BYU Studies

Essay Contest

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 Personal Essay Contest

1st place: No award given
2nd place: "I Am Not a Writer," by Katherine Cowley
3rd place: No award given
Honorable Mention: "Al Hazen Research Institute," by James Thorne

We are happy to announce the BYU Studies Personal Essay Contest for 2014.

Prizes for the BYU Studies Personal Essay Contest

1st place: $300
2nd place: $200
3rd place: $100
Honorable Mention: $50

The contest is open to BYU graduates, BYU employees, and regular subscribers to BYU Studies. Members of the BYU Studies Arts and Sciences Editorial Board, current referees, and their immediate families may not enter the contest.

Authors who received a BYU Studies Personal Essay award last year are ineligible to submit in the current year.

All entries must be received or postmarked on or before December 31, 2013.

General rules
We ask those who wish to enter our essay contest to first read "Writing a Personal Essay for BYU Studies" which explores briefly the literary style of the essay. 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. You may also find it valuable to read some personal essays previously published in BYU Studies. 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).

Entries should be accompanied by a cover page that includes the authorís name and all relevant contact information. The cover letter should also include the year of the author's graduation from BYU with college and degree, the authorís position if employed at BYU, or a statement that the entrant subscribes to BYU Studies. List each contest entry by title on the cover page. Please include a paper copy of each essay as well as a digital file of the material on CD if submitting by regular mail. If submitting by email (preferred), please attach a separate file for each entry to the email. We can only accept files in either a Word (.doc) or WordPerfect (.wpd) format.

Neither the name of the author nor any other identifying information should appear on the copies of the essay(s). Entries will not be returned.

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

To submit by email, attach your entry materials and include "Personal Essay Contest Entry" in the subject line. Send to:

To submit by regular mail, send cover letter and two copies of the work(s), one on paper and one on CD to:

Essay Contest
BYU Studies
1063 JFSB
Provo, Utah, 84602

Judging will be blind. The judges reserve the right to withhold any award if no entry merits the ratings established.

If you have any questions:
Please call the BYU Studies staff at (801) 422-6691, write to the address above, or send us an email: