Contests

If you are interested in participating in the BYU Studies essay and poetry contests, please carefully read the following instructions. A large number of entries are immediately rejected because they do not follow these guidelines.

Eligibility

The BYU Studies writing contests are open to all serious writers except employees of BYU Studies, their immediate families, and members of the Editorial Board.

Authors who receive an award are not eligible to compete in that category during the next year’s contest but may enter the other category.

All submissions must be in English and written by the person who submits them.

Deadline

The contest entry form opens on October 1, 2024. The contest deadline is January 31, 2025.

Judging

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.

Judging begins once the contest deadline has passed and takes approximately two months, depending on the number of submissions. We notify all participants of the results by email.

Prizes

Contest winners and finalists will be published in issues of BYU Studies Quarterly during the subsequent year. Prizes will be awarded as follows for both the poetry and essay contests in the following amounts:

First Place: $1,500

Second Place: $1,000

Third Place: $500

Right of First Refusal

Entering a contest indicates that you agree to give BYU Studies the right of first refusal to publish your poem or essay. We do not accept work that has been published or is under consideration elsewhere, that has 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 periodical or writing contest. Authors may not submit contest entries for consideration to any other contest or publication until BYU Studies contest results are announced. In most cases, poems and essays published in BYUSQ are chosen from contest entries.

Formatting

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 Times New Roman, Calibri, Arial, or Helvetica.
  • Do not italicize the entire submission.
  • Do not include photographs or other graphics as part of your poem or essay. If your entry is chosen for publication, you may indicate at that time if you have appropriate graphics.

BYU Studies Contest Winners 2023

Poetry Contest

Winners

First: “Fall Semester, Large Midwestern University” by Kevin Klein

Second: “Ward Choir” by John Alba Cutler

Third: “James Walks Home from Nain” by Robbie Taggart

Finalists

(In alphabetical order)

“Black Sheep” by Merrijane Rice

“Jaredites on the Waves of the Great Deep” by Meg McManama

“Lehi Tries to Explain” by John Alba Cutler

“Lines for the Forgotten Familiar” by Dixie Partridge

“On the Day My Missionary Son Departs” by Darlene Young

“Sariah’s Sons” by Rachel Terry

Essay Contest

Winners will be announced soon!

Winners

First: “She that Showed Him Mercy” by Ellis LeRoy

Second: “Making Mistakes” by Shamae Budd

Third: “Seam Allowance” by Sarah d’Evegnee

Finalists

(In alphabetical order)

“Empty Spaces” by JoLyn Brown

“Gaia” by Christi Leman

“Mother Figures” by Miranda Lotz

“Through a Glass Darkly” by Tiffany Lewis

Contest-Specific Guidelines

BYU Studies Poetry Contest Rules

BYU Studies Personal Essay Contest Rules

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.

We ask those who wish to enter our essay contest to first read “Writing a Personal Essay for the BYU Studies Personal Essay Contest.” 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).

BYU Studies Poetry Contest Rules

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.

BYU Studies Personal Essay Contest Rules

We ask those who wish to enter our essay contest to first read “Writing a Personal Essay for the BYU Studies Personal Essay Contest.” 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).

If you have any questions

Please call BYU Studies at (801) 422-6691 or send us an email: submissions@byu.edu.

BYU Studies Contest Winners 2023

Poetry Contest

Winners

First: Weaving by Christine Bird

Second: To Make the Attempt by Isaac Richards

Third: Mary’s Assumption by Christopher Bissett

Finalists

(In alphabetical order)

Forgiveness by Erik Jacobsen

One Day’s Return, Long Past Childhood by Dixie L. Partridge

Paul Sighs under House Arrest by James Goldberg

Stiff-Necked by Darlene Young

Thoughts, in Threes by Isaac Richards

What If I’d Not Been Raised to Know You? by Darlene Young

Essay Contest

Winners will be announced soon!

Winners

First: Wild Fruit by Victoria Webb Rutherford

Second: Knit Together by Liz Busby

Third: Blessings for Jean by Heather Sundahl

Finalists

(In alphabetical order)

The Baptismal Chair by Ellis William LeRoy, Jr.

The Dance by Michelle Forstrom

Hope on the Hill by Miranda Lotz

A Pillar of Light by Alex Arner