Writing Awards

The Writing and Literature Degree Program
Eleventh Annual English Department James Tolan* Awards for Students


Winners of the 2021 Awards

  • Maya Wong, Grand Prize Poetry, “Amid a Pandemic”
  • Christopher Edwards, Grand Prize Creative Non-Fiction, “My Body”
  • Karen Escalona, Grand Prize Drama, “Marbles”
  • Michelle Adlin, Second Place Fiction, “Don’t Leave Me”
  • Crystal K. Foster, Second Place Creative Non-Fiction, “Out of Shape”
  • Keshawna Mooney, Third Place Scholarship, “Lolita: The Unknowingly Irresponsible Girl Child”
  • Rachel Sult, Third Place Scholarship, “The Bodily Nature of Trauma in Hiroshima Mon Amour
  • Gerald Jeter, Honorable Mention for Drama (“Arduna Chatmon Must Change”) and Poetry (“The Caterpillar’s Tirade,” “What Else?” and “Self”)
  • Hava Munishor, Honorable Mention Fiction, “Guilty”

Students in the BMCC Writing and Literature degree program can apply for annual awards of up to $1,000*

Submissions are invited in the following areas**:

  • Academic Writing: includes critical essays and research papers
  • Journalism: includes feature writing and news writing
  • Creative Writing: includes Poetry, Fiction, Drama, and Autobiography

News and Feature writing submissions should be between 1,000-2,500 words
Critical essay and research paper submissions should be between 2,000-5,000 words
Fiction autobiography submissions should be between 2,000-5,000 words
Poetry submissions should be between 3-8 poems
Drama submissions should be one full-length play or 2-3 one-act plays

To qualify for an award you must:

  • Have completed 12 credits by February 28, 2021
  • Be a Writing and Literature major
  • Have a 3.0 average in English courses
  • Submit original writing in one or more of the above categories
  • Complete a cover sheet, available at 2021 James Tolan Awards Submission Cover Sheet.

Deadline for Submissions: February 28, 2021
Awards Ceremony: April 22, 2021
No late submissions will be accepted.

*  Because the awards are funded by the BMCC English Department Faculty and run through the BMCC Fund, students must have their Bursar’s bills paid in full.  Otherwise, award monies will be used first to settle accounts with the college.

** Awards will be based on writing excellence.

The number and dollar amounts of the awards will be determined by members of the Writing and Literature Degree Program Committee.

Awards will not necessarily be granted in each category.

For additional information, contact Professor Nancy Derbyshire at nderbyshire@bmcc.cuny.edu.

*  The Faculty Writing Awards for students were renamed in 2018 in honor of Professor James Tolan.

English Department

199 Chambers Street, Room N-751
New York, NY 10007
Phone: (212) 220-8270

Office Hours:
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