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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


Deadline: Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 4:00 p.m.


Submission Criteria


Student qualifications:

  • The contest is open only to undergraduate students in good standing.
  • A student may only win one award from the Jameson fund during his or her tenure at Wheaton College.


Essay qualifications:

  • The essay should be written from a distinctly Christian perspective (e.g., engaging the Bible, Christian history, theology, or a Biblical worldview).
  • The essay should be persuasive and should cite a minimum of six secondary sources.
  • The essay must be original, written by the student submitting the essay.
  • The essay must have been written as a part of a course at Wheaton College. The course must have been completed within the last two years.
  • Only one essay per student per year is to be submitted.


Faculty endorsement:

  • The essay must be endorsed by the faculty member in whose course the essay was written.
  • Endorsements must be received by the submission deadline.
  • Faculty should submit endorsements via this link: https://form.jotform.com/80425108328149


Essay formatting:

  • The essay should not include the author’s name. Instead, it should include the student’s ID number.
  • Two hard copies of the essay should be submitted to the English department on the third floor of Blanchard Hall.
  • When submitting the essay, one should complete a Contest Entry Form (available in the English department).





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.