Guidelines


Creative Nonfiction


  • First Prize: $500 and publication in The Kiln Project
  • Second Prize: $300 and publication in The Kiln Project


The contest is limited to SLU and SLU-Madrid undergraduates with active enrollment status in the spring 2023 semester.

Submission Requirements

Submissions must be 5,000 words or less, in English, and unpublished. There is a limit of two entries per person. Entries must be in 12-point Times New Roman font, formatted with one-inch margins, and saved as a PDF. Do not include your name, email, or other identifying information in your submission, as entries are judged anonymously; our online form links your name with your entry. Simultaneous submissions to other contests are allowed. Entrants retain all rights to their work.

Submit Your Entry


  • Submission Deadline: February 20, 2023
  • Notification of Results: April 2023
  • Award Presentation Ceremony: TBD


Entries are judged anonymously by the following panel:

  • Ron Austin is an assistant professor of English and creative writing at SLU and the author of Avery Colt Is A Snake, A Thief, A Liar (2019).
  • Philip Boehm has translated more than 30 novels and plays by German and Polish writers, including Herta Müller, Franz Kafka and Hanna Krall. For these translations he has received numerous awards including fellowships from the NEA and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He also works as a theater director and playwright: works for the stage include Alma en ventaMixtitlan, and Return of the Bedbug. He is the founding Artistic Director of Upstream Theater in St. Louis, which in 2012 was awarded a National Theatre Company grant by the American Theatre Wing (Founder of the Tonys).
  • Lyna Colombo has been a marketing manager for a Fortune 500 consulting company and has managed her own consulting business. She lives and works in St. Louis and Taos, and her clients have included the Los Angeles Community College District, a NASA-Google partnership, Planetary Ventures, and RedMane Technology. She is a longstanding member of the Society of the Muse of the Southwest.
  • Andy Harper is an assistant professor of English at SLU teaching and writing about nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American literature and creative nonfiction.
  • Jennifer Lowe is rare books librarian at SLU and chair of the Undergraduate Writing Award Committee.
  • Frances Pestello has a Ph.D. in sociology and teaches for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at SLU. 
  • Rachel Greenwald Smith is a professor of English at SLU and author of On Compromise: Art, Politics, and the Fate of an American Ideal (Graywolf Press).


If your entry wins a cash prize, you agree to give Saint Louis University a nonexclusive license to publish your work online. We may ask you for permission to print your entry as well. Your entry will not be published in print without your consent, and you retain all other rights. You are free to publish your work in print or online elsewhere, and to enter it into other contests, whether or not you win a prize in this contest.


If you have questions, please email