Corrington Writing Contests

The English Department hosts two annual writing contests inspired by each year's John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence recipient.

This year's awards are inspired by the work of Aimee Nezhukumatathil! 

On October 23rd 2023 in Anderson Auditorium New York Times best-selling author Aimee Nezhukumatathil will visit our campus and we will read her illustrated essay collection, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, & Other Astonishments, together as a community. Aimee Nezhukumatathil describes wonder in this way:

“[I]t takes a bit of patience, and it takes putting yourself in the right place at the right time. It requires that we be curious enough to forgo our small distractions in order to find the world."

For guidelines and submission details, click on each contest. 

2023 Writing Contests

The Corrington Excellence in First-Year Writing Contest

The English Department invites essay submissions from students currently enrolled in TREK 115 inspired by the work of Aimee Nezhukumatathil and engaging with ideas of wonder, beauty, identity, belief, place, and/or curiosity. 

Taking a note from Nezhukumatathil, research a creature, plant, or natural phenomena and write a personal essay that connects your own life to your chosen subject. Essays should weave together personal experience, research and knowledge, and careful attention to narrative and figurative language. 

As you write, you might consider the following questions: 

  • How do we know what we know?
  • Who are you at this moment in your life
  • How is your current self different from who you used to be? How did this change occur? 
  • What do you value? How do you know you value it? 
  • What do you know well? How did you become knowledgeable about it? 
  • What has this creature, plant, or natural phenomena taught you about yourself?
  • In what ways do you identify with the creature, plant, or natural phenomena? 
  • Is there a space or geographical location that makes you feel more (or less) like yourself? What did the process of discovering this look like? 
  • Identify a time when you felt the most seen. What contributed to this? 
  • What do you do when you need to slow down? What benefit can come from doing less, being still, looking inward, or taking a step back?
  • What has surprised you in the natural world? Why? 
  • What is something about your own story that can only be told in your own voice?

Essays should be 1,000-1,500 words. 

Deadline: APRIL 19, 2024

First Place: $500

Second Place: $100

Third Place: $50


To submit an entry, click here

The Corrington Creative Writing Contest

The English Department invites creative writing submissions inspired by the work of Aimee Nezhukumatathil and engaging with ideas of wonder, beauty, identity, belief, place, and/or curiosity. This contest is open to all Centenary students. 

Students should submit one piece of creative writing in the genre of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or hybrid work inspired by the writing of Aimee Nezhukumatathil. In addition to the themes listed above, we are especially interested in submissions that demonstrate the power of observation. About paying attention, Nezhukumatathil says,

“I think it’s the quiet way you settle into the crook of a tree trunk, the still and slowdown of your heart in a world that wants us to be quick and to move onto the next thing.” 

Deadline: December 1st, 2023

First Place: $500,  professional printing and illustration, and a performance at next year's Corrington Award ceremony

Second Place: $100

Third Place: $50

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