2020 Spring Writing Contests

2020 Contests

Alan Cheuse Fiction Award | $500

Dan Rudy Fiction Award | $500

Shelley A. Marshall Fiction Award | $500

Mary Roberts Rinehart Fiction Award | $500

Mary Roberts Rinehart Nonfiction Award | $500

Alan Cheuse Nonfiction Award | $500

Mary Roberts Rinehart Poetry Award | $500

Mark Craver Poetry Award | $500

Virginia Downs Poetry Award | $500

Joseph A. Lohman III Poetry Award | $500

Contest Submission Guidelines:

1. Mason's Spring Writing Contests are open to all currently enrolled Mason students, graduate or undergraduate. The exceptions to this rule are the Mark Craver Poetry Contest, which is open to MFA poetry students only, and the Joseph A Lohman Poetry Contest, which stipulates that entrants must be 23 years-old or younger because winners will automatically be considered for the Aliki Perroti and Seth Frank Most Promising Young Poet Award (a $1,000 prize awarded by the Academy of American Poets).

2. Students are limited to one submission per contest and must submit a different work for each contest. (A poem or a story cannot be selected as winner of more than one contest.) Previously submitted winning entries cannot be re-submitted. Please check each contest for specific guidelines, such as word/page limit.

3. Students must submit an electronic copy of each submission in PDF format. Electronic copies in another format will not be accepted.

4. Please use the following format for submission emails:

  • The title of the email should contain the student’s name.
  • Each attachment should contain the name of the contest to which the entry is being submitted and the title of the piece.
  • No identifying information other than the entry's title should appear on the submission itself.

Electronic submissions should be emailed to masoncw@gmu.edu and must be received by the posted deadline. The deadline for 2019 is March 16th at 11:59pm ET.

5. The purpose of these awards is to reward previously unrecognized work. Therefore, submissions must be previously unpublished.  Submissions will be considered as "published" if they have been accepted for or have appeared in any publication, including student magazines at this or other institutions. Work currently under submission will not be considered to be "published," and is eligible for these awards.

6. At the discretion of the judges, an award may be divided between two or more writers, or, if no submission is found to be of sufficient merit, withheld.

7. An author not granted an award may apply in succeeding years, but once a writer receives an award, that writer may not apply for that same award again. Note: Receiving an honorable mention or runner-up prize in a previous year does not disqualify that student from entering the same contest again. This rule only applies to first-prize winners.

8. Award winners are contacted by email shortly before results are posted, usually in mid-April. With the permission of the writer, winning entries will be posted on the creative writing web site and the MFA listserv. All winners will be invited to participate in the English Department Honors Reception held in May.


Contest Judges:

Contest judges are selected and announced ahead of the submission deadline each year. Judges are selected and invited to participate each year by the creative writing director. In 2020, the judges are as follows:


Mark Craver Poetry Award

Judge: TBA


Virginia Downs Poetry Award

Judge: TBA


Joseph A. Lohman III Poetry Award

Judge: TBA


Mary Roberts Rinehart Poetry Award

Judge: TBA


Mary Roberts Rinehart Nonfiction Award

Judge: TBA


Mary Roberts Rinehart Fiction Award

Judge: TBA


Alan Cheuse Nonfiction Award

Judge: TBA


Alan Cheuse Fiction Award

Judge: TBA


Dan Rudy Fiction Award

Judge: TBA


Shelley A. Marshall Fiction Award

Judge: TBA