Annual Writing Contests

Each year, the Department of English holds three writing contests for LSSU undergraduates: the LSSU Short Story Contest, and two contests for the best papers written in the previous calendar year in ENGL 110 and ENGL 111. Rules, directions for entering, and deadlines are listed below.

Here to learn more about our poetry scholarship? The Osborn Poetry Prize is endowed separately from the Annual Writing Contests. Starting in the 2017-2018 academic year, the Osborn Poetry Prize will follow a different pay structure and eligibility rules from those listed here. You can read more about the poetry scholarship here.

Did you know about the English Club? Contact Mary McMyne, advisor, to learn more at mmcmyne (at) lssu (dot) edu.

LSSU Short Story Award ($100 prize)

This contest is open annually to any student at LSSU who submits up to two stories during the submissions period (December 1-March 31). Stories can be fiction or nonfiction. Each story must have a title. All entries must be e-mailed and sent as attachments to . In the e-mail, mention your story title(s) and student number. In the file attachment, include only your student number and address on the top left-hand corner of the first page. Do not include your name. Put “LSSU Story Contest ” in the email title. There are no restrictions on subject or style. The judges reserve the right not to award any prizes. Submission of your entry is considered permission to publish it in an LSSU student journal and/or on the English website.

The winner of this contest is selected anonymously each year by a panel of judges.

2019 Winners (in alphabetical order)

For the first time in recent contest history, the judges had difficulty choosing between two very different, very accomplished stories. This year, we are awarding two LSSU Short Story Awards. Both winners will receive a $100 prize.

Elizabeth Garavaglia, “Asexual Awakening”
Amy Lehigh, “Narrative” 

2019 Finalists
Kayleigh Harnden, “The Day My Father Died”
Genevieve Smith, “The Thereminist Takes Requests”
Dylan Wyatt, “The Enemy of Fear”

Best ENGL 111 Paper ($100 prize)

For this contest, the judges look for a research paper written in ENGL 111 at LSSU that demonstrates an ability to develop a clear and sustained argument using your own ideas as well as college-level sources. To submit, email your essay to , with the subject title “Best ENGL 111 Paper.” The deadline is March 1 of the year after the year in which the paper was written. In the text of your email, list the title, the semester the paper was written, the name of your professor, and your own name with contact information (address, email, and phone). Please do not put identifying information on the entry file itself; only a title. The judges reserve the right not to award any prizes.

The winner of this contest was selected anonymously by a panel of judges.

Best ENGL 111 Paper Contest ($100 prize)
2018 WINNER:
Fixated on a Flower by Whitney Drenth with Dr. Louann Disney
Runners Up:
The Modern Pandemic: Y. pestis in Sub-Saharan Africa by Karalyn Jobe with Dr. Louann Disney
Misrepresentation of Female Characters in Movies by Jocelynn Burtch with Prof. Kathleen Connors
Finalists:
The Impact Sexual Behavior Portrayed in the Media has on Adolescents by Eileene Naniseni with Dr. Louann Disney
Fish Stocking in Michigan: The Unseen Importance by Kaitlyn A Fisher with Dr. Louann Disney
Development of Skills through Peer-Mediated Interactions by Sidney Wilkins with Dr. Louann Disney
The Impacts of Breastfeeding in Comparison to Formula by Michaela Garner with Dr. Louann Disney

Best ENGL 110 Papers ($50 personal essay, $50 critical essay)

For the personal essay contest, the judges look for a personal essay written in an ENGL 110 class at LSSU that demonstrates a clear purpose and develops that purpose in a thoughtful style. For the critical essay contest, the judges look for a critical essay (argumentative, analytical, explicative, etc.) written in an ENGL 110 class that demonstrates a clear purpose and develops that purpose in a thoughtful style. To submit, email an essay to , with the subject title “Best ENGL 110 Paper: Personal” or “Best ENGL 110 Paper: Critical.” The deadline is March 1 of the year after the year in which the paper was written. Students may submit one essay in each category. Please send a separate email for each entry. In the text of your email, list the title of the essay, your own name with contact information (address, email, and phone), the name of your ENGL 110 professor, and the semester the paper was written. Please do not put identifying information on the entry file itself; only a title. The judges reserve the right not to award any prizes.

The winners of this contest were selected anonymously by a panel of judges.

ENGL 110 Best Critical Paper Contest ($50 prize)
WINNER:
Maternity Leave in the USA by Emilee Kennedy with Prof. Julie Barbour

Runners Up:

American Division-The Star Spangled Banner by Zander Park with Prof. Jillena Rose
Rhambo by Natalie Nowak with Prof. Tyler Dettloff
Other Finalists:
Rap: Romanticism Redefined by Tristen Mysen with Prof. Kathleen Connors
Social Ramifications of New Gender Theory by Andre James with Prof. Shirley Smart
Watchdog by Isaac Anderson with Prof. Tyler Dettloff

ENGL 110 Best Personal Essay Contest ($50 prize)
WINNER:
Chance by Natalie Nowak with Prof. Tyler Dettloff
Finalists:
When Scars Become Memories by Zander Park with Prof. Jillena Rose
How the Game of Sport Changed My Life by Steph Del Bosco with Prof. Shirley Smart
A Humble Household’s Hearth by Jeremy Turnbow with Prof. Dettloff

Past Winners

2017-2018

LSSU SHORT STORY CONTEST

WINNER: Genevieve Smith, for “A Very Brief Tale of a Most Unfortunate Fate”

RUNNER UP:
Taylor Worsham, for “What January Brings”

FIRST-YEAR WRITING BEST PAPER CONTESTS

ENGL 111 Best Paper Contest:
Nicole Arkens, for “Innocence Lost: A Research Paper Conducted on the Sexualization of Minors”

RUNNERS UP:
Kent Barlow, for “An Evaluation of Renewable Energy Production in the Midwestern United States”
Madelyn Collia, for “Dance and Movement Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder”
Brandon Gage, for “An Analysis of the Adventure Industries of Michigan and New Zealand”
MaKaila Marrison, for “The Double Standard and Hillary Clinton”

ENGL 110 PERSONAL ESSAY
Jessica Orazietti, for “Apprehensively in Love”

RUNNER UP:
Kali Henke, for “Broken Savageness”

ENGL 110 CRITICAL ESSAY
Jessica Orazietti, for “Casual Killing”

RUNNERS UP:
Jennifer Campbell, for “Is Survival Sufficient?”
Brendan Lukomsi, for “Passive Thesis Writing: Turning the Argument on its Head”
Aysha Scarton, for “Station Eleven through the Eyes of Criminal Justice”

2016-2017

Stellanova Osborn Poetry Award

Winner: “At Ten I was an Astronomer,” Destinee Bruce

Runner Up: “Ruination,” Makaelynn Marten
Finalist: “Stay,” Elizabeth Enos
Finalist: “Just in Case You Were Wondering,” Mary Sonnabend
Finalist: “Prisoner of My Cranium,” Alexis Woodward

LSSU Short Story Award

Winner: “The Diaper,” Jenny ‘Ana’ Robbins

Runner Up: “The Four Horsemen,” Paige Cavaness
Runner Up: “Inkless Tattoo,” Devin Hartman
Finalist: “Deadline,” Elizabeth Enos
Finalist: “Chloe,” Jana Tahtinen
Finalist: “Peck Street,” Grace Williams
Finalist: “Managua at Night,” Clay Winowiecki

Best 111 Paper

Winner: “Loving the Alien: an Analysis of David Bowie’s Spiritual Evolution,” Daniel Foix

Best 110 Paper

Winner: “On Natural Morality,” Mel Gilbertson

2015-2016

2016 Stellanova Osborn Poetry Award

Winner selected by Jessica Care Moore: “Dad Worries” by Adam Uhrig
Runner Up: “In the Cabin” by Charlotte Mazurek

2016 LSSU Short Story Award

Winner selected by Jessica Care Moore: “01101101 01110101 01110011 01101001 01100011” by Daisy Fentiman
Runner Up: “Love Story” by Jenny ‘Ana’ Robbins

Best ENGL 111 Paper

Winner: “Psychology of Goaltending in Ice Hockey” by Gordon Joseph Defiel

Best ENGL 110 Papers

Personal Essay Winner: “Mopping with Love” by Molly Campbell
Critical Essay Winner: “Wind Energy: Risk vs. Reward” by Molly Campbell

2014-2015

2015 Stellanova Osborn Poetry Award

Winner selected by Ellen Airgood: Snake by Cornelia Hobbs

2015 LSSU Short Story Award

Winner selected by Ellen Airgood: Dream Eater by Katie Murray

Best 111 Paper

Winner: Stephanie Spray, “Effects of PTSD in Military Personnel After Deployment to Iraq”

Best 110 Papers

Personal Essay Winner: Scarlett Hermann, “Going Back”
Critical Essay Winner: Olivia Guillard, “Technology in the Classroom”

Best 091 Paper

Winner: Alexis Donovan, “Why Children Should Be Involved in Sports”

2013-2014

2014 Stellanova Osborn Poetry Award

Winner selected by Joseph Haske: “I Long to See the Day” by Daisy Fentiman

2014 LSSU Short Story Award

Winner selected by Joseph Haske: “Five Years” by Daisy Fentiman

Best ENGL 111 Paper

Winner: Lindsey McCullough, “Japanese for English Speakers”

Best ENGL 110 Papers

Personal Essay Winner: Charles Hunter, “That’s the Ticket”
Critical Essay Winner: Jennifer Fredericks, “The Safety of Aspartame”

Best 091 Paper

Winner: Tyler Aikens, “Autism Training in the School System”

2012-2013

2013 Stellanova Osborn Poetry Award

Winner selected by Helen Frost: “Once Upon a Dream” by Michael Krueger

2013 LSSU Short Story Award

Winners selected by Helen Frost (Tie): “Slipping Away” and “Mother of God,” both by Stephen Keller

Best ENGL 111 Paper

Winner: Michael Gordon, “Social Sustainability and China’s One-Child Policy”

Best ENGL 110 Papers

Personal Essay: Winner: Jerusha Lane, “Of Pants and Paragliders”
Critical Essay: Winner: Victoria Steffke, “Grab Some Rubbers: It’s the Law “

Best ENGL 091 Paper

Winner: Scott Pardon, “Criminals Are Not Bad People”

2011-2012

2012 Stellanova Osborn Poetry Award

Winner: John Keller, for “The Phone of Martha Taylor”

2012 LSSU Short Story Contest

Winner: Michael Krueger, for “My Kingdom for a Flower”

Best ENGL 111 Paper

Winner: Johnee Whalen, for “The Problem with Guided Indecision”

Best ENGL 110 Paper

Winner: Alex Guillard, for “Thin is In”