Department Writing Contests and Prizes


Kieth E. Vineyard Honorary Scholarship: Short Story Contest

This scholarship is given in memory of USCB alumnus Kieth E. Vineyard, who graduated in 1985 summa cum laude with a B.A. in History. His friends and family established this scholarship to recognize his courage and grace while battling cancer and to honor his uncompromising character and intregrity in matters of friendship and family. Thus, in tribute to his profound love and gift for writing, this scholarship is awarded yearly to undergraduates who demonstrate outstanding creative writing skills.

UCSB Submission Guidelines:

This contest is open to all UCSB undergraduates who have registered for a least 12 units in at least one quarter of the current academic year. Only one entry per person. There is no theme. There is usually a first, second, and third place awarded. Each winning short story will be selected solely on the merits of the submission. Entries must be neatly typed and should not exceed 6,000 words. The applicant's name cannot appear on the manuscript. Instead, a completed entry form must accompany the story. Entry forms will be available in the office of the Department of English, South Hall room 3432B, when the current year's contest is announced. The submission deadline is customarily in April. Please see the calendar for the exact date.

Full Contest Details, Application Form, and Terms & Conditions (2017-2018)


William and Marjorie Frost Memorial Award: Essay Contest

This award is given each year in memory of William Frost, an UCSB English professor from 1951-1988, who was a renowned scholar and editor of the works of John Dryden, and in memory of his wife Majorie Pangburn Frost, who was a noted artist and civil rights activist.

UCSB Submission Guidelines:

The recipient of this award will be judged upon their submitted critical or scholarly essay and upon their demonstrated academic excellence. This contest is open only to UCSB English majors who are seniors or at the upper-division level for the current academic year. All entries must be endorsed by an UCSB English faculty member, with whom the applicant is encouraged to confer regarding the essay to be submitted. The essay should be approximately 10 pages. It can either be a new work or from a course submission. Only one submission per student. Each submission must be accompanied by a completed entry form which will be made available in the office of the Department of English, South Hall room 3432, when the current year's contest is announced. The submission deadline is customarily in April. Please see the calendar for the exact date.

Full Contest Details, Application Form, and Terms & Conditions (2017-2018)



Ina Coolbrith Memorial Prize for Poetry (For Undergraduates Only)

Friends of Ina Coolbrith, former Poet Laureate of California, established the Ina Coolbrith Poetry Prizes in 1933. Five hundred dollars is available annually for prizes that are apportioned by the judging campus (UC Berkeley). First, second, and third place awards are given to undergraduate students who submitted their best unpublished poem or group of poems. Entrants must be currently-enrolled students from any of the University of California campuses, University of the Pacific, Mills College, Stanford University, the University of Santa Clara, or St. Mary's College. 

To determine the UCSB representatives, an anonymous panel selects at most three entries, with each consisting of a single poem or group of poems written by an UCSB undergraduate from any of the campus colleges. The manuscripts of these finalists are then forwarded to UC Berkeley for the final round of judging.

 All UCSB entries must be turned in to Department of English office, South Hall room 3432 with a completed entry form attached. Entry forms are made available in the English office when the current year's contest is announced. The submission deadline is customarily in December. Please see the calendar for the exact date.

Manuscripts should be typewritten or clearly printed. Do not submit hand-written manuscripts. Each page of the manuscript submitted must include the following information in the upper right-hand corner:

  • The last four digits of the entrant's social security number
  • The name of the contest. (i.e., Ina Coolbrith Memorial Prize)
  • The number of pages of your submission


Your name only goes onto the supplied entry form.

As manuscripts will not be returned to students, a copy should be submitted. Manuscripts selected to represent UCSB will be filed in the UCSB English Department archives. Manuscripts winning a Coolbrith Prize are filed in the University Archives at the Bancroft Library on the Berkeley campus.

Please note: the final judging of the Coolbrith Prize is rotated from campus to campus. Judges remain anonymous.

Full Contest Details, Application Form, and Terms & Conditions (2017-2018)



Shout Out For The Humanities

4Humanities, an international advocacy group for the humanities headquartered in the UCSB English department, is sponsoring a contest inviting students to reflect on the value and importance of humanistic inquiries and education. Your submission to this contest should answer such questions as: Why is studying the humanities–e.g., history, literature, languages, philosophy, art history, media history, and culture–important to you? To society? How would you convince your parents, an employer, a politician, or others that there is value in learning the humanities? 

Who: Enter if you are an undergraduate or graduate student, an individual or team, from any nation.

What: Your submission will be judged by an international panel of distinguished judges for message, quality, and impact no matter your medium or format. Possible submissions include: essay (less than 2,000 words), video, digital work, poster, cartoon, song, art, short story, interview. See our Contest Kit for ideas, resources, and tools.

Instructors and Educational Leaders: Want to organize a “creativity workshop” to incubate submissions by your students? See Workshops and Contest Kit for ideas. will create an online showcase specifically for your students’ work.

When: Submissions by March 1, 2016.

Prizes: Winners will receive the following awards, and will be published on the site:

  • Undergraduate Students: 1st US$1,000 — 2nd US$700 — 3rd US$300
  • Graduate Students: 1st US$1,000 — 2nd US$700 — 3rd US$300

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