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Prizes & Awards

A student at the podium in the poetry center

The department offers several academic prizes. You do not need to apply for a specific prize, as your work will be eligible for all prizes in the category. You may submit in as many categories as you wish, but only two entries per category (with the exception of single poems, in which you may submit three poems).

Submission Instructions


The submission deadline for 2020–21 prizes is 4 p.m. on Monday, April 26th, 2021.

All submissions should be sent via email to the department assistant, Jennifer Roberts,, before the deadline.

Please send them as PDF or Word Doc files only, and please name each submission as one of the 5 categories below.

Please note: We will accept a maximum of 2 submissions per prize category per student.

Prizes are divided into five separate categories:

  • Poetry (single)
  • Poetry (group) (linked by theme, subject or form)
  • Fiction
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Critical Essay

Submission requirements

In order for your work to be considered, the following criteria must be included on each submission:

  • a single alias on all of your submissions (do not put your real name on your paper) so the submissions are anonymous
  • the category that you are submitting the paper for (see above)
  • your major and class year
  • your student ID number
  • for a critical essay submission, include the class that the paper was written for
  • for poetry submissions, notify us if the work has been previously published

Prizes & Recent Winners (2020)

Anne Bradstreet Prize from the Academy of American Poets
Awarded for the best poem or group of poems by an undergraduate.

  • Ira Goga ’20, “The Kitchen, Indexed”

Elizabeth Babcock Poetry Prize
Awarded for the best poem by an undergraduate. Competition is not open to those who have already won the prize, nor may the poem have been printed previously.

  • Lucy Liu ’21, “The Sacrifice
  • Pearl Silverman ’20, “Aperio”

Ethel Olin Corbin Prize
Awarded for the best original poem (preferably blank verse, sonnet or ballad) or informal essay by an undergraduate.

  • Gracie Griffin ’21, “Getting the Rocks Out
  • Charlotte Samuels ’20, "The Journey of Waiting in Itself: One Thousand Wishes of Anticipation"

Ruth Forbes Eliot Prize
Awarded for the best poem submitted by a first year or sophomore.

  • Leila Mottley ’23, “Diasporic
  • (Honorable Mention) Clare O’Gara ’22, “Lake House”

Rosemary Thomas Poetry Prize
Awarded for the best poem or group of poems.

  • Ira Goga ’20, “The Ladder and Other Poems
  • Abigail Bavaria ’20, “Salomé with the Head

Elizabeth Drew Fiction Prize
Awarded for the best fiction written by an undergraduate.

  • Faith Wykle ’21, “Selections from Clytemnestra
  • (Honorable Mention) Leila Mottley '23, "Lil Bobby Blues"

Elizabeth Drew Essay Prize
Awarded for the best classroom essay on a literary subject submitted by an undergraduate in a class taught by a member of the English department.

  • Chantelle Leswell ’20, “Gallows Literature and the Movement Towards Black Personhood"
  • Emma Vorfeld ’21, “Ambivalence in Absalom, Absalom!"
  • (Honorable Mention) Jamie Mastrogiacomo ’22, “Ephemeral Influence: The Nineteenth-Century Trade Card”

Elizabeth Drew Memorial Prizes
Awarded for (a) the best honors thesis in English, and (b) the best essay on a literary subject submitted by a first year.

  • (a.) Emily Luong ’20, “This Unspoken Thing”
  • (b.) Bena Williams ’22, "Djanet Sears’ Play as a Literary and Visual Form"
  • (b.) (Honorable Mention) Diamond Mark ’22, "Red Mittens and Cleaner's Blues: Metonymy in Missing Children and Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God"

Eleanor Cederstrom Prize
Awarded for the best poem by an undergraduate, written in a traditional verse form.

  • Sophia Bruce ’23, “Sonnet on Jeff Buckley's 'Mojo Pin'"

Helen Kate Furness Prize
Awarded for the best essay on a Shakespearean theme prepared in courses or seminars. Honors theses are not eligible.

  • Gwyneth Rennell ’22, “Liquid Love, Life and Identity in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night"
  • Elise Ghitman ’21, "Eros in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra"

James T. and Ellen M. Hatfield Memorial Prize
Awarded to a senior majoring in English for the best short story.

  • Laura Martin ’20, “The Great Divide
  • Kathleen Hawes ’20, "The Editors"

Elizabeth Montagu Prize

Awarded for the best essay on a literary subject concerning women.

  • Sage Theune ’21, "Reconstructing Virginity in Visions in the Daughters of Albion"
  • Jemma Stephenson ’20, "The Female Appearance in Edith Wharton’s Fiction"

Gertrude Posner Spencer Prize
Awarded for excellence in writing fiction and nonfiction prose.

  • Paola Roach ’23, “La Cuenta de Rosalinda” (Fiction)
  • Vivian DeRosa ’23, “Horse Girls” (Fiction)
  • (Honorable Mention) Emma Essenmacher ’20, “Rhythm of the Waking Dream” (Fiction)
  • Lyza Fennell AC, “A Place to Call Home” (Nonfiction)
  • Madeline Turner ’21, “Amaranth” (Nonfiction)
  • Emma Kemp ’20, “Lay it on Me: Cosmetic Culture’s Attack on the American People” (Nonfiction)
  • (Honorable Mention) Jamie Mastrogiacomo ’22, "Now You See Her: The Life of a Magician’s Assistant" (Nonfiction)
  • (Honorable Mention) Phoebe Little ’20, "What’s Underneath" (Nonfiction)

Emogene Mahony Memorial Prize
Awarded for (a) the best essay on a literary subject written by a first-year student and (b) the best honors thesis.

  • (a.) Livia Blum ’23, “The Drains of Heaven: Nature and Coerced Immigration in Ocean Vuong's Immigrant Haibun"
  • (b.) Audrey Davis ’20, "Bookish Humor and the English Feminine Middlebrow of the 1930s and ’40s"
  • (b.) Rylee Smith ’20, "Re-Visioning Time and Intimacy for the Anthropocene: Virginia Woolf's Queer Modes of Life-Writing in To the Lighthouse, Orlando, and Flush"

Norma M. Leas Memorial Prize
Awarded to a graduating English major for excellence in written English.

  • Robin Karoway-Waterhouse ’20, "How the Exorcist Defies the Conventions of Mainstream Hollywood Female Objectification"
  • Patricia Jewell ’20, "A Power that Fills the Space: Entanglements of Past and Present Through Stage Directions in Djanet Sears’ Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God"
  • (Honorable Mention) Robin Karoway-Waterhouse ’20, "Old English Elegy, Frustrated Sympathy, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Gollum"

Clara French Memorial Prize
Awarded to a graduating English major who had advanced further in the study of English language and literature.

  • Patricia Jewell ’20
  • (Honorable Mention) Danielle Colburn ’20
  • (Honorable Mention) Patience Kayira ’20
  • (honorable Mention) Kathleen Mullins ’20

Vernon Harward Prize
Awarded for the best student scholar of Chaucer.

  • Hyla Maddalena ’21

Mary Augusta Jordan Prize
Awarded for the most original work in prose or poetry by a senior.

  • Patience Kayira ’20, “Ann-eh”
  • Amanda Jiang ’20, "Poems on Belonging(s)"
  • Kathleen Hawes ’20, "Call of the Wild"
  • (Honorable Mention) Jemma Stephenson ’20, "Down the Rabbit Hole: Adventures in Northampton"

Elizabeth Wanning Harries Prize
Awarded to a graduating Ada Comstock scholar who has shown academic distinction in the study of literature in any language.

  • Grace Bratzel ’20
  • Kathleen Hawes ’20