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 July 1, 2020! All entries must be received by that date. Winners will be announced in August.

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

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

There are currently no open categories.

Undergraduate Literary Competition Rules

The Samuel Eells Literary & Educational Foundation Undergraduate Literary Competition is open to all undergraduate college students associated with SELEF. There are eight distinct categories: Fiction; Non-Fiction; Poetry; Photography; Music & Lyrics; Film; Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Writing; 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. Where the rules conflict, the category-specific rules on the submission website take precedence.

  1. The 2020 SELEF Literary Competition is open to all undergraduate college students associated with SELEF. All entries must be received by Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
  2. There are eight distinct categories: Fiction; Non-Fiction; Poetry; Photography; Music & Lyrics; Film; Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Writing; and Visual Arts. Each entry may only be considered for one category.
  3. A $1,000 GRAND PRIZE will be awarded to that single entry which shows the greatest level of overall excellence among all entries to the competition, across all categories. 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.
  4. 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 up to $100, based on funds available and the number of awards granted.
  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. 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. Entries will be submitted online via the SELEF submissions website before 11:59pm ET on the deadline date above. Any entries submitted together by a student into the same category may be considered and reviewed as a body of work by the judges of that category. Students who want to ensure that their entries are reviewed as individual works should submit those entries separately.
  9. 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.
  10. By entering the Literary Competition, all participants assure SELEF that the submitted work is their own, that all sources are correctly referenced, and that they have the appropriate rights to the content of their submissions, to include depictions of characters or other content that is not the sole creation of the entrant. Any entries that infringe on the intellectual property rights of others will be disqualified. 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, via a SELEF social media account, or within a printed SELEF literary journal.
  11. Additional rules may apply to specific categories. Please review the rules for each category on the application web site.
  12. 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: