Department of English

O'Dowd Hall, Room 544
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2250
fax: (248) 370-4429

A person holding open a very old book on a table.

Department Awards and Contests

The Department of English annually sponsors three contests: Flash Fiction, for undergraduates and alumni/graduate students; the Ekphrasis Poetry Contest; and the ScreenWriting Contest. For more information, click on the tabs below.

Literary Nonfiction Contest

Congratulations to the 2022 Literary Nonfiction contest winners.

Undergraduate winners:

1st Place:  Malaena Caldwell, "Oil Change"

2nd Place: Brian Gregurich, "Iliad Night at the VFW"

3rd Place (tie): Sonja Wilhelm, "Taylor Swift Predicts My Love Life" and Annie Williams, "Last Session"

Honorable Mentions:

Kaitlyn Piggott, "Sentence of Life"

Jeff Thomas, "Growing up on the Belle"


Graduate/alum/staff winners:

1st Place:  Lucas Jeffrey, "Not Telling You"

2nd Place: Brianne Turczynski, "The Silent Hostess"

3rd Place (tie): Sydney Wendling "Things Inherited" and Melissa St Pierre "A Cracked Ankle is Good Enough"


We want to hear your true stories told in beautiful and innovative ways! Enter the Literary Nonfiction Contest with personal essays about events that have happened to you, or evocative writing about things that fascinate you: cultural commentary, current and historical events, scientific concepts, etc. Literary nonfiction is different from journalism and critical (academic) writing in that is takes an intentionally creative approach to telling stories.

Contest is open to all OU students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Submit one essay of up to 8 double-spaced pages.

Writer’s name must not appear on the essay. Include with entry a separate page with writer’s name, email, and phone number, and the essay title. You must identify yourself as a student, graduate student, faculty, staff, or alum.

Entries must be submitted or postmarked by March 1.

  1. Submit entries in Prof. Susan McCarty’s mail box in the English department mail room on the fifth floor of O’Dowd
  2. Mail entries to: Literary Nonfiction Contest, c/o Susan McCarty, English, 544 O’Dowd, Oakland University, Rochester, MI 48309
  3. Email entry to OUliterarynonfiction@gmail.com

Winning entries will be announced on the OU Creative Writing homepage and Facebook page and winners will be invited to read their work, along with the winners of the Flash Fiction Contest, on March 28, 5-6:30 pm, in Gold Room B of the Oakland Center.

Deadline: March 1

1st Place: $200
2nd Place: $100
3rd Place: $50

Questions? Contact Susan McCarty at smccarty@oakland.edu. Send contest entries to OUliterarynonfiction@gmail.com.

Flash Fiction Contest

Congratulations to the 2022 Flash Fiction contest winners.

Undergraduate contest winners:

1st Place: Jeff Thomas, “Something Missing”

2nd Place: Shannon Waite, “The Perfect Sandwich”

3rd Place: Zach Pedigo, “Jerkface”

Honorary Mention: Rachel Patterson, “A New Blue Day”

Graduate student/alumni contest winners:

1st Place: Theodore G. Bolak, “Another Coat”

2nd Place: Christina Moore, “Burn After Reading”

3rd Place: Shaun Moore, “Burning Letters”

Honorary Mentions: Norene Cashen, “If We Can’t Find Them, No One Can”, Jenifer DeBellis, “i’ll find you”


Requirements:

The Flash Fiction Contest celebrates very short fiction: flash fiction, micro fiction, short-shorts. Stories must be 250-1000 words in length. There are two separate contests, the Undergraduate Contest, open to all OU students who have been enrolled within a year of the contest’s date. The Open Contest is open to everyone who is not an undergrad, including alumni, faculty, graduate students, and staff members.

Entrants may submit as many as three stories. All entries must be typed and double-spaced. The author's name may not appear anywhere on the entries; a separate cover page should contain name, email address, phone number, and the titles of all the stories; a single page may be used to list the titles of multiple entries. Please identify yourself as a student, graduate student, faculty, staff member, or alum, and indicate which contest you’re submitting to.

Deadline: March 1

Entries submission options:

  1. Email to OUFlashFiction@gmail.com  (please include "Flash Fiction Contest – Grad/Alum" or "Flash Fiction Contest - Undergrad" in the subject).
  2. Place entry in Jeff Chapman's mailbox in the English Dept. mail room on the fifth floor of O’Dowd Hall
  3. Mail to Flash Fiction Contest c/o Jeff Chapman, English Dept., 544 O’Dowd Hall, Oakland University, Rochester, MI 48309.

The grand prize award for the Undergraduate Contest is $200, 2nd place is $100, and 3rd place is $50. Three additional prizes of $50 each will be awarded to faculty, staff members, graduate students, and alumni winners of the Open Contest.

Note: only the authors of winning entries will be contacted. Winners are announced via The English Channel email list as well as on Facebook and the English Department website. If you want to add your name to The English Channel email list, please contact Rita Perris, perris@oakland.edu.

Winning stories will be published on the English Department Website and a reading of the winning stories will take place in March.
   

Ekphrasis Poetry Contest

Congratulations to the 2022 poetry contest winners.

Undergraduate Category

1st Place: Kylie Cohen, “God Complex” and “Pig Head Bra”

2nd Place: Annie Williams, “The Living God of Boxing”

3rd Place: Keegan Deloney, “A Lost Coppélia”

Honorable Mentions:

Jeff Thomas, “Edna”

Bijon Stigger, “Balcony Views”


Graduate/Alumnus Category

1st Place: Stefanie Anne Bohde Norlin, “Anne and Billy”

2nd Place: David R. Bowman, “M.C. Escher’s Waterfalls”

3rd Place: Donald Beagle, “A Meditation in Nine I Ching Hexagrams”

Honorable mention: Marshall Stephens, “Shipwreck”

The Ekphrasis Poetry Contest challenges writers to create an evocative poetic description of an art object. The object may be original or a reproduction and may include painting, sculpture, carving, photography, or folk art. The contest is o pen to all OU students, faculty, alumni, and staff members.

Requirements:

You may submit up to three ekphrastic poems. Please include an image of the artwork you are responding to, or at the very least identify the piece that is the basis for each poem.

All poems must be typed. The total length of all three poems, together, should not exceed 100 lines. Name must not be anywhere on the poems, or they won’t be considered. Entry must be accompanied by separate page containing writer’s name, email address and phone number, plus title of the story; a single page may be used to list the titles of multiple entries. Please identify yourself as a student, graduate student, faculty, staff member, or alum.

Deadline: March 1

The formal reading takes place during the Annual Poetry Slam, held on or around Tax Day (see English Department main page). Entries can be emailed to OUEkphrasis@gmail.com, placed in Alison Powell's mailbox in the English Dept. mailroom on the fifth floor of O’Dowd Hall, or mailed to: Ekphrasis Poetry Contest, c/o Alison Powell, English Dept., 544 O’Dowd Hall, Oakland University, Rochester, MI 48309.

The grand prize award for student entries is $200, 2nd place is $100, and 3rd place is $50. Three additional prizes of $50 each will be awarded to faculty, staff members, graduate students, or alumni.

Note: only the authors of winning entries will be contacted; winners announced via The English Channel email list as well as on Facebook and the English Department website. If you want to add your name to The English Channel email list, please contact Rita Perris, perris@oakland.edu. Winning poems will also be published on the English Department Website, and the poets will be invited to read at the Poetry Bash reading.

OU Screenplay Contest

The English Department at Oakland University is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2020 OU Screenplay Contest is Sarah Almi with her script Letter.

Our runner-up this year was a tie between Olivia by Abigail Gray and Silent Night by JC Carroll. 

Congratulations to Sarah, Abigail, and JC on their fantastic screenplays.

We received a number of fantastic submissions this year and the competition was extremely close. Thank you to everyone who submitted a script this year!

OU Screenplay Contest Details

Award Title and Description: The Oakland University Cinema Studies and Creative Writing Programs invite submissions for the Oakland University Screenplay Contest. Entries may focus on any film genre or category. Winning entries will be judged on originality, artistic innovation, and narrative cohesion.

The Screenplay Contest is for short films ranging in page length up to 15 pages maximum.

Formal Requirements:

Screenplays may be full or partial. Clear, consistent screenplay formatting. Submit assignment sheet, if pertinent.

Deadline: March 1

  1. Submit cover sheet identifying your name, OU major and/or minor, and the course for which the screenplay was originally written (if applicable), and title of screenplay.
  2. Please keep your name off the screenplay itself but please have the title of the screenplay in the header of each page.
  3. On title page with your name, Include a brief summary of the screenplay and indicate whether it is original or adapted from a pre-existing source.
  4. You may enter a partial screenplay. If entry represents a partial screenplay, please describe how the submitted scene(s) fit the complete narrative.
  5. Submit entries to the English Dept main office. 544 O’Dowd Hall or Shaerf@oakland.edu.

Winners will be announced on website and Facebook: Oakland English Dept; (only winners will be notified individually of contest results).

Screenplay Award Past Winners

2018 OU Screenplay Award Winners

First Place (tied)
Road Map to Success - Haily Pike
Til Death Do Us Part - Troy Walker

Honorable Mentions
Grandpa - Elizabeth Kovac
I Told You I Don’t Like Boy Bands - Danielle Nicholson