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Writing Awards and Prizes

Creative Writing Awards and Prizes

  • The Mona Adilman Prize in Poetry, for one student, estimated value $500, or for two students, estimated value $250, is open to undergraduate or graduate students registered in the Faculty of Arts for the best poem or group of poems relating to ecological or environmental concerns.
  • The Clark Lewis Memorial Prize, estimated value $400, is open to major or honours students in the Department of English. Awarded annually or from time to time for best submission in creative writing of a dramatic piece (or the award may occasionally be given for creative work in drama other than written work staged during the academic year). The play must be an unpublished original stage play of any length in English or French and a list of characters must be provided before the first page of dialogue.
  • The Chester Macnaghten Prizes in Creative Writing, two prizes, one of estimated value $600, one of estimated value $300, are open to undergraduate students of the University for the best piece of creative writing in English, i.e. a story, a play, a poem, an essay, etc. Submissions published in print before April 17, 2023, are ineligible.
  • The Peterson Memorial Prize, estimated value $2,000, is open to undergraduate or graduate students registered in a degree program in the Department of English with distinction in English Literature (CGPA 3.30 or above) who has also shown creative literary ability.
  • The Lionel Shapiro Awards for Creative Writing, three prizes, estimated value $1,300 each, to be distributed if possible among the genres of poetry, fiction, screen writing and playwriting. Each prize is to be awarded on the recommendation of the Department of English to students in the final year of the B.A. course who have demonstrated outstanding talent (you must be completing all your program and degree requirements.)

Submission details:

Submit entries to undergradadvising.english [at] from your McGill email address and include your student number, degree programs and year in the email.

Submit one pdf file per prize (combine several items in one file if you are submitting more than one work for a prize). Name the files for the prizes and include your McGill ID number in the following manner: monaXXXXXX.pdf, chesterXXXXXX.pdf, clarkXXXXXX.pdf, petersonXXXXXX.pdf, shapiroXXXXXX.pdf. Your name or ID must NOT appear anywhere on the submitted files.

The submitted files must be double-spaced and in a regular 12-pitch font (italics or bold are of course acceptable as part of an occasional desired effect). Each entrant should observe a normal maximum of 20 pages. Writers of lengthy prose fiction and writers of drama may submit a single work of fiction or drama up to 40 double-spaced pages but should not include any other works in their submission.

All competitions are restricted to students who have not previously won the First Prize.

Deadline for submissions: Monday, April 17, 2023

Essay Awards

  • Algy Smillie Noad Memorial Prize for a superior Honours thesis

  • Allen A. Lang Essay Award for an essay on a topic related to either Canadian or American Literature after the year 1900

  • Catherine M. Shaw Early Drama Award for the best essay on early drama

  • Catherine M. Shaw Shakespeare Award for the best essay on Shakespeare

  • Kay MacIver Memorial Prize for best English essay in the field of English Canadian or French Canadian Literature

Other Prizes and Scholarships

Students in the English Department are also considered for a variety of scholarships and prizes. These are:

Harry Barker Prize: Students in 1st year of program

Charles William Snyder Memorial Scholarships: Honours or Major students in 2nd year of program

Dow-Hickson Scholarships, James Darling McCall Scholarship, Shakespeare Scholarship: Honours students in 2nd year of program

Jessie Norris Memorial Award: Honours or Major students in 2nd year of program

Shakespeare Gold Medal (together with Corrine Fay Tabac Memorial Prize and Lionel Shapiro Award for Achievement in English): U3 Honours students

Mary Keenan Scholarship: U3 Honours or Major students intending to continue to the M.A. program in English at McGillAll students in the Honours and Major Programs are automatically considered on the basis of merit for these scholarships and prizes. This consideration takes place quite shortly after the end of the examination period in the Spring. Note that if you have an uncleared K, you will not be considered. Normally, only those students who have completed at least 27 credits, exclusive of courses completed under the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory option, in the Regular Session of the academic year preceding the award will be eligible for scholarships to be held the following year.

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