2020 English Department Writing Awards postponed until fall 2020


Kelsey Tice Nicholson

The 2020 English Department Writing Awards have been postponed until the fall semester. The director of the Writing Awards, Dr. Eugene Richie, announced the news on the University’s English Department Facebook group on Friday, March 20. This decision comes as a result of the University’s decision to move all classes online due to the coronavirus.

“Because of the change to online classes for the remainder of Spring semester, the 2020 Writing Awards competition and the annual ceremony have been postponed until the Fall 2020 semester,” Richie wrote in his post. The deadline was originally April 6, with the awards ceremony to be held sometime in May. There is no word yet on when the ceremony will take place in the fall.

Students who are planning to graduate this spring are still eligible to enter the 2020 Writing Awards. Richie continued, “A new deadline for submissions will be announced in September 2020. Please submit your work then.” Graduating students will hear of the new fall deadlines via several channels. “Graduating students will be alerted to the awards by Blackboard emails from their Academic Year 19–20 professors, and by the English Dept. Writing Awards webpage,” Richie told the Pace Press.

As of March 22, 2020, the Writing Awards is planning to give out $18,000 in awards across nine categories: fiction, poetry, non-fiction, writing for film and television, playwriting, journalism, writing on film, literary criticism and linguistic and rhetorical analysis. The money is awarded from the Sarah Willis, Billie and Curtis Owens, Richard Gill, Gerard Cannon and James Rose funds (former English Dept. faculty members). The prize money has increased by $3,000 since the 2019 Writing Awards, which awarded a total of $15,000 to University students.

Richie also had some words for students during this time, saying, “For now, focus on finishing all work for this semester with the guidance of your professors. You also may have some finished work from fall 2020 to consider for submission, too.”

You can find more information on the awards on the English Dept. Writing Awards webpage, including the typical guidelines for entry, how to enter and any updates concerning the future of the Writing Awards. You can also email any questions to Dr. Richie at [email protected].