Creative Writing Contests

Contests include the following:

The Calvino Prize

Kentuckiana Metroversity Writing Competition


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, have been chosen for performance by the Commonwealth Theatre players on Sunday, November 13th 2016, 2:00 - 4:00pm 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"

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.

First Place: $1500 and Publication
Second Place: $300

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.

Submission Guidelines


2015 Calvino Prize Winners and Finalists

"On February 19, as part of the Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture since 1900, Calvino Prize winner Nick Greer read from his winning piece, _Glass City_, before a packed audience. Greer presented a physical copy of his book to Prof. Sarah Greer, Director of the Bridwell Art Library. _Glass City_ now joins more than 200 artist books available for research by faculty and students at the University of Louisville."

Calvino Prize winner Nick Greer read from his winning piece.

Transcript of the reading




Nick Greer, “Glass City”

Nick Greer is a writer from San Francisco. He holds an MFA Creative Writing from the University of Arizona and is a founding editor of Territory, a literary project about maps and other strange objects. Recent writing has appeared in Phantom, PLINTH, and the Tin House Open Bar.


“This work took up the major demanding Calvinian theme of the modern (fantasy) city, but it makes the reader think about the problems of the real cities we live in and does so with humour and an often poetic style and rhythm (just like Calvino's own "Invisible Cities"), echoing his fondness for poetic triads of nouns and verbs, but all done in a new way for the 21st century.”      --Martin McLaughlin

Jacob Appel, “The Vermin Episode”

Honorable Mentions:
Jacob Appel, "The Liars' Asylum,"
Sylvia Foley, "Available Testimonies"

Jacob Appel, "Carried Away," "Phoebe with Impending Frost," "Silent Theology," and "The Resurrection Bakeoff"
Ryan Call, co-author: Christy Call "A Brief Guide to Hurricanes"
Jeremy King, "Great Jenny, or The Earth Contains the Sea"
Carmen Machado, "Inventory" and "Observations About Eggs from the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa"
James Monaco, "Almanac"
Daniel Schwartz, "The Symphony of Sirens"
Marc Sheehan, "The Civil War War"

Past Winners


Kentuckiana Metroversity 2012 Writing Competition



Competition Guidelines:

Eligibility: The competition is open to any student registered during the 2011-2012 academic year in one or more classes at a Metroversity institution.

General Categories: This year, there are three general categories: poetry, short fiction, and academic writing. You may enter ONE work in each category, and it should not exceed 40 pages in length, except for poetry (up to 3 poems). Prose entries must not exceed 40 pages in length. Students may submit to multiple categories.

Themed Category: This year’s competition has a themed creative nonfiction category. Entries should address the following topic(s): Race, Place, and Identity. You may enter ONE work in this category, and it should not exceed 40 pages in length.

International Category: Our new category from 2009 returns this year! This category will honor the words and experiences of people who have come to our community from all over the world. This category is open only to undergraduate students whose native language is NOT English. The writing may be in any form—poetry or prose—and must be in English. Send two pieces maximum.

Guidelines: Entries must be unpublished, but they may be entered simultaneously in other competitions. Manuscripts must be typed, double spaced (poetry may be single spaced). For each entry (a poem is an entry), include an entry form available from your campus coordinator or the competition coordinators (James Leary). Your name must not appear anywhere on the document; however, the title of the work must be on each page. Manuscripts will not be returned. Entries that do not follow the guidelines will be disqualified.

Deadlines and Judging: You may (electronically) submit your entry to your campus coordinator; the deadline is January 31st. All submissions must be submitted electronically. Entries are accepted only in Microsoft Word or RTF file formats. The judges will be published writers outside the Metroversity.

Recognition of Winners: In each general category, prizes of $200 (first place) and $100 (second place) will be awarded in the undergraduate and graduate divisions. Prizes of $200 (first place), $100 (second place), and $50 (third place) will be awarded in the international division. Winners will be notified by email and honored at an awards ceremony and public reading in April. (For a list of winners, you can email the competition coordinators after mid-April.) Winning entries will also be published in an anthology; winners will receive complimentary copies.


Competition Application


Competition Coordinator:

James Leary

Jefferson Community and Technical College

109 E. Broadway, Louisville, KY 40202


Campus Coordinators:

Check this address for your campus coordinator

2012 Kentuckian Metroversity Writing Competition - Winner's List