Department of Humanities

Annual Writing Contest

The Department of Humanities’ annual undergraduate writing contest showcases the writing talents of current students from across the university. First, second, and third place awards are given in the categories of freshman essay, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Contest winners receive framed certificates and cash prizes, and are recognized during an awards ceremony and luncheon each spring. A book of the contest's winning entries is published by the department each fall.

2020 Writing Contest Details

All full-time Illinois Tech undergraduate students are invited to enter the 55th Annual Writing Contest. Full-time status is defined as being enrolled in at least 12 credit hours in the current (Spring 2020) semester.

CONTEST RULES

  • Entries may include fiction, poetry, plays, nonfiction (such as essays, reviews, and technical or scientific papers), and essays by freshman. Nonfiction (including essays by freshman) should be readable by an educated person with no special training in the subject of the essay.
  • All entries must include an entry form as a cover sheet attached to each entry. Forms are available in 218 Siegel Hall, or you can download one here.
  • All entries must be submitted in duplicate. One should be typed, double-spaced, on 8.5" x 11" paper. Do not put your name on the paper copy itself or any of its pages. Deliver paper submissions to Amber Moore in the Department of Humanities, 218 Siegel Hall. The second copy should be submitted as an MS Word .DOC or .DOCX file to iitwritingcontest@gmail.com. The document should be saved in one of the following formas: Lastname.Nonfiction.doc, Lastname.Poetry.doc, Lastname.Fiction.doc, or Lastname.Freshman.doc, depending on the category to which it will be entered.
  • You may enter several categories, and you may submit more than one entry in a category. Limit of one prize per category to any one student.
  • You are encouraged to submit work that has been the subject of a class assignment, but please send a clean copy, free of any comments, marks, or grades.
  • Entries will not be returned, so keep a copy for your records.
  • All submitted short stories and plays will be considered for the Edwin H. Lewis Prize for Fiction. Submissions must be limited to no more than 25 double-spaced pages.
  • All submitted poems or groups of poems will be considered for the Mollie Cohen Poetry Prize, which seeks to honor the effort to master the art of poetry rather than the exhibition of emotions. You may submit as many poems you wish; however, multiple poems by the same student will be judged as a single entry.
  • All submitted nonfiction will be considered for the Edwin H. Lewis Prize for Nonfiction.
  • All submitted freshman essays will be considered for the Freshman Essay Prize. Freshman is defined as any student who is in their first year of full-time college enrollment in Spring 2020.
  • Authors retain all rights to their works—however, the authors grant Illinois Tech, the Department of Humanities, and TechNews the rights to publish their works for one calendar year, from April 1, 2020–April 1, 2021.

 

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: 5 p.m. on Friday, March 6, 2020

For more information, please contact Amber Moore at iitwritingcontest@gmail.com.

Winners will be announced on Monday, March 30, 2020 on the Lewis College of Human Sciences website. Please do not call the Department of Humanities to inquire whether you have won.

A luncheon and awards ceremony for contest winners will be held on April 22, 2020. 

PRIZES

Prizes *

First

Second

Third

Edwin H. Lewis Prize for Fiction

$300

$200

$100

Edwin H. Lewis Prize for Nonfiction

$300

$200

$100

Henry and Myrna Knepler Freshman Essay Prize

$300

$200

$100

Mollie Cohen Prize for Poetry

$300

$200

$100

*Prizes will be awarded as PNC Bank gift cards, which may be used anywhere VISA is accepted.

 

Henry and Myrna Knepler Freshman Essay Prize

The prize for freshman essays honors the late Henry and Myrna Knepler, both former professors of English at Illinois Tech. Henry Knepler served as chair of the Department of Humanities for 16 years. Myrna Knepler was an alumna of Illinois Tech who received her doctorate in linguistics. The prize is funded by an endowment made by the Kneplers, both of whom were very committed to English as a Second Language instruction and to writing instruction.

Edwin H. Lewis Prizes for Fiction and Nonfiction

The prizes for fiction and nonfiction are named for Edwin H. Lewis, an English Professor at Lewis Institute, one of the forerunners of Illinois Tech, from 1895 until 1936. Among other classes, Lewis taught Shakespeare, and apparently looked somewhat like him, too. It is said that students would come to campus just for his lectures, often without even being enrolled.

Mollie S. Cohen Prize for Poetry

The poetry prize was established in 1965 by Illinois Tech English professor Mollie S. Cohen as she was retiring. Cohen was a native Chicagoan and attended Lewis Institute before doing graduate work at the University of Chicago and at Sorbonne in Paris. During her time as a professor at Illinois Tech, she worked closely with women students and international students.