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Lowell-Grabill Creative Writing Contest

Details of the Lowell-Grabill Creative Writing Contest

The Lowell-Grabill Creative Writing Contest awards student writers for outstanding poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. The Lowell-Grabill Creative Writing contest was born out of a generous alumni’s desire to promote creative writing at Wheaton long before our English: Writing Concentration major.

Each spring a panel of literature and writing professors select a group of finalists. An outside judge selects the winner. In past years, our judges have included Bret Lott, Marie Howe, Erin McGraw, Scott Cairns, Gina Oschner, Leslie Leyland Fields, Tom Montgomery-Fate, Bruce Guernsey, and Susanna Childress. Alumni Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Tech and author of acclaimed books of literary criticism, plays, poetry, and lyric essays, Thomas Gardner is this year's judge. Finalists of the contest have the opportunity to meet with the contest judge for a master class. The Awards Night honors the winning writers and includes a reading by the contest judge. All are welcome to attend the Awards Night.

Please email one story or one essay (up to 7,500 words) or one poem (must not exceed 5 pages) to LowellGrabill@gmail.com. All finalists will be invited to a Master Class with contest judge Thomas Gardner.

2021 Lowell-Grabill Creative Writing Contest Submission Guidelines:

  • All submissions should be sent to LowellGrabill@gmail.com.
  • Submit as a Word document; your name must not appear anywhere in the manuscript itself.
  • Include in the email: your name, email address, title of submission, genre.
  • You may enter a single work of fiction or nonfiction (up to 7,500 words) or one poem (must not exceed 5 pages).
  • When submitting multiple genres, submit each entry in a separate email.
  • Submissions are due no later than Wednesday, March 10th.
  • Save the date! The Lowell-Grabill Creative Writing Contest Awards Ceremony will take place Tuesday, April 13th at 5:00 p.m.

2021 Lowell-Grabill Creative Writing Contest Winners:

Creative Non-Fiction

  • 1st - Kara Barlow
  • 2nd - Megan Kim
  • 3rd - Monica Colon


  • 1st - Mary Fischer
  • 2nd - Cassidy Keenan
  • 3rd - Boyd Allsbrook


  • 1st - Kara Barlow
  • 2nd - Megan Kim
  • 3rd - Monica Colon