Prizes Open to All Students

Essays on Specific Subjects

19th-CENTURY ENGLISH NOVEL PRIZE, for the best student essay on the nineteenth-century English novel. Established by Alan P. Levenstein ’56 and Stephen Kirschenbaum ’55 to commemorate their appreciation of such novelists as Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, and Charles Dickens, the prize is intended to encourage students to read and write about nineteenth-century English novels intelligently, critically, and with a heightened sense of pleasure. 

To enter, students must submit an essay that addresses in substantial detail some aspect of one or more nineteenth-century English novels. The competition is open to all students in any major. Essays submitted must be original work, but may be expanded or revised versions of papers written initially as coursework.


THE ALIKI PERROTI AND SETH FRANK 1955 POETRY PRIZE is awarded annually to one or more students who produce works of analysis, criticism, and original academic writing about poets who are graduates of Amherst College or who otherwise have a significant identity and affiliation with the Amherst College community. Some of the poets within that category include Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Rolfe Humphries 1915, Richard Wilbur 1942, James Merrill 1947, and Robert Bagg 1957.

Personal or Open Topic Essays

THE CORBIN PRIZE is awarded for an outstanding original composition in the form of poetry or an informal essay.


Submissions for the poetry prizes should contain from one to five poems, the total not to exceed three pages.

THE ACADEMY OF AMERICAN POETS PRIZE is awarded annually for the best poem or group of poems, preferably on nature, submitted by an undergraduate.

THE COLLIN ARMSTRONG POETRY PRIZE, established in part by Mrs. Elizabeth H. Armstrong, is awarded to the undergraduate author of the best original poem or group of poems.

THE CORBIN PRIZE is awarded for an outstanding original composition in the form of poetry or an informal essay.


THE PETER BURNETT HOWE PRIZE for excellence in prose fiction, was established by a gift of Robert B. Howe of the class of 1930 in memory of his son Peter Burnett Howe, 1960. Submissions for the Howe Prize must be limited to a maximum of 25 pages, comprised of any combination of prose fiction pieces, including excerpts from novels.