University of Rhode Island Writing Award

The 2020 University of Rhode Island Writing Award celebrates the best writing produced by URI students. Both undergraduates and graduates are welcome to submit work (distinct awards at each level will be made). Awards will recognize student work that has an impact; understands audience, purpose, and form; and demonstrates rigor and precision. Writing of any length may be submitted; short forms are as welcome as long ones. An award of up to $1,000 will be made in each category. 


The Award is now closed to further submissions.

Thank you to all who submitted! Winners will be announced in early May.


  • Advocacy: Writing that gets things done, that makes a case, that changes the world/community. Judges in this category will look particularly for how the writing persuades its audience about a significant issue.
  • Scholarly/ Research: Writing that uses primary and/or secondary sources to pursue a line of inquiry. Judges in this category will look particularly for depth of scholarship, professional presentation, and rigor.
  • Science Writing: Writing that explains scientific ideas/issues to educate and inform the general public. Judges in this category will look particularly for accessibility, clarity, and relevance.
  • Creative: Writing accepted under either subcategory: (a) non-fiction (b) fiction. Judges in this category will look particularly for inventiveness, insight, and craft.


Writers will submit (1) the writing artifact and (2) a context statement.

Eligibility and Contest Rules

  • The judges will consider writing produced by any student, submitted for credit in spring, summer, or fall semester of 2020; or written outside of a course (for an external project, community work, etc) in 2020.
  • Only one entry per student. Students must choose one category in which to enter their work. If you are unsure which category applies, contact the Award administrator. Judges reserve the right to consider it under a different category.
  • Co-authored works may be submitted in any category. Co-authors will be contacted to confirm their agreement to the contest terms. Any awards granted will be split equally among co-authors.
  • Submissions are due by 5 pm on March 1, 2021 here.
  • Students will complete an entry form at the above link. Students should submit (a) a copy of their work and (b) a Context Statement giving some context to the writing submitted. 
  • Context Statement: please provide some background to the writing submission. For example, explain how your writing meets the description of the category to which you are submitting; describe where and how the submission was developed; describe what has resulted from this writing (recognition, action, etc.).
  • Students will attest on the entry form that the work they are submitting is their own work, and that they grant permission for their work to be published by URI for promotional purposes. Students will retain copyright to their work.
  • In the event that a high standard is not met by entries in any category, judges reserve the right to withhold awards in that category for that year.
  • Submitted work need not be identical to the version of the work that was submitted for class credit or for any outside purpose. Students are welcome and strongly encouraged to further revise their work in consultation with the Undergraduate and Graduate Writing Centers before entering.


If you have any questions about the process, please contact Writing Across URI at Download a PDF of these instructions here.

Award announcements

Results of the competition will be announced in April 2021.