English Department Writing Contests

Two college-sponsored writing contests are open to enrolled undergraduate students—the Lowell-Grabill Creative Writing Contest and the James G. Jameson Critical Essay Contest.

Lowell-Grabill Creative Writing Contest

Each year registered undergraduate Wheaton College students may submit fiction, poetry or non-fiction to the Lowell-Grabill Creative Writing Contest. The contest's recent judges include David Madden, Scott Cairns, Susanna Childress, Ramona Tucker, Vinita Hampton Wright, Cathleen Falsani, and Bruce Guernsey.

Submission Guidelines

Open to all full-time enrolled Wheaton undergraduates; students currently in Study Abroad programs need to check with the English Department for eligibility.

You must submit two title pages;

  •  One with ONLY the title of the poem, essay, or story
  •  One with the title, student name, CPO, and local phone number
  •  Your name should not appear anywhere on the manuscript itself.

You may enter in all three categories, but within each category the limits are:

  • Fiction: One story (8,000 words or less)
  • Creative Non-fiction: One essay (8,000 words or less)
  • Poetry: Three poems

1st place - $150 
2nd place - $75 
3rd place - $50

Manuscripts should be submitted to the Academic Coordinator in the English Department by the posted deadline. No late, email, or fax entries accepted.


James G. Jameson Critical Essay Contest

The James G. Jameson Critical Essay Contest was established over a decade ago to encourage Wheaton students to engage in Christian scholarship across the liberal arts disciplines. Each year students receive awards for the most outstanding essays in each of the three academic divisions:  Humanities and Theological Studies; Natural and Social Sciences; Arts, Media, and Communications. The Jameson Critical Essay Contest is usually held during the Spring semester.  Contest information and deadlines will be sent out via campus email and posted announcements. Call the English Academic Coordinator at ext. 5051 for additional information.


1st place -  $1,000
2nd place -   $500
3rd place -    $250

(Awards may be incorporated into already existing financial aid. Consult the Financial Aid Office for information.)

Submission Requirements

Each essay submitted must . . .

  • be written in English, five to fifteen pages in length.
  • demonstrate critical thinking on a subject within any academic field.
  • exhibit a distinctly Christian perspective in relation to the subject matter.
  • subscribe to the following format specifications: 12-point font; 1" margins; double-spaced throughout; title at the top of the first page of text.
  • follow APA, MLA, or other recognized, discipline-specific documentation.
Each contestant must . . .
  • fill out an entry form (available from the English Department and Buswell Library circulation desk). 
  • print two copies of the essay with only your Student ID# above the title. Names on the entry forms only! 
  • staple an entry form to each of the two essay copies. 
  • submit the entries to the Academic Coordinator in the English Department.  No email or late entries accepted.
  • meet all of the above requirements by the specified deadline (varies each semester).
Bruce Guernsey Presents Lowell-Grabill Awards to Outstanding Student Writers

The English Department recognized the work of its many student writers through the presentation of the Lowell-Grabill Creative Writing Contest Awards. For the Spring 2016 contest, Bruce Guernsey, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Eastern Illinois University, read student submissions in fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry, and honored the winners in an awards ceremony. Read more...

Lowell-Grabill Winners - The 2014 Creative Writing Contest Winners

Here are the winners of the 2014 Lowell-Grabill Creative Writing Contest and the titles of each winning piece.

Jameson Winners - The 2014 Critical Essay Contest Winners

Here are the winners of the 2014 James G. Jameson Critical Essay Contest winners and the titles of each winning piece.