Prizes Open to Juniors

Essays on Specific Subjects

THE G. ARMOUR CRAIG AWARD FOR PROSE COMPOSITION is awarded to that junior or senior who writes the best autobiographical essay on an experience of intellectual discovery.


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

THE LAURA AYRES SNYDER PRIZE, endowed by Jeffrey F. Snyder, class of 1960, in honor of his daughter Laura Ayres Snyder, class of 1989, is given annually to subsidize a student-poet during the summer between his or her junior and senior years. The prize is awarded to a Junior for a manuscript of poetry which should be no fewer than three pages and no more than ten pages.


*The terms of these prizes may vary due to the pandemic. Students will receive more information in the spring.

THE MacARTHUR-LEITHAUSER TRAVEL AWARD, drawn from the income of a gift by the MacArthur Foundation to the College in 1985 at the request of Brad LeithauserMacArthur Fellow and Visiting Writer at the College for 1984–85 (learn more about Brad Leithauser here), is a fellowship given annually by the English Department to a Sophomore or Junior of creative promise who might most benefit from exposure to a foreign landscape, for the purpose of enabling the student to travel outside the continental United States.

While “creative promise” will be interpreted loosely, preference will be given to those students who have displayed some talent in writing poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. Financial need and limited previous travel are also considerations. This prize is meant to encourage talented students to invent occasions for self-directed creative work in foreign environments, and cannot be used to pay educational expenses for courses taken abroad. 

Candidates for this award should submit a preliminary budget, a sample of creative work and a cover letter.* In this letter, please outline your travel plans, and also offer some insight into how these plans are expected to contribute to your growth as a writer. This letter should give the prize committee a sense of who you are and of the hows and whys of what you hope to accomplish with this award. The finalists will be interviewed by members of the Department. A sample budget can be found here.

Research, Including Travel and Residency

*The terms of these prizes may vary due to the pandemic. Students will receive more information in the spring.

THE JAMES CHARLTON KNOX PRIZE is intended to support a summer of independent literary research and is awarded to majors whose records through the junior year demonstrate the greatest integration of scholarship, interest and creativity in the study of English. Recipients will be awarded this prize at the end of the junior year.

The Department's evaluation of the candidates will mainly focus on their submitted proposals, which should outline their plans for a summer project that focuses on reading and thinking critically about literature-- on literary research and/ or criticism. 

Candidates for this award should submit a project proposal, a preliminary budget, and a short cover letter.* The cover letter should offer a narrative rationale for the summer's research plans, be they to travel abroad to visit a site, to interview a figure important to your research, or even only to stay on campus for a summer of reading and writing. You can see a sample budget here, and thoughts on the process from previous years' winners are available here. Finalists for this prize will be interviewed by members of the Department. 

Please note that the recipient of this prize would not be required to submit an honors project in his or her senior year and that, regardless, such a submission would still require approval of the department. Nevertheless, majors are encouraged to use the Knox prize submission process as an opportunity to begin work toward a project that might be submitted for honors in the Spring of their senior year.

* If your project involves international travel, you must upload a copy of your signed International Travel Waiver of Liability, found at this link. If you are under 18 years old, both you and your parents must sign the waiver. This page describes the AIG/Travel Guard program in further detail. Please visit the Study Abroad website for information on Health and Emergency Medical Assistance.