Student Literary Prizes

Each year the Cadigan Prize for Younger Writers and the Julia Fonville Smithson Memorial Prize award Bucknell undergraduates for extraordinary poetry and prose.

Cadigan Prize for Younger Writers

The Cadigan Prize for Younger Writers is judged each year by recent contributors to West Branch, Bucknell's professional literary journal, and recognizes outstanding works of poetry and prose by Bucknell undergraduates. First and second place prizes, as well as honorable mentions, are awarded in each of two genres: prose, which includes both fiction and creative nonfiction and poetry. The awards are made possible by the generous support of Robb '86 and Joan Daughen Cadigan '86.


Judges for 2019–20 Cadigan Prizes are Paige Cooper (prose), author of the story collection Zolitude, and Carolyn Hembree (poetry), most recently the author of the poetry collection Rigging a Chevy into a Time Machine and Other Ways to Escape a Plague. Both writers have recently appeared in West Branch.

2019–20 Winners


  • First place: Gari Eberly '21
  • Second place: Ava Boudreau '21
  • Honorable mention: Steven Sedig '20


  • First place: Layla Gordon '20
  • Second place: Emma-Lee Miller '20
  • Honorable mentions: Christian Melgar '23 , Alexandra Schneider '22

Submitting Your Work

Winners are announced in January on Message Center and on the Stadler Center's Facebook page. Winners will be invited to read their work at the Annual Student Reading in April.

Julia Fonville Smithson Memorial Prize

On May 13, 1977, at the age of 23, Julia Smithson '76 died of injuries sustained in an automobile accident. A Bucknell graduate with a major in English, Julia was married to Lowell W. Fritz '76. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Guy Smithson, Jr., of Knoxville, Tenn. Donations made to a fund to perpetuate her memory have enabled the Department of English to establish the Julia Fonville Smithson Memorial Prize, to be awarded annually to students whose dedication to the sharing and the making of literature carries into the future the spirit of Julia Smithson.

For information on submitting to the Smithson Prize, please contact the Department of English.


The winning manuscripts are selected each year by a committee composed of faculty in the Creative Writing Program of the Department of English. The Smithson Prize is administered by the Creative Writing Program.

2019 Winners

Charles Beers '19 and Maxine Charles '19

Annual Student Reading

Each year the Annual Student Reading in April gathers the winners of the Cadigan Prizes for Younger Writers and the Julia Fonville Smithson Memorial Prize for a formal reading in Bucknell Hall. Join us on Thursday, April 23, 2020, at 5 p.m.

Stadler Center for Poetry & Literary Arts


Bucknell Hall