Student Literary Contest of the Beall Poetry Festival

Awards For Best Original Work in Poetry and Fiction


The Department of English at Baylor University offers many awards and prizes to recognize outstanding creative writing by undergraduate and graduate students. Learn about past winners and make a plan to achieve excellence in your course of study.

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 3 pages)
  •    One fiction entry (not exceeding 20 pages)

On your entry, please write only the title. Please list your name, ID number, telephone number, and e-mail address on a separate cover sheet. Please submit 2 copies of each entry to the English Department Office, Carroll Science Building, Room 106. Entries will be considered for all eligible prizes.

Winners will be announced during the annual festival.


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 is named for our colleague who 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










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

Graduate Prizes


Poetry and Fiction

Poetry in the Arts - Dr. James E. Barcus Prize $100
Fiction - Dorothy Scarborough Prize $75