Bennington College has a unique literary legacy, including twelve Pulitzer Prize winners, three U.S. poet laureates, four MacArthur Geniuses, countless New York Times bestsellers, and two of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.
In celebration of this legacy, Bennington launched the Young Writers Awards to promote excellence in writing at the high school level. Our goal with this competition is to recognize outstanding writing achievement by high school students.
Each year, students in the 9th-12th grades are invited to enter in one of the following categories with the following submission:
Poetry: A group of three poems
Fiction: A short story (1,500 words or fewer) or one-act play (run no more than 30 minutes of playing time)
Nonfiction: A personal or academic essay (1,500 words or fewer)
A first, second, and third place winner is selected in each category.
We welcome submissions from both US and international students.
First-place winners in each category are awarded a prize of $500; second-place winners receive $250; third-place winners receive $125.
There is no entry fee
All entries must be original work reviewed, approved and sponsored by a high school teacher. We will use your sponsoring teacher as a contact for the competition should we have any questions. For homeschooled students, please contact a mentor to sponsor your writing.
Young Writers Award finalists and winners are also eligible for undergraduate scholarships at Bennington. YWA finalists who apply, are admitted, and enroll at Bennington will receive a $10,000 scholarship every year for four years, for a total of $40,000. YWA winners who apply, are admitted, and enroll at Bennington will receive a $15,000 scholarship every year for four years, for a total of $60,000.
The competition runs annually from September 3 to November 1. The winning submissions will be posted on the website in mid-April.