Second Annual Carson McCullers Literary Awards For Student Writers

Cash Awards for High School and College Writers of Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction and Essay

Columbus State University’s Department of English will celebrate exceptional student writing this spring with the second annual Carson McCullers Literary Awards for Georgia high school and CSU students, offering $1,000 in cash awards and publication for the most outstanding poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and expository writing. Sponsored by CSU’s English Department at Columbus State University, submissions will be accepted until Feb. 1.

“As the birthplace of such great authors as Flannery O’Connor, Alice Walker, Harry Crews and, of course, Carson McCullers, Georgia has a rich literary tradition, and we want to foster it for generations to come,” said Carmen Skaggs, chair of CSU’s English Department. “The Carson McCullers Literary Awards is an annual celebration of talent and skill, and it’s our hope that they’ll enrich the vibrant literary tradition in Columbus and across the state.”

Awards will be given in four categories:

  • The Brick Road Greear Prize for Poetry

  • The Paul Hackett Award for Creative Nonfic­tion

  • The Orlene Jones Poulsen Award for Fiction

  • The Naartjie Multimedia Award for Expository Writing.

Each cat­egory will have four awards (two for CSU students and two for Georgia high school students): First place includes $150 and publication in Arden, CSU’s award-winning literary journal; Honorable Mention win­ners will receive $100. Entries are due by Feb. 1, and winners will be announced in early March. On April 13, CSU will hold an awards reception and dinner featuring poet Noah Blaustein, during which the winners will receive their prizes.

Prose guidelines: 2,500-word limit, 12-point font, double-spaced. Po­etry guidelines: up to three poems.

Students may submit once in each cat­egory. There is no entry fee (students must either be registered for classes at CSU or attend a Georgia high school). En­tries must be submitted as Word or PDF documents through CSU’s website:

These awards are named for Carson Mc­Cullers who was born Lula Carson Smith in Columbus, Georgia, on February 19, 1917. Most famous for her novels The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Reflections in a Golden Eye, The Member of the Wedding, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, and Clock Without Hands, McCullers was also a playwright and a short story writer. Her small but significant body of work includes five novels, two plays, twen­ty short stories, over two dozen nonfiction pieces, a book of children’s verse, a small number of poems, and an unfinished auto­biography. She died in 1967 at age 50.

For further information about the awards, please contact: Dr. Carmen Skaggs, De­partment Chair, English at 706-569-2583 or