Writing Prizes


The Academy of American Poets Poetry Prize: This prize is given by the Academy to the Columbia College or General Studies poet who has written the best poem or group of poems submitted during the academic year.
[Department guidelines: up to 5 poems, totaling no more than 20 pp.]*

Seymour Brick Memorial Prize: This award is awarded annually to the Columbia College undergraduate who submits the best one-act or full-length play.

Brownstein Writing Prize: This prize is awarded to a graduating senior in Columbia College who has written a single piece or a body of work so distinguished in its originality of concept and excellence of execution that it fairly demands the award, support, and recognition the prize intends.  The prize was established in 1992 as a gift of the Sand Hill Philanthropic Fund.
[Department guidelines: no more than 25 pp. of writing total]*

Arthur E. Ford Poetry Prize: Established in 1980, this prize may be awarded annually for the best collection of poems submitted by a Columbia College senior.
[Department guidelines: up to 5 poems, totaling no more than 20 pp.]*

Philolexian Prize Fund: Established in 1904, this prize is awarded to Columbia College students for essays, short stories, and poetry.
[Department guidelines: either 1 short story, or 1 essay, or up to three poems, in any case totaling no more than 15 pages.]*

Van Rensselaer Prize: This prize will be awarded to the candidate for a Columbia University degree who is the author of the best example of English lyric verse.  Applicants should submit no more than three poems, totaling a maximum of twenty pages.  Open to Barnard students, graduate students, and professional students.
George Edward Woodberry Prize: Established in 1935 by the Woodberry Society of New York and awarded every second year to an undergraduate student in Columbia University for the best original poem.
*Note: these guidelines for length of submissions are not part of the original bequests and may be changed from year to year as the department deems advisable.  But posted guidelines are in effect for the current year, so please follow them in your submission.


Students may submit for more than one prize, but must submit ENTIRELY DIFFERENT ENTRIES for each prize; repeat submissions will be disqualified.

Important: submissions must be sent in electronic attachments in Microsoft Word format. Please devote one document to each Prize submission with page breaks in between pieces. Each submission should also have a cover page with: your full name, email address, phone number, address, Columbia Affiliation (CC, BC, Grad, etc.), and your year. Finally, submissions must comply with the following file convention: "YOUR LAST NAME_NAME OF PRIZE.doc". For example, "WHITMAN_ACADEMY.doc." or "WILLIAMS_WOODBERRY.doc."

Email submissions for creative writing prizes to Professor Molly Murray (mpm7@columbia.edu) no later than March 29, 2019.  Email submissions for critical prizes to professor Molly Murray (mpm7@columbia.edu) no later than April 12, 2019. Late submissions will not be considered for prizes.

The committees that review submissions will have results by late April.


Charles Paterno Barratt-Brown Memorial Prize:
This prize may be awarded to a senior English Major who is judged by the English Department to have excelled in critical writing in any scholarly field.  The prize was established by in honor of Charles Paterno Barratt-Brown, Class of 1983, by his family.

Bunner Prize: This prize may be awarded to a candidate for a degree at Columbia University who has submitted the best essay on a topic dealing with American literature.  The topic is selected in connection with course or seminar work in American literature and must be approved by the Chairman of the Bunner Prize Committee.

John Vincent Hickey Prize: Established in 2004, this prize is awarded to the senior whose English thesis demonstrates excellence in the fields of English, American, or Irish poetry.


All senior essays are automatically considered for the critical writing prizes.  For any other submissions, please submit an electronic copy to Prof. Molly Murray (mpm7@columbia.edu) by April12 at 2:00 PM.  Generally, only critical essays of 25-40 pages are considered for prizes. Absolutely no late submissions.