Good writing, it’s been said, is its own reward … but University of Houston undergraduates now have the chance to win a considerable cash award as well.

Starting this fall, the Provost’s Prize — worth $2,500 — will be awarded each semester to the winner of a creative writing competition open to all UH undergraduate students. That’s right — not just English majors and creative writing majors. All undergrads.

Developed by UH’s nationally acclaimed Creative Writing Program (CWP), the Provost’s Prize will recognize the best prose (in the fall) and poetry (in the spring) written by undergraduate students regardless of their major. The idea is to encourage students of all stripes to develop their creative capabilities.

“We are the ‘House that Innovation Built’ and innovation demonstrates itself in many unique ways,” said Provost Paula Myrick Short, whose office is sponsoring the competition. “My hope is this award will inspire our students to explore their own innovative creativity and share their imagination with all of us.”

To be eligible, students must be enrolled at UH during the time of submission and notification of the award. Only one entry is allowed per student. Entries of no more than 10 pages (double-spaced for prose) and containing no more than one piece of writing will be accepted. Entries must be submitted to the Creative Writing Program office by Sept. 1 for the prose competition and by Feb. 1 for the poetry competition.

Winning entries will be published in the fall and spring editions of the University of Houston Magazine. Honorable mentions will be listed. Submissions also may be posted on the University’s website with permission of the writers.

“The Provost’s Prize recognizes the importance and centrality of the arts in a meaningful undergraduate education. It also encourages UH undergraduates to become part of a nationally acclaimed writing community,” said James Kastely, director of UH’s Creative Writing Program. “UH is blessed with an exceptionally talented creative writing faculty, and both UH graduate students and undergraduate students are routinely doing very fine work. This award is yet one more indication of the University’s support for the creative work happening at UH. We hope all undergraduates who have an interest in creative writing will take this award as an opportunity to pursue it.”

Graduate creative writing students will conduct the first round of judging, identifying finalists for each competition. Faculty members in the CWP will select the recipients of the Provost’s Prize.

“The Provost’s Prize will shine a bright light on undergraduate writing at UH,” said Audrey Colombe, creative writing professor and faculty adviser for Glass Mountain, UH’s undergraduate literary journal. “Spring and fall, our students get a remarkable opportunity, and we get to read the results and say ‘Wow!’”

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