Student Literary Contest of the Beall Poetry Festival

Awards For Best Original Work in Poetry and Fiction

Submission Deadline: February 29, 2020


Winners will be announced on March 25, 2020


The Department of English at Baylor University offers many awards and prizes to recognize outstanding creative writing by undergraduate and graduate students. Entries will be judged by professional poets and authors.

Entry Procedure

The student literary contest of the Beall Poetry Festival is open to all undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled at Baylor. You may submit work that you have submitted to other contests. Qualified applicants may submit either or both of the following:

  •    One poetry entry (not exceeding 2 pages)
  •    One fiction entry (not exceeding 25 pages)

Your name must not appear on your entry. Instead, please list your name, ID number, telephone number, and e-mail address on a separate cover sheet. To submit, email your piece(s) to by the deadline. Entries will be considered for all eligible prizes.


Undergraduate Prizes



First place: American Academy of Poets - Virginia Beall Ball Prize $200

Virginia Beall Ball (BA, 1940), a generous philanthropist and patron of the arts, founded the Beall Poetry Festival in 1994 to encourage the writing and appreciation of poetry. The three-day event brings internationally renowned poets to Waco. Ball also endowed the Beall-Russell Lectures in the Humanities at Baylor in 1982. She received honorary doctorates from Baylor and three other universities in recognition of her dedication to the arts and humanities. 

Second place: Poetry in the Arts - Dr. Robert G. Collmer Prize $100

Dr. Robert G. Collmer (1926-2018) was Distinguished Professor of English at Baylor.  He served as chair of the Department of English from 1973 to 1979 and as dean of graduate studies from 1979 to 1992.  He received his BA in English from Baylor in 1948, his MA in English from Baylor in 1949, and his PhD in English from the University of Pennsylvania in 1953.  He is a widely published scholar, specializing in English literature of the seventeenth century, particularly John Donne and John Bunyan, as well as the South American writer Jorge Luis Borges.

Third place: Poetry in the Arts - Dr. Jesse T. Airaudi Prize $100

Dr. Jesse T. Airaudi Prize is named for a department member who was instrumental in organizing House of Poetry events on the eve of the Beall Poetry Festival. He served the department from 1976-2014. Dr. Airaudi's love of the word, his quick wit, stunning word play and passion for the poetry of Byron and Yeats, particularly, are remembered fondly.


Fourth Place: The House of Poetry Prize $50

This prize is named for a spring event gives voice to local and regional poets who enjoy reading their poetry and talking about the craft. House of Poetry participants read from a booklet of poems submitted in advance; activities include informal discussions of poetry during breaks and two one-hour workshops given by guest presenters and focus on techniques for writing poetry. Presenters are recognized poets from the region and have included Texas poet laureates.



First Place: Dorothy Scarborough Prize $100
Second Place: Dorothy Scarborough Prize $50

Dorothy Scarborough (1873-1935) earned both her B.A. (1896) and M.A. (1899) in English from Baylor University. She taught several courses in the Baylor English Department while also taking classes towards her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. She eventually received her Ph.D. in 1917 from Columbia University, where she began teaching courses and became an associate professor by 1931. A prolific author, Scarborough published collections of poetry and folk songs, monographs, and short stories during her career.


Graduate Prizes


Poetry and Fiction

Poetry in the Arts - Dr. James E. Barcus Prize $100

This award is named in honor of the late Dr. James E. Barcus, a 37-year faculty member at Baylor, chair of English from 1980 to 1996, and graduate program director from 2010 to 2015.  Through his deep and abiding appreciation of poetry, Dr. Barcus indelibly touched the lives of innumerable students.

Fiction - Dorothy Scarborough Prize $75