Past Writing Contest Winners

Past Writing Contest winners are organized by contest year listed below.

FICTION

Anne Flexner Award for Fiction
Thalia Halloran  - Blonde
(Winner of 2019 Reynolds Price Award for Fiction and took second place for the George P. Luccaci Award for Creative Non-Fiction)
The Anne Flexner Memorial Award for Creative Writing was established by the family and friends of Anne Flexner, who graduated from Duke in 1945.

Reynolds Price Award for Fiction
Caroline Waring - The Roof
(2019 Critical Essay Winner)
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.

CREATIVE NONFICTION

George P. Lucaci Award for Creative Non-Fiction
Leah Abrams - Dad Funeral
Rayan Tofique - Of Suitors and the Unsuited
Julia Wang - Lions
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.

POETRY

Academy of American Poets Prize
1stPlace - Daniela Stephanou - Maria
Honorable Mention - Thalia Hallorananimal instincts
Founded in 1934 in New York City, the Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization advocating for American poets and poetry.  Its mission is to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry.

Anne Flexner Award for Poetry
Margot Armbruster - Triptych
The Anne Flexner Memorial Award for Poetry was established by the family and friends of Anne Flexner, who graduated from Duke in 1945.

Terry Welby Tyler, Jr Award for Poetry
Sophie Laettner - A Southern Element
This award was established by the family of Terry Welby Tyler, Jr., an English major that loved poetry.  He would have graduated with the class of 1997 had he not passed away in 1996.  This award recognizes and honors outstanding undergraduate poetry.

Creative Writing Scholarship Winners

William Blackburn Scholarship
Anna Kasradze, 2021
Omoloa Sanusi, 2021

William M. Blackburn Scholarship: Recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of creative writing.  Established in 1962 by students and friends of Professor William Blackburn (1899-1969) who first began teaching creative writing at Duke.

Francis Pemberton Scholarship
Anthony Cardellini, 2021
Francis Pemberton Scholarship: Awarded to a junior or senior pursuing the study of creative writing.  This scholarship was created by the Trustees of The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation in memory and in honor of Francis Pemberton's service to the Biddle Foundation.

Margaret Rose Knight Sanford Scholarship
Catherine Gong, 2022

Margaret Rose Knight Sanford Scholarship: Awarded to a female student who demonstrates particular promise in creative writing.  This scholarship was established in recognition of the untiring efforts of Margaret Rose Knight Sanford on behalf of Duke University.

Critical Essay Department Award Winners 

Anna Kasradze, '21Discontents and their Civilization: Epic Melancholy in T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land"
Honorable Mention: Gretchen Wright, '20 – “Brontë before Darwin: The Weakening of the Human-Animal Divide”
Each year Duke English sponsors a critical essay competition that is open for essays written by any Duke undergraduate enrolled in an English department course.  Submissions must be critical essays of nonfiction produced for a class during the current academic year in which the student is enrolled.

Stanley E. Fish Award for Outstanding Work in British Literature: 
Joel Mire, 20 - “Narrative as Search: Computational Forms of Knowledge in the Novels of Tom McCarthy” 
This award recognizes outstanding work by an undergraduate enrolled in an English course in British Literature.

Louis J. Budd Award for Outstanding Work in American Literature:  
Jay Arora, ‘20 - “Protein Binds: Decoding Factory-Farmed Meat in the American South”
This award recognizes outstanding work by an undergraduate enrolled in an English course in American Literature.

Barbara Herrnstein Smith Award for Outstanding Work in Literary Theory or Criticism: 
(Co-winners) 
Meg Hancock, ‘20 - “‘Bullets in the Dining Room Table’: Reckoning with the South and its Burdens in Faulkner, O’Connor, and Morrison”
Brennen Neeley, ‘20 - “Conceits of Imagined Silence: Reconciling Recognition and Acknowledgment in Fiction” 
This award recognizes outstanding work by an undergraduate enrolled in an English course in literary theory or criticism.

Award for Most Original Honors Thesis: 
(Co-winners) 
Alice Dai, ‘20 - “Long Way Home”
Valerie Muensterman, ‘20 - “The Roadkill Club”
This award recognizes a senior student for writing the most original honors thesis.

FICTION

Anne Flexner Award for Fiction
Caroline Armstrong  - “Friday”
The Anne Flexner Memorial Award for Creative Writing was established by the family and friends of Anne Flexner, who graduated from Duke in 1945.

Reynolds Price Award for Fiction
Thalia Halloran - “Chesire”
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.

CREATIVE NONFICTION

George P. Lucaci Award for Creative Non-Fiction
1st Place  - Annie Delmedico - “My Stranger”
2ndPlace - Thalia Halloran - “Excuse Me”
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.

POETRY

Academy of American Poets Prize
1stPlace - Valerie Muensterman - “Prophet Syndrome”
Honorable Mention - Carrie Wang– “Along the Curves of Cities”
Founded in 1934 in New York City, the Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization advocating for American poets and poetry.  Its mission is to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry.

Anne Flexner Award for Poetry
Aaron VanSteinberg - “Arrivals”
The Anne Flexner Memorial Award for Poetry was established by the family and friends of Anne Flexner, who graduated from Duke in 1945.

Terry Welby Tyler, Jr Award for Poetry
Nadia Kirmani - “Before It’s Forgotten”
This award was established by the family of Terry Welby Tyler, Jr., an English major that loved poetry.  He would have graduated with the class of 1997 had he not passed away in 1996.  This award recognizes and honors outstanding undergraduate poetry.

Critical Essay Contest

Caroline Waring - "(In)distinct Sensation and Money that Loves You: Affect, Subjectification, and Machines in Nathanael West’s The Day of the Locust" 

Awards for English Students

Each Spring Semester the English Department awards undergraduate students for work done in one or more courses.  Nominations are made by English faculty.  

  • Robin Wang - 2019 Stanley E. Fish Award for Outstanding Work in British Literature: This award recognizes outstanding work by an undergraduate enrolled in an English course in British Literature.
  • Alex Sim - 2019 Barbara Herrnstein Smith Award for Outstanding Work in Literary Theory or Criticism: This award recognizes outstanding work by an undergraduate enrolled in an English course in literary theory or criticism.
  • Cullen Tyndall - 2019 Louis J. Budd Award for Outstanding Work in American Literature: This award recognizes outstanding work by an undergraduate enrolled in an English course in American Literature.
  • Jack Bradford - 2019 Award for Most Original Honors Thesis: This award recognizes a senior student for writing the most original honors thesis.

2018 Fiction Award Winners
(There are two awards in the category of fiction)

Anne Flexner Memorial Award for Fiction Winner
Vivian Lu
- Meltwater
(Ms. Lu also won this award in 2017)
The Anne Flexner Memorial Award for Creative Writing was established by the family and friends of Anne Flexner, who graduated from Duke in 1945.

Reynolds Price Fiction Award Winner
Caroline Waring – 
Jumping Frog
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.

2018 Creative Nonfiction Winners

George Lucaci Award for Creative Nonfiction 
Jackie Xu - 
Welcome
2nd- Liddy Grantland – I’m Here
3rd(tie) Caroline Fernelius - Crashbox
3rd(tie) Emily Brockman – Auntie Mock
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.

2018 Poetry Award Winners
(There are three awards in the category of poetry)

Academy of American Poets Prize
Caroline Fernelius -  “Collude”
Honorable Mention- Zoe Abedon – “I grow cautious of the cinema”
Founded in 1934 in New York City, the Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization advocating for American poets and poetry.  Its mission is to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry.

Anne Flexner Memorial Award for creative writing in Poetry
Chloe Hooks – Solitaire
The Anne Flexner Memorial Award for Poetry was established by the family and friends of Anne Flexner, who graduated from Duke in 1945.

Terry Welby Tyler, Jr. Award for Poetry
Nadia Kirmani – “If the Sutures Hold”
This award was established by the family of Terry Welby Tyler, Jr., an English major that loved poetry.  He would have graduated with the class of 1997 had he not passed away in 1996.  This award recognizes and honors outstanding undergraduate poetry.

Critical Essay Prize
Catherine Anne Ward – “If the Sutures Hold”

Awards for English Students

Each Spring Semester the English Department awards undergraduate students for work done in one or more courses.  Nominations are made by English faculty.  

  • Valerie Muensterman - 2018 Stanley E. Fish Award for Outstanding Work in British Literature: This award recognizes outstanding work by an undergraduate enrolled in an English course in British Literature.
  • Lauren Kelly Bunce - 2018 Barbara Herrnstein Smith Award for Outstanding Work in Literary Theory or Criticism: This award recognizes outstanding work by an undergraduate enrolled in an English course in literary theory or criticism.
  • Emery Hawkins Jenson - 2018 Louis J. Budd Award for Outstanding Work in American Literature: This award recognizes outstanding work by an undergraduate enrolled in an English course in American Literature.
  • Chloe Hollowell Hooks - 2018 Award for Most Original Honors Thesis: This award recognizes a senior student for writing the most original honors thesis.

Fiction
(The department offers two awards in the fiction category)

2017 Anne Flexner Memorial Award for Fiction Winner
Vivian Lu 

The Anne Flexner Memorial Award for Creative Writing was established by the family and friends of Anne Flexner, who graduated from Duke in 1945.

2017 Reynolds Price Fiction Award Winner
Grace Li 

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.

Creative Non-fiction
2017 Lucaci Award for Creative Nonfiction (Co-winners)
Haley Enos
Aaron Baum

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.  

Poetry
(The department offers three prizes to recognize a poem or group of poems)

2017 Anne Flexner Memorial Award for Poetry Winner
Andrew Tan-Delli Cicchi 

The Anne Flexner Memorial Award for Poetry was established by the family and friends of Anne Flexner, who graduated from Duke in 1945.

2017 Academy of American Poets Prize Winner
Chloe Hooks 
Emily Otero 
​(Honorable Mention)

2017 Terry Welby Tyler Jr. Award for Poetry Winner
Elise Nelson 

This award was established by the family of Terry Welby Tyler, Jr., an English Major, that loved poetry.  He would have graduated with the class of 1997 had he not passed away in 1996.  This award recognizes and honors outstanding undergraduate poetry.

Critical Essay Prize
Lauren Kelly Bunce – “The Malice of Woman:  Pornotropes and Sexual Specificity in Paradise"

Awards for English Students

Each Spring Semester the English Department awards undergraduate students for work done in one or more courses.  Nominations are made by English faculty.  

  • Sean Patrick McCroskey - 2017 Stanley E. Fish Award for Outstanding Work in British Literature: This award recognizes outstanding work by an undergraduate enrolled in an English course in British Literature.
  • Lauren Kelly Bunce - 2017 Barbara Herrnstein Smith Award for Outstanding Work in Literary Theory or Criticism: This award recognizes outstanding work by an undergraduate enrolled in an English course in literary theory or criticism.
  • Molly Olivia Sullivan - 2017 Louis J. Budd Award for Outstanding Work in American Literature: This award recognizes outstanding work by an undergraduate enrolled in an English course in American Literature.
  • Anna Elizabeth Mukamal - 2017 Award for Most Original Honors Thesis: This award recognizes a senior student for writing the most original honors thesis.

NON-FICTION
George Lucaci Award for Creative Nonfiction (co-winners)
Andrew Tan-Delli Cicchi, “A Summer of Eggplant”
Rosa Yang, “Telling Time”

POETRY
Academy of American Poets Prize 
1st: Sarah Darwiche, “little party”
2nd: Natasha Derenzinski-Choo, “The Day Earth Was Born”

Anne Flexner Memorial Award for creative writing in Poetry 
1st: Andrew Tan-Delli Cicchi, Knife”
2nd: Jazlyn Williams, “the anxiety poems”

Terry Welby Tyler, Jr. Award for Creative Writing (Poetry)  
Georgia Parke, “Saltwater, Australia, Did You Forget, Mornings in other countries”

FICTION
Reynolds Price Award:  
Louis Garza, "Off-Duty"  

Ann Flexner Award (co-winners):
Lily Zerihun, "The Queen of Sheba"  
Abigail Lawrence, "Son of the Guides, King of the Forest"  
Grace Li, “The Island” 

Critical Essay Prize
Christopher J. Lee – Subversion through Speech: Desdemona and Emilia as Female Agents of Verbal Triumph in Shakespeare’s Othello"

Awards for English Students

Each Spring Semester the English Department awards undergraduate students for work done in one or more courses.  Nominations are made by English faculty.  

  • Matthew T. King - 2016 Stanley E. Fish Award for Outstanding Work in British Literature: This award recognizes outstanding work by an undergraduate enrolled in an English course in British Literature.
  • Shae Van Wagoner - 2016 Barbara Herrnstein Smith Award for Outstanding Work in Literary Theory or Criticism: This award recognizes outstanding work by an undergraduate enrolled in an English course in literary theory or criticism.
  • Micaela Unda - 2016 Louis J. Budd Award for Outstanding Work in American Literature: This award recognizes outstanding work by an undergraduate enrolled in an English course in American Literature.
  • Katherine Coric and John Peter Lucaci - 2016 Award for Most Original Honors Thesis: This award recognizes a senior student for writing the most original honors thesis.