The BYU English Department sponsors several student creative writing contests each year.  Whether you write fiction, poetry, or nonfiction, there is likely a contest that is right for you. The department also manages year-round submissions of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and visual art for the journal Inscape.

Below you will find detailed guidelines for each contest or call for submissions as well as links for submitting your entry online.  If you do not have a submittable account, you will need to create one during the submission process.  

If you have any questions regarding the creative writing contest, please contact Tessa_hauglid@byu.edu.

For questions about Inscape, please visit inscape.byu.edu or email inscape.editors@byu.edu. 

Good Luck!



This prestigious national competition is open to all BYU undergraduate and graduate students enrolled full-time during fall or winter semester. Poems can be published, unpublished, or under consideration elsewhere.

Contest Rules
• Submit 1-3 poems (no more than 5 pages total). Be sure that your name does not appear on the poems themselves.
• Poems must be written in English and the original work of the writer (no translations).
• No more than one submission per student. Multiple entries will disqualify all.
• Poems must be in PDF or DOCX format.
• Poems can be single or double spaced.
• For purposes of definition, this contest is NOT a BYU contest (it is sponsored by the Academy of American Poets); therefore poems submitted to the Mayhew or Hart-Larson poetry competition can also be simultaneously submitted to this competition.
• The contest is open to all BYU undergraduate and graduate students who are full time during fall or winter semesters.
• Previous first place winners in this contest are ineligible to enter again.
• Poems will be judged anonymously and all decisions will be final.
• Usually one first prize award of $100 will be given, though the judge has the option of splitting the award between two co-winners.

Winner may be notified via telephone and/or E-mail. All others will receive E-mail notification only.

The winner of the Carolyn Barnes Poetry Contest will receive a $75 award.

Applicants must be English majors either in their senior undergraduate
year or in the first year of the Master’s program. Applicants must be
officially registered as full-time BYU students (12 credit hours) at the
time of application. If a recipient changes his or her major, he or she
forfeits the award.

About the Award

Dr. Jim Barnes, Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing and English,
has made a generous contribution to the BYU English Department to
establish the Carolyn Barnes Poetry Award as a memorial to his late and
beloved wife, Carolyn.

Additional Notes

  • Only one entry per contestant. Up to three poems may be submitted per entry, totalling 100 lines, maximum.
  • Winner may be notified via telephone and E-mail. All others will receive E-mail notification only.
  • Names must not appear on any manuscripts submitted.
  • Winner will be required to submit a W-9 form before monetary award is issued.
  • One winner will receive $75 award.



1. This contest awards $100 for first place, $75 for second place, and $50 for third place.
2. Entries must be the original work of the student submitting it and must not have been previously published or accepted for publication, although they may have been submitted for publication. 
3. The contest is open to both undergraduate and graduate students, with a separate division for each. To qualify, an undergraduate student must be an English major, or have taken an English class during the previous fall semester, or be currently enrolled in an English class.  Graduate students from any BYU program are welcome to enter. During the semester when the contest entries are due, an undergraduate student must be registered for at least 9 credit hours, and a graduate student must be registered for at least 6 credit hours. 
4. A student may submit only one entry. A student who wins first place in a contest is not eligible to enter that contest the following year. 
5. An entry may not be simultaneously submitted to any other BYU writing contest except the Writer's Portfolio Contest. 
6. Although an entry may treat any theme and be in any style, it must conform to standards of general good taste, as determined by the judges. 
7. Poetry entries must be between thirty and one hundred lines long but may consist of one or more poems. 
8. All entries must be in pdf or docx format. Carelessly edited entries will be summarily disqualified.
9. The student's name must not appear with the poems.
10. Winners will be notified by mail or email. Awards will be made at the annual English Department Awards Banquet. Winners will be required to submit a W-9 form before monetary awards can be issued.

1. This contest awards $100 for first place, $75 for second place, and $50 for third place.
2. Entries must be the original work of the student submitting it and must not have been previously published or accepted for publication, although they may have been submitted for publication. 
3. The contest is open to both undergraduate and graduate students, with a separate division for each. To qualify, an undergraduate student must be an English major, or have taken an English class during the previous fall semester, or be currently enrolled in an English class.  Graduate students from any BYU program are welcome to enter. During the semester when the contest entries are due, an undergraduate student must be registered for at least 9 credit hours, and a graduate student must be registered for at least 6 credit hours. 
4. A student may submit only one entry. A student who wins first place in a contest is not eligible to enter that contest the following year. 
5. An entry may not be simultaneously submitted to any other BYU writing contest except the Writer's Portfolio Contest. 
6. Although an entry may treat any theme and be in any style, it must conform to standards of general good taste, as determined by the judges. 
7. Poetry entries must be between thirty and one hundred lines long but may consist of one or more poems. 
8. All entries must be in pdf or docx format. Carelessly edited entries will be summarily disqualified.
9. The student's name must not appear with the poems.
10. Winners will be notified by mail or email. Awards will be made at the annual English Department Awards Banquet. Winners will be required to submit a W-9 form before monetary awards can be issued.

1. This contest awards $100 for first place, $75 for second place, and $50 for third place.

2. Entries must be the original work of the student submitting it and must not have been previously published or accepted for publication, although they may have been submitted for publication. 

3. The contest is open to both undergraduate and graduate students, with a separate division for each. To qualify, an undergraduate student must be an English major, or have taken an English class during the previous fall semester, or be currently enrolled in an English class.

4. Graduate students from any BYU program are welcome to enter. During the semester when the contest entries are due, an undergraduate student must be registered for at least 9 credit hours, and a graduate student must be registered for at least 6 credit hours. 

5. A student may submit only one entry. A student who wins first place in a contest is not eligible to enter that contest the following year. 

6. An entry may NOT be simultaneously submitted to any other BYU writing contest except the Writer's Portfolio Contest. 

7. Although an entry may treat any theme and be in any style, it must conform to standards of general good taste, as determined by the judges. 

8. Essays submitted may be on any subject but must be between 500 and 5,000 words long. Research papers are not eligible.

10. All entries must be in pdf or docx format. Carelessly edited entries will be summarily disqualified.

11. The student's name must not appear with the essay.

12. Winners will be notified by mail or email. Awards will be made at the annual English Department Awards Banquet. Winners will be required to submit a W-9 form before monetary awards can be issued.

1. This contest awards $100 for first place, $75 for second place, and $50 for third place.

2. Entries must be the original work of the student submitting it and must not have been previously published or accepted for publication, although they may have been submitted for publication. 

3. The contest is open to both undergraduate and graduate students, with a separate division for each. To qualify, an undergraduate student must be an English major, or have taken an English class during the previous fall semester, or be currently enrolled in an English class.

4. Graduate students from any BYU program are welcome to enter. During the semester when the contest entries are due, an undergraduate student must be registered for at least 9 credit hours, and a graduate student must be registered for at least 6 credit hours. 

5. A student may submit only one entry. A student who wins first place in a contest is not eligible to enter that contest the following year. 

6. An entry may NOT be simultaneously submitted to any other BYU writing contest except the Writer's Portfolio Contest. 

7. Although an entry may treat any theme and be in any style, it must conform to standards of general good taste, as determined by the judges. 

8. Essays submitted may be on any subject but must be between 500 and 5,000 words long. Research papers are not eligible.

10. All entries must be in pdf or docx format. Carelessly edited entries will be summarily disqualified.

11. The student's name must not appear with the essay.

12. Winners will be notified by mail or email. Awards will be made at the annual English Department Awards Banquet. Winners will be required to submit a W-9 form before monetary awards can be issued.

1. This contest awards $100 for first place, $75 for second place, and $50 for third place.
 2. Entries must be the original work of the student submitting it and must not have been previously published or accepted for publication, although they may have been submitted for publication. 
3. The contest is open to both undergraduate and graduate students, with a separate division for each. To qualify, an undergraduate student must be an English major, or have taken an English class during the previous fall semester, or be currently enrolled in an English class.  Graduate students from any BYU program are welcome to enter. During the semester when the contest entries are due, an undergraduate student must be registered for at least 9 credit hours, and a graduate student must be registered for at least 6 credit hours. 
4. A student may submit only one entry. A student who wins first place in a contest is not eligible to enter that contest the following year. 
5. An entry may not be simultaneously submitted to any other BYU writing contest except the Writer's Portfolio Contest. 
6. Although an entry may treat any theme and be in any style, it must conform to standards of general good taste, as determined by the judges. 
7. Fiction submitted must be between 5 and 25 pages long, may be in the form of a short story, part of a novella, or chapter of a novel, and must be labeled as to form. Please do not submit whole novellas or novels. Parts of novellas or novels should be accompanied by a brief summary of the larger work.
8. All entries must be in pdf or docx format. Carelessly edited entries will be summarily disqualified.
9. The student's name must not appear with the fiction.
10. Winners will be notified by mail or email. Awards will be made at the annual English Department Awards Banquet. Winners will be required to submit a W-9 form before monetary awards can be issued. 

1. This contest awards $100 for first place, $75 for second place, and $50 for third place.
2. Entries must be the original work of the student submitting it and must not have been previously published or accepted for publication, although they may have been submitted for publication. 
3. The contest is open to both undergraduate and graduate students, with a separate division for each. To qualify, an undergraduate student must be an English major, or have taken an English class during the previous fall semester, or be currently enrolled in an English class.  Graduate students from any BYU program are welcome to enter. During the semester when the contest entries are due, an undergraduate student must be registered for at least 9 credit hours, and a graduate student must be registered for at least 6 credit hours. 
4. A student may submit only one entry. A student who wins first place in a contest is not eligible to enter that contest the following year. 
5. An entry may not be simultaneously submitted to any other BYU writing contest except the Writer's Portfolio Contest. 
6. Although an entry may treat any theme and be in any style, it must conform to standards of general good taste, as determined by the judges. 
7. Fiction submitted must be between 5 and 25 pages long, may be in the form of a short story, part of a novella, or chapter of a novel, and must be labeled as to form. Please do not submit whole novellas or novels. Parts of novellas or novels should be accompanied by a brief summary of the larger work.
8. All entries must be in pdf or docx format. Carelessly edited entries will be summarily disqualified.
9. The student's name must not appear with the fiction.
10. Winners will be notified by mail or email. Awards will be made at the annual English Department Awards Banquet. Winners will be required to submit a W-9 form before monetary awards can be issued. 

1. Submissions containing explicit sexual content, strong profanity, or excessive violence will not be considered for publication.

2. Submissions of over 7,500 words will not be considered for publication.

3. Do not include your name in any of the attachments.

4. Please submit no more than 3 pieces per issue, and submit each piece separately.

1. Submissions containing explicit sexual content, strong profanity, or excessive violence will not be considered for publication.

2. Submissions of over 7,500 words will not be considered for publication.

3. Do not include your name in any of the attachments.

4. Please submit no more than 3 pieces per issue, and submit each piece separately.

1. Submissions containing explicit sexual content, strong profanity, or excessive violence will not be considered for publication.

2. Submissions of over 7,500 words will not be considered for publication.

3. Do not include your name in any of the attachments.

4. Please submit no more than 5 pieces per issue, and submit each piece separately.

5. We prefer word processing documents (.doc, .docx, .txt.), but because of the visual nature of poetry, we do allow (for those kinds of poems), submissions in PDF format.

1. Submissions containing explicit sexual content, strong profanity, or excessive violence will not be considered for publication.

2. Do not include your name in any of the attachments.

4. Please submit no more than 10 pieces, and submit each piece separately.

 5. Art submissions must be scanned at 300 DPI or higher and saved as a .jpeg or .tiff image. Art submissions may include photography, paintings, drawings, digital art, photographs of sculpture, etc.

BYU English Department Contests