Creativity and Nerves Rise for 2020 Student Literary Awards

Students applied to the 2020 Student Literary Awards, an annual competition hosted by the Creative Writing program on the Biscayne Bay Campus. Photo courtesy of FIU Flickr.

Maritza De Armas/Staff Writer

Creativity shined through as the open submissions phase of the 2020 Student Literary Awards came to a close. 

The Student Literary Awards is an annual competition hosted by the Creative Writing program on the Biscayne Bay Campus. 

Students of all majors who were enrolled in the fall 2019 and spring 2020 terms were qualified to submit unpublished works within the genres of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction.

It is expected for some submissions to come from newcomers, although there are also a handful of experienced candidates in the mix. 

“This is not my first time submitting work. I’ve been a graduate student in the creative writing program for the last three years and this is my final semester, so this is my third time submitting,” said Lillian Starr.

For those interested in submitting work next year, Starr advises to pay attention to the guidelines.

“I think that excitement, urgency, and obsession are all things that creative writers are steeped in and should come through in your work,” Starr said. “When I first submitted I didn’t review the guidelines thoroughly enough so I submitted previously published work, which does not qualify.”

The prizes will be offered in graduate and undergraduate divisions. 

The first place prize for each category in both divisions will receive a $50 cash prize while honorable mentions receive $25. 

There will be flyers announcing the winners in the English and Creative Writing departments following Spring Break. 

The awards will be presented at the annual student reading on Thursday, Apr. 9, where winners will have a chance to read their submissions.

It’s fairly difficult to determine what the judges will be looking for within the submissions, but Starr has her theories. 

“It’s all about representing yourself and your work in a sample,” said Starr, “I think the decision process has more to do with comparing your work with the other applicants, so it’s more just about submitting what I would like to see as a judge and what represents the body of your work as a writer.”

No matter who wins, Starr keeps a positive outlook on the results, 

“I am nervous about the results, but I think whoever gets the award will certainly deserve it. I’d be thrilled if someone else from the Creative Writing program received the award, or even someone whose work I’m not familiar with so we can be exposed to a new voice.”

Those interested in preparing for next year’s Student Literary awards can visit or contact the English or Creative Writing departments.

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