Creative Writing Contest

The English Department administers writing contests to recognize fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry works by English majors and non-major undergraduates.

Award Categories

Fiction:

The department offers two awards in the fiction category. The Anne Flexner Memorial Award for Creative Writing was established by the family and friends of Anne Flexner, who graduated from Duke in 1945. There are two prizes: one for fiction and one for poetry. The Reynolds Price Fiction Award was established in memory of the distinguished novelist, essayist, story-writer, poet and public intellectual, Reynolds Price, who was a graduate of Duke and taught in the English Department for over 50 years.

  • Contest is open to all Duke Undergraduates.
  • Manuscripts should be double-spaced; 5,000 word limit.
  • The English Department's Creative Writing Committee will judge the manuscripts.

Creative Nonfiction:

The Lucaci Award for Creative Nonfiction is funded by the Lucaci Endowment.  It was established to encourage creative nonfiction writing and to honor George P. Lucaci, a former Duke student, who has been an active supporter of undergraduate creative writing in the English Department for many years.  

  • Contest is open to all Duke Undergraduates.
  • Submissions should be double-spaced; 5,000 word limit.
  • This should NOT be a critical essay, but creative nonfiction: nonfiction prose designed primarily to provide an aesthetic, emotional, and/or intellectual experience for the reader rather than to convey information or advance an argument.
  • The English Department's Creative Writing Committee will judge the creative nonfiction submissions.

Poetry:

The departments offers three prizes to recognize a poem or group of poems: the Anne Flexner Memorial Award for Creative Writing (Poetry), the Academy of American Poets Prize, and the Terry Welby Jr. Award for Creative Writing. The Terry Welby Tyer, Jr. Award for Creative Writing: This award was established family of Terry Welby Tyler, Jr., who would have graduated with the class of 1997, to recognize and honor outstanding undergraduate poetry.

  • Contest is open to all Duke Undergraduates.
  • Poems may be single or double spaced; 200 line limit (may be one poem or a group of poems).
  • The English Department's Creative Writing Committee will judge poems the poem submissions.
It is important that you submit your entry to the correct Creative Writing Contest email and that your SUBJECT LINE includes the title of your work.

Include the following on a cover page:

  • your name, class year and Duke NetID
  • title of the entry (untitled entries will not be considered.) 
  • genre: either fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry
  • Submit your manuscript or poem(s) via the link above as a WORD document. The manuscript or poem(s) must contain a title (entries will be judged anonymously).

Please note:

  • Students are only allowed to submit one entry per category
  • Entries submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
  • Entries MUST be titled. (untitled entries will not be considered.)
  • Entries must be marked "fiction" OR "poetry" OR "creative nonfiction."  Students may submit entries for all three genres, but these must be entirely different entries.
  • The same work by the same author may not win multiple contests. However, different works by the same author are eligible to win different awards.
  • Submission of any entry grants the English Department permission to reprint and distribute that work (credited to you) in the event that it wins a prize.