Creative Writing Contests

Information about the creative writing contests in the Creative Writing program

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

2017 Calvino Prize Winner: Eliezra Schaffzin

Please join us in congratulating Eliezra Schaffzin, the winner of the 2017 Calvino Prize. Final Judge Brian Evenson had this to say about her story, "Cingo, Cingere, Cinxi, Cinctum":

Photograph of Eliezra Shaffzin"A subtle and masterful story that demonstrates that one can make powerful fiction out of the smallest things and the strangest glitches.  Beautifully written, this story accumulates quietly from sentence to sentence until, seemingly effortlessly, it becomes a numinous and quietly haunting meditation on the nature of perception." 

Eliezra Schaffzin has taught writing at Harvard University and the Rhode Island School of Design. Her short stories and essays have appeared in AGNI, Washington Square, PANK, and the Harper Perennial anthology Forty Stories, among other publications. She is currently juggling several longer works-in-progress, including an opera libretto about a famous child abduction; a novella about college applicants, Beethoven's choral music, and aerial drones; and a novel about magic, seduction, and the first American department stores, for which she received a research fellowship from the New-York Historical Society. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Florida.


Katharine Haake, "Dyptich: Fuzz, Milk"

Honorable Mentions

Brenda Peynado, "The Lion and the Beauty Queen"
Zachary Vickers, "Karst"


Becky Hagenston, "The Celebrity"
Joseph Scapellato, "Cowgirl"
Kate Simonian, "It Goes Both Ways"
Reena Shah, "Flamingos"
Anthony Varallo, "The Bottom of This: Stories"
S. P. Tenhoff, "Winter Crane"
Richard Ballou, "The Empty Seat and Other Open Spaces"
Frances Gapper, "Married to a Carrot"
Katie Dieter, "The Dive"
John Blair, "White Sands"
Noelle Catharine Allen, "No Se Preocupen Por Mi (Don't Worry About Me)"