The Adamson Awards
An annual highlight of the Department of English is the Adamson Student Creative Writing Awards.
Run by the Creative Writing program, the Adamson Awards are presented for student excellence in fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, and are open to undergraduate students throughout the Carnegie Mellon University community. Student pieces are judged by professional writers, and to add to the sense of celebration, a prominent writer is invited to be the special guest speaker at the annual Awards.
In 1983, Clarence H. Adamson, a graduate of Carnegie Tech, gave Carnegie Mellon University and the Department of English several gifts in memory of his wife, Pauline, who had died three years earlier. One of these gifts was the Adamson Scholarship for undergraduate women majoring in English. Another was the Adamson Awards for Writing and a fund for the support of an annual series of lectures by distinguished authors. And another was the Pauline B. Adamson Wing in Baker Hall, where the Adamson Awards ceremony is held every spring. The gifts were intended by Mr. Adamson as testimonials to the 35 years of companionship he shared with his wife and to her interest in education, language, and literature. The Adamson Awards are intended to encourage students to pursue excellence in writing. The awards are open to undergraduate students only.
2024 Adamson Awards Submission Deadline
Monday, March 25, 2024
What Can You Submit and What Are the Guidelines?
There are three categories for which you can submit your work.
1. Nonfiction Stories/Essays
IMPORTANT: Please include the name of the category you are submitting to before the title of your piece.
Example: Nonfiction: "What It Means to Write"
Example: Fiction: "Midnight Train"
Example: Poetry: "Acid Rain and Other Poems"
How to Submit Your Work
By the posted deadline, you will submit your work to an online portal, which will be made public on this webpage in mid-Spring semester each year.
Other Important Details
The Awards are open to all currently enrolled undergraduate students at Carnegie Mellon University, regardless of major or minor.
All submissions must be typed and all work must be original. All previous winning submissions for any of the awards offered by the English Department are ineligible. You may submit work in multiple categories, however, you may submit only one entry per category. Entries cannot be returned.
Outside judges appointed by the Awards Committee of the English Department evaluate entries and choose the winners.
At the discretion of the judges, monetary awards plus one honorable mention are given to undergraduate students in each category—nonfiction (essays and articles for popular or literary journals), fiction, and poetry.
Presentation of Prizes
The Adamson Awards presentation ceremony typically takes place near the end of each Spring semester. Details will be posted here in mid-March 2024.
Winners are not notified ahead of time, so you should plan to attend the event if you submitted any of your work.
- First Prize Adamson Award: Gaia Rajan
- Second Prize Adamson Award: Annie Nguyen
- Third Prize Adamson Award: Divya Krishnan
- First Prize Adamson Award: Sophia Levin
- Second Prize Adamson Award: Ashni Mathuria
- Third Prize Adamson Award: Yoori Kim
- First Prize Adamson Award: Ashni Mathuria
- Second Prize Adamson Award: Wendy Kuhn
- Third Prize Adamson Award: Mengdie Lie
Adamson Award Ceremony Speakers
|Tyehimba Jess (scheduled)
|CMU Creative Writing Students
|CMU Creative Writing Students
|Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum
|Tracy K. Smith
|Andre Dubus III
|K. C. Constantine
|Colleen J. McElroy
|Philip Levine & Gerald Stern