English Department

Writing Prizes, Fellowships, and Awards


English Department Writing Prizes

Fall 2022 Deadline: Monday, December 5, 2022 by 11:59 pm.

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 2026.

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 and ANNE REED PRIZE: To honor Wesleyan mothers, Sophie Felice Reed and Anne Carolyn Reed, for the best poem or group of poems.

WINCHESTER FIRST-YEAR ESSAY PRIZE: Drawing on funds endowed in 1838 in honor of Caleb Thomas Winchester, this prize is awarded to the best scholarly essay written by a first-year student in any English Department course in the preceding calendar year. Instructors may nominate students for this award. Please note: Students who took any English course as first years in Spring 2022 are eligible to apply.


Writing Prizes--Submission Instructions 


Shu Tokita Prize

Deadline: Monday, December 5, 2022

For Students of Color Studying Literature:

The Shu Tokita ’84 Prize is awarded to a student of color majoring in literature, in area studies, or a language major with a focus on literature that demonstrates the need for substantial financial assistance. The friends and family of Shu Tokita established the prize in memory of his passing from leukemia, five years after graduating from Wesleyan. For him, literature was a pursuit that spoke to his life, one from which he drew both insight and strength. The award focuses on supporting students of color, for whom the study of literature is often considered a luxury. Awarded to one or two sophomores and/or juniors who demonstrate a clear commitment to literature, the prize is usually $1,500 per year for the remainder of their time at Wesleyan. The recipient(s) of the Shu Tokita Prize will receive the annual award at the start of the following fall semester, that is, for their junior and/or senior year(s), with the hope to encourage the recipients to share their insights and wisdom with their communities. Current Wesleyan student winners of the Shu Tokita Prize are Irmina Benson ’21, Ericka Ekhator ’21, Jake Kwon ’21, Jade Tate ’22 and Mosab Hamid '22.



  1. Any domestic student of color (U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or undocumented student) who is a full-time Wesleyan sophomore or junior and is African American, Asian/Pacific American, Latino/a American, or Native American, is eligible to apply. The applicant must be in need of substantial financial aid.
  2. The applicant's major or focus of study must be in literature. Applicants may be affiliated with the following departments: English, College of Letters, other language/literature departments, or area studies, e. g., East Asian Studies concentrating on Chinese or Japanese literature.



The selection is based on the submitted 750-word essay on one of two topics, and on financial need, and not on academic standing.

Shu Tokita Prize--Submission Instructions


The Annie Sonnenblick Writing Award  

Deadline: Wednesday, April 26, 2023

  • The Sonnenblick family has established this award in memory of Annie Sonnenblick, a member of the Wesleyan class of 1980, who took great pleasure in literature and the creative arts.  The award provides up to $4,000 to a junior who wishes to undertake a nonfiction writing project during the summer between junior and senior year.
  • Applicants should send a description of their proposed writing project to be completed during the summer between their junior and senior years. The proposal should include a budget with estimated expenses, as well as why the applicant needs $4,000 in order to do the project. Applicants should mention previous writing training, reading, and research. Previous winners have written short fiction, collections of poetry, and nonfiction projects such as biographical sketches and studies of places. The completed project and a report on spending will be due Sept. 15, 2023 and will be reviewed by one or several faculty members and donors.
  • 2023 Applications are due Wednesday, APRIL 26, 2023 BY 4:30 PM.
  • Your project proposal should contain the following information:
    • Cover Sheet: Title of Project, Name, WesID, Class Year, Major 
    • Explanation of Project: 2-page double-spaced description; if you do not receive the Sonnenblick Prize, what if anything would prevent you from completing the project?
    • Itemized Budget: a detailed list of expenses with a request for a specific sum.
    • Sample of written work (15 page maximum): this may be a creative or academic work, which ever best shows your preparation for the project you are proposing.
    • Names of two Faculty References (written recommendations not necessary)
  • Complete the Google Doc Application Form below and upload your submission as indicated here.
    • Electronic submissions are preferred in PDF or RTF format
    • Save as one file with the following file name: Last name_First Initial--Sonnenblick (Example: McNeff_J--Sonnenblick)
  • Other Information:
    • Please email Jeanne McNeff, jmcneff@wesleyan.edu with any questions.
    • Awards will be announced by early May.
    • If awarded the prize, a report on your project is due on September 15, 2023.

Sonnenblick Application Form



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.

Olin Fellowship

Deadline: Monday, April 3, 2023

For first years, 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. 

Olin Fellowship--Submission Instructions


Winchester Fellowship

Deadline: Monday, April 3, 2023

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. The maximum award is $5,000.

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. Wesleyan graduates may apply and be awarded a fellowship up to two times. The time lapsed between graduation and application is not a determining factor.

Winchester Fellowship--Submission Instructions


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.


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. No application necessary.