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English Department

Writing Prizes, Fellowships, and Awards


The English Department annually gives out an array of academic awards, fellowships and, competitive creative writing prizes. Departmental awards are based solely on the academic achievements of senior English majors and are voted upon by the department faculty. Fellowships and creative writing prizes require applications and submission of writing samples/pieces.

English Department Writing Prizes

COLE PRIZE: Established through the gift of George Henry Walker, Class of 1881, in the memory of Charles Edward Cole, to recognize first-year students who show great ability in fiction or non-fiction writing. Please Note: This prize is for First Year students only--current Class of 2019.


HERBERT LEE CONNELLY PRIZE: Given in 1980 by Mabel Wells Connelly in the name of her husband, member of the class of 1909, and Alumni Secretary 1924-1956. Supplemented by friends, relatives, and sons, Hugh Wells and Theodore Sample '48, the fund provides income to be awarded annually to a deserving undergraduate who demonstrates an interest in English literature and an unusual ability in non-fiction writing. NOTE: Academic papers may be submitted, but this prize is usually awarded for creative nonfiction, journalism, or work directed to general readers.


HORGAN PRIZE: Awarded by the Department of English in memory of Paul Horgan, former Professor and Writer in Residence. Awarded to the student who has written the best short story of the year.


GERALDINE J. MURPHY PRIZE: Established in memory of Geraldine J. Murphy (1920-1990), Professor of English at Wesleyan. She was the first woman hired as a full-time instructor at Wesleyan (1957), the first woman promoted to a tenured position, and the first woman promoted to the title of full professor. The prize is endowed by alumni of the Wesleyan Master of Arts in Teaching program. Awarded to a student who has written an outstanding critical essay that focuses on short fiction or novels.


SOPHIE REED PRIZE: Establish in 1968 by Leon Reed and his sons, S Chadwick '41, and Dr. Victor Reed, in memory of Mrs. Sophie Reed, for the best poem or group of poems.

2015-2016 Deadline: Friday December 11, 2015 at 4:00 PM

Writing Prize Submission Information 



The English Department awards fellowships that support summer projects or graduate study. Detailed applications must be submitted along with references or recommendations for serious consideration. Please note the application instructions following the descriptions. Specific deadlines will be posted once determined.


For frosh, sophomores and juniors:

Founded in 1854 by the mother of Stephen Olin, President 1839-41 and 1842-51 and later increased by gifts of Stephen Henry Olin, Class of 1866 and Acting President 1922-23, and his wife. Awarded in recognition of achievement in English to support independent research or creative writing. The fellowships are to be used for work in English outside the Wesleyan course structure. Suitable projects may include, for example, study in an academic program, research, training in research methods, or sustained work on a piece of writing.

Olin Fellowships are awarded to support independent research or creative writing. The Fellowships are to be used for work in English outside the Wesleyan course structure. Such work may consist of research (in preparation for your thesis, for example) or training in research methods, study in an academic program, or creative writing.

Olin Fellowships are available to prospective sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Please note: current seniors are not eligible. Fellowships will be awarded on the basis of your project's merit, your ability to carry it out, and in recognition of both promise and achievement in English studies. Your financial need will be a factor although it is not the primary consideration.


2015-2016 Deadline: Friday, April 1, 2016 at 5:00 PM

Olin Fellowhip Application Instructions


2016 Deadline: Extended to Friday, April 29, 2016 by 5:00 PM

For graduating seniors and recent graduates: 

Established in 1938, in memory of Professor Caleb Thomas Winchester, by his widow. For graduating seniors and recent graduates, to support graduate work in literature or writing.

The English Department awards Winchester Fellowships for graduate work in literature or writing. The Fellowship is particularly intended to support work for the Ph.D. You must already be admitted to a graduate program in order to receive a fellowship. The fellowship and the application procedure are described below. All material, including letters of recommendation, should be in by that date. The Winchester award is intended to be used as a substantial supplement to fellowships, teaching assistantships, and the like, or to enable students to undertake research or travel.

Policy: The Department will consider your academic achievement at Wesleyan and your potential for achievement in graduate school. These considerations may not be applied with equal weight in every case, but both will have some bearing on the award.

For Winchester application instructions please click here


English Academic Awards

Candidates for the following awards are nominated by members of the faculty based on academic qualifications for each award.


Established in 1905 by the Board of Trustees in memory of Samuel T. Camp, Trustee 1880-1903 for excellence in English Literature. No application necessary as awards are given to the outstanding senior English major(s) by vote of the department.



Established through the gift of Daniel Dorchester IV, Class of 1874, this award is given for the best Honors thesis submitted to the English Department. Candidates are nominated by their thesis advisors.