Creative Writing Contests

The Calvino Prize

The Calvino Prize is an annual fiction competition sponsored by the Creative Writing Program in the English Department of the University of Louisville. They will be awarded to outstanding pieces of fiction in the fabulist experimentalist style of Italo Calvino. Please note that these prizes are meant to encourage experimental writing, in the mode of Calvino, and are not meant to encourage merely imitative work.

The first place entry will be published in the Salt Hill Journal of Syracuse University. Further, the winner will be invited to read the winning entry, all expenses paid (within the continental US), at the Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900 held at the University of Louisville every February. The 10 finalists will be posted on the website. 

First Place: $2000 and Publication
Second Place: $300
Submission Guidelines 

Past Winners

2016 Calvino Prize Competition

Winner: Ryan Ridge, ECHO PARK

Runner-Up: Johanna Stoberock, Pigs (Novel Excerpt) 


Liz Kellebrew, Axis Viridian
Ingrid Norton, Dido in Texas
Joe Aguilar and Daniel Miller, Four Marriages
Gwyneth Merner, Inexhaustible Host
Darren Morris, A Short History of Levitation
Jen Knox, Our Sky, the Ocean
Joe Lucido, Sham Mirth 
Benji Tabet, Shenya
Ingrid Jendrzejewski, Some Kind of Migration
June Caldwell, The Implant
Lisa Nikolidakis, The Importance of Growth
S. P. Tenhoff, Winter Crane

Sonnets on a Sunday Poetry Contest

Poets of University of Louisville were asked to review a selection of sonnets by Shakespeare and write sonnets “in response” to these. The poets were invited to interpret the phrase “in response” however they saw fit: by writing homages, parodies, thematic parallels, and so on. Some poets directly referenced the sonnets to which they responded, others indirectly referenced those sonnets, and still others made no reference to Shakespeare’s sonnets at all. Ten winning sonnets, all written by U of L students, were performed by the Commonwealth Theatre players on Sunday, November 13th 2016 at the Louisville Water Tower.

The winners are (in alphabetical order):

Camille Armstrong: "Patience" 
Michael Baumann: "I want to quit I want to quit--won't" 
Carolyn Biggs: "Dog Spirit"
Morgan McGill: "War"
Stephanie McNamara: "Please, Do Not Compare Us to a Summer's Day"  
Cameron Murray-Hicks: "When time's unfettered hand descends" 
Elizabeth Roberts: "Summer So Lit" 
Catherine Sar: "Shower Sonnet" 
Mariam Smith: "As black as hell, as dark as night, am I?" 
Georgiana Sook: "Iron Pyrite"