Literary Competition Rules

The Samuel Eells Literary & Educational Foundation runs two literary competitions, one for undergraduate students and one for college graduates.

The undergraduate competition is open until June 12, 2018! Winners will be announced in August.

Please click here for the (NEW!) College Graduate Literary Competition rules and application information.

Click on a category to submit your entries to the competition!

2018 Graduate Literary Competition Rules

The Samuel Eells Literary & Educational Foundation Graduate Literary Competition is open to all college graduates associated with SELEF at select schools. There are four distinct categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Photography.  This is the application form for Photography.

  1. The 2018 SELEF Graduate Literary Competition is open to all college graduates associated with SELEF at select schools. All entries must be received by February 1, 2019.
  2. There are four categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Photography.
  3. First prize of $250 in each category is offered in the form of a charitable donation on the award recipient’s behalf. Based on funds available and the number of second and third prizes awarded, amounts up to $100 may be offered for charitable donation on each award recipient’s behalf. Donations must go to a charitable 501(c)(3) organization with a literary or educational mission of the award recipient’s choice. The SELEF Board reserves the right to review the designated charities.
  4. Entries must be originals. Entries should not be signed and should not bear information that could disclose the identity of the entrant. Through the Submittable web entry form, the entrant must provide the following information: title of entry; entrant’s name, address and telephone number; and entrant’s college associated with SELEF and graduation year.  Each submission should be sent via its own Submittable entry form.  
  5. Previously published works are not eligible for entry, except works published in college or university publications. Original material submitted for undergraduate or graduate course work is acceptable. Submit recent works to the competition, rather than items submitted in previous years. No entrant may submit more than five entries in any single category. Photographs must be submitted electronically through Submittable.
  6.  By entering the Literary Competition, all participants assure SELEF that the submitted work is his or her own, and that all sources are correctly referenced. In addition to this, all participants grant the Samuel Eells Literary and Educational Foundation an irrevocable, non-exclusive, non-commercial license to use, reproduce, publish, and distribute selected entries in SELEF promotional material, digital media, and/or a SELEF literary journal. Authors of selected entries will have the opportunity to make non-substantive revisions before publication.
  7. There is no minimum number of submissions required for an award to be made in each category. However, regardless of the number of submissions made, the judges reserve the right not to make an award in any category if they deem that no submissions meet the standards to earn an award. All decisions made by the judges are final and are kept confidential.


If you have any questions, please contact gradlit@samueleells.org.

2018 Graduate Literary Competition Rules

The Samuel Eells Literary & Educational Foundation Graduate Literary Competition is open to all college graduates associated with SELEF at select schools. There are four distinct categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Photography.  This is the form for Fiction, Non-Fiction and Poetry.

  1. The 2018 SELEF Graduate Literary Competition is open to all college graduates associated with SELEF at select schools. All entries must be received by February 1, 2019.
  2. There are four categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Photography.
  3. First prize of $250 in each category is offered in the form of a charitable donation on the award recipient’s behalf. Based on funds available and the number of second and third prizes awarded, amounts up to $100 may be offered for charitable donation on each award recipient’s behalf. Donations must go to a charitable 501(c)(3) organization with a literary or educational mission of the award recipient’s choice. The SELEF Board reserves the right to review the designated charities.
  4. Entries must be originals. Entries should not be signed and should not bear information that could disclose the identity of the entrant. Through the Submittable web entry form, the entrant must provide the following information: title of entry; entrant’s name, address and telephone number; and entrant’s college associated with SELEF and graduation year.  Each submission should be sent via its own Submittable entry form. 
  5. Previously published manuscripts are not eligible for entry, except works published in college or university publications. Original written material submitted for undergraduate or graduate course work is acceptable. Submit recent works to the competition, rather than works submitted in previous years. SELEF expects that all entries have been proofread. No entrant may submit more than five entries in any single category. Manuscripts must be submitted electronically through Submittable.
  6. For the categories involving written entries, manuscripts of less than 1,500 words are strongly recommended; however, manuscripts of up to 5,000 words will receive consideration. All manuscripts should be intended for the general well-educated reader; none should require highly specialized or technical knowledge.
  7.  By entering the Literary Competition, all participants assure SELEF that the submitted work is his or her own and that all sources are correctly referenced. In addition to this, all participants grant the Samuel Eells Literary and Educational Foundation an irrevocable, non-exclusive, non-commercial license to use, reproduce, publish, and distribute selected entries in SELEF promotional material, digital media, and/or a SELEF literary journal. Authors of selected entries will have the opportunity to make non-substantive revisions before publication. 
  8. There is no minimum number of submissions required for an award to be made in each category. However, regardless of the number of submissions made, the judges reserve the right not to make an award in any category if they deem that no submissions meet the standards to earn an award. All decisions made by the judges are final and are kept confidential.


If you have any questions, please contact gradlit@samueleells.org.

Undergraduate Literary Competition Rules

The Samuel Eells Literary & Educational Foundation Undergraduate Literary Competition is open to all undergraduate college students associated with SELEF at select schools. There are eight distinct categories: Fiction; Non-Fiction; Poetry; Photography; Music & Lyrics; Film; Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM); and Visual Arts. The following is a summary of the rules for all categories. Before applying, please read the rules for each category on the submission form for additional rules or exceptions specific to that category.

  1. The 2018 SELEF Literary Competition is open to all undergraduate college students associated with SELEF. All entries must be received by Tuesday, June 12, 2018.
  2. A $1,000 GRAND PRIZE will be awarded to that single entry which shows the greatest level of overall excellence in one of the eight categories: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photography, film, music/lyrics, STEM writing and visual arts. The decision of the judges is final; the judges may also elect not to give the award, or may split it into two $500 prizes. The prize money is paid directly to the winner. This is not a scholarship; it is a direct cash award. Previous winners of this prize are not eligible to win a second time, but they can enter and win first prizes in any or all categories.
  3. First prize of $250 is offered in all categories. Based on the number of second, third and fourth prizes awarded, cash grants may be made of amounts smaller than $100, based on funds available and the number of awards granted.
  4. There are eight categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Photography, Film, Music/Lyrics, STEM Writing, and Visual Arts. Each entry may only be considered for one category.
  5. Previously published works are not eligible for entry, except works published in college or university publications. Original material submitted for course work is acceptable. Submit recent works to the competition, rather than works submitted in previous years. You can submit more than once if you have additional entries for the same category or for different categories. The application form may restrict the number of entries that can be submitted at one time. You can submit more than once if you have additional entries for the same category or for different categories.
  6. Entries should not be signed and should not bear information that could disclose the identity of the entrant.
  7. Entries will be considered if submitted from undergraduate college students in good standing associated with SELEF.
  8. There is no minimum number of submissions required for an award to made in each category.  However, regardless of the number of submissions made, the judges reserve the right not to make an award in any category if they deem that no submissions meet the standards to earn an award.  All decisions made by the judges are final and are kept confidential.
  9. By entering the Literary Competition, all participants assure SELEF that the submitted work is one’s own, and that all sources are correctly referenced. In addition to this, all participants grant the Samuel Eells Literary and Educational Foundation the unrestricted right to display all and/or selected entries on a SELEF website or within a printed SELEF literary journal.
  10. Additional rules may apply to specific categories. Please review the rules for each category on the application web site.
  11. If you have any questions or trouble submitting, contact litcomp@samueleells.org.

If you didn’t see your category at the top of the page, submit your entries using one of these links: