BYU Studies contests are open to BYU graduates, BYU graduate students, full-time BYU employees, and subscribers to BYU Studies Quarterly. Employees of BYU Studies, members of the editorial and advisory boards, and their immediate families may not enter. Current BYU undergraduate students are likewise not eligible for this contest but are encouraged to submit their work to other contests sponsored by the university. References above to “BYU” include BYU–Idaho and BYU–Hawaii.

Authors who received an essay award in 2020 are ineligible to participate in the essay contest in 2021. Likewise, authors who received a poetry award in 2020 are ineligible to participate in the poetry contest in 2021.


All entries must be received by email or postmarked on or before January 31, 2021.


Judging will be blind. Contest submissions should not include the name of the author. The judges reserve the right to withhold any award if no entry merits the ratings established.

Cover Letter

Entries should be accompanied by a cover page that includes:

Submissions without the requested cover page and information will be rejected unread.

Right of First Refusal

BYU Studies has the right of first refusal to publish all entries. We do not accept poems or essays that have been published or are under consideration elsewhere, that have previously won any award from another contest, or that may be the property of another publisher. Do not simultaneously submit your poem or essay to our contests and to any other writing contest. Authors may not submit contest entries for consideration to any other contest or publication until BYU Studies contest results are announced or until receiving confirmation that the poem will not be published in BYU Studies Quarterly. As a general policy, poems and essays published in BYUSQ are chosen from contest entries.


No Identifying Information

Neither the name of the author nor any other identifying information should appear in the poems or essays themselves, including document headers and footers.

Font and Graphics

Please use a plain font, and do not include photographs or other graphics as part of your poem or essay. You may indicate in the submission form if you have appropriate graphics to add to your entry in the event that it is chosen for publication.

Contest-Specific Guidelines

Richard H. Cracroft Personal Essay Contest Rules

Clinton F. Larson Poetry Contest Rules

We ask those who wish to enter our essay contest to first read “Writing a Personal Essay for BYU Studies.” This information not only explains the basic concept and structure of the personal essay but will also help contributors understand the religious element that should be present in essays written for BYU Studies Quarterly. Do not, however, submit essays that teach doctrinal matters without the context of a personal narrative. We are not looking for sacrament meeting talks or doctrinal expositions. You may also find it valuable to read some personal essays previously published in BYU Studies Quarterly. The following essays should illustrate both the general structure of a personal essay and the diversity this literary form permits: An individual may submit up to three entries. Each entry must not exceed 3,000 words (roughly 10 double-spaced pages).

Poets may submit up to three poems for consideration. For publication formatting reasons, poems should not exceed thirty-five lines, not including the title but including lines between stanzas.

A wide variety of subject matter is encouraged. Religious themes are welcome, but not required.

If you have any questions

Please call the BYU Studies staff at (801) 422-6691 or send us an email: