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Undergraduate Creative Writing Symposium: Submissions and Self-Nominations

The Undergraduate Writing Symposium provides an opportunity for Vanderbilt to celebrate the achievements of its undergraduate students.

Call for Creative Writing Self-Nominations and Submissions

In Spring 2023, the Undergraduate Creative Writing Symposium, held again this year in conjunction with the Undergraduate Creative Expression Showcase, will celebrate the creative endeavors of undergraduate students across the university. The event will take place on Thursday, April 13.

Creative writing pieces, including those written by first-year students, completed during the 2022 calendar year are eligible to compete for a place in this year’s event.

Advanced creative writing projects, including Immersion projects, will also be considered and may be completed or still in progress during the 2022-2023 academic year. Students need only to submit a selection from their work, meeting the submission criteria below. A full draft is not required.

To nominate your creative writing or to submit a piece nominated by an instructor, please fill out the Creative Writing Submission Form.

Creative Writing Submission Guidelines

The Submission / Self-Nomination Process

Please be aware that our submission / self-nomination process will ask for two short pieces of writing to accompany the piece of writing to be considered:

  1. A brief description of the writing project to be used in the online symposium program
  2. A short reflection on this year’s theme, “Writing as Discovery”. We will invite you to reflect on the ways in which writing this piece led you to unexpected connections and insights, to see yourself, your writing process, or your topic in a new light, and/or otherwise served as an opportunity for intellectual and/or personal discovery.

Multiple Modes of Participation in the Creative Writing Showcase

Accepted works will be presented in an online gallery during the event, and writers will have the opportunity to discuss their work through Author Talks scheduled during the event itself.

A smaller number of authors will be invited to read or perform their submissions as part of the virtual event.

Word Limit

Please note that there is a 3,500 word limit for creative writing pieces submitted for consideration.

Pieces longer than 3,500 words will not be considered for inclusion in the Symposium. Please keep advanced project selections to the 3,500 word limit.

If selected for presentation, papers will be need to be edited to 7-8 pages of text or 15 minutes of presentation time. (For multimodal works selected, we will work with students to decide the best way to display or share each piece.)


Submission files should be Word Documents (.docx preferred). Please include your name in the file name, while removing all identifying marks (name, class, professor, etc) from the document and the header.

Digital Compositions Welcome

The submission form includes instructions for submitting writing project with multimedia components. (If removing identifiers from such projects proves difficult or impossible, we understand and will adapt our review process accordingly.)

Two Entries per Student Maximum

Each student may submit up to two of their own projects, which includes both faculty-nominated and self-nominated pieces for the Undergraduate Creative Writing Symposium. However, students may also submit pieces to the Undergraduate Writing Symposium as well, utilizing the guidelines for that event.

To nominate your writing or to submit a piece nominated by an instructor, please fill out the Creative Writing Submission Form.

Critical Deadlines and Dates (Spring 2023)

  • Friday, January 13: Deadline for Faculty Nominations
  • Friday, January 20 (noon): Deadline for Submissions (applies to faculty- and self-nominated works)
  • Thursday, April 13: Undergraduate Creative Writing Symposium* and Creative Expression Showcase

(*Please note that you must be available to present in person in order to participate.)

Questions or technical issues?

Please contact Beth Estes, Academic Support Coordinator.