The Elizabeth Bishop Prizes
Offering $45,000 in Scholarships
Writing & Publishing at Walnut Hill School for the Arts aims to celebrate the freshest, most accomplished examples of imaginative literary craft by young writers. As part of this mission, the editors of The Blue Pencil Online present each year the Elizabeth Bishop Prizes in Verse, Fiction, and Playwriting, offering $45,000 in writing scholarships.
First, A Little History …
While a student at Walnut Hill from 1927 to 1930, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Elizabeth Bishop contributed poems, short fiction, plays, and book reviews to The Blue Pencil, and she served as editor of the magazine during her senior year. In recognition of Bishop’s contributions to the school and to literary history, the Writing & Publishing program has since 2004 invited young writers around the world to submit work to the Elizabeth Bishop Prizes. Thousands of pieces have been considered since the inception of the Prizes—some composed as near as Natick, others as far away as Abu Dhabi. The students of the department, who constitute the panel of judges for the competition, select the winners each year. (Click here for a list of past Bishop Prize winners.)
About The Prizes
Each Bishop Prize–winner is awarded a $15,000 scholarship to the Writing & Publishing Program at Walnut Hill School for the Arts. (The Elizabeth Bishop Prize scholarships are contingent upon winners’ application to and acceptance by Walnut Hill’s Admission Committee.) Each winner also receives a copy of Elizabeth Bishop’s Poems, Prose, and Letters, published by The Library of America, a steadfast supporter of the Prizes, and an invitation to read his or her work at our annual spring celebration of the print edition of The Blue Pencil. Prize-winning works are published on The Blue Pencil Online as soon as they are ready to go to press.
Winners are announced on The Blue Pencil Online and on the Walnut Hill website during the first week of March.
How The Prizes Work
The editors consider for The Bishop Prizes every piece of original verse, fiction, and playwriting that has been submitted to the The Blue Pencil Online and has been crafted by writers in the 8th, 9th, 10th, or 11th grade (see “Eligibility Details” below for more information). Each February the editors come together to read, re-read, discuss, and deliberate over the pieces that have been accepted for publication in the past year in order to select what they consider to be the best work in each genre.
The deadline for entries to each year’s Prizes is February 1 at 12:00 noon EST. The submission manager closes at the deadline and reopens in March to begin accepting pieces eligible for the following year’s Prizes.
Eligibility Details: Any piece of fiction, verse, or playwriting that (1) has been written by a student who does not attend Walnut Hill School for the Arts and who is an 8th-, 9th-, 10th-, or 11th-grader (or the equivalent in overseas educational systems) in the fall of the current school year, and (2) has been properly submitted to The Blue Pencil Online—via the TBPO submission manager—between the March opening and February deadline will be considered for the Prizes. A work does not have to have been published in the magazine to be considered, only accepted for publication. A writer may win in only one category. No past winners of The Bishop Prizes are eligible. Walnut Hill reserves the right not to award a Prize in any category.
See website for more information.
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