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!

2020 Alumni Literary Competition Rules

The Samuel Eells Literary & Educational Foundation Alumni Literary Competition is open to all alumni associated with SELEF at select colleges and universities. Alumni includes anyone associated with SELEF who is not currently an undergraduate student. There are four distinct categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Photography. This is the form for Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

1. The 2020 SELEF Alumni Literary Competition is open to all college graduates and individuals not currently enrolled as college students associated with SELEF at select schools. All entries must be received by January 31, 2021.

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 clear 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. 

5. Entries must be submitted online via the SELEF submissions website before 11:59 pm ET on the deadline date above. Each submission should be sent via its own Submittable entry form. Any entries submitted together into a single Submittable entry in the same category may be considered and reviewed as a body of work by the judges of that category. Entrants who want to ensure that their entries are reviewed as individual works should submit those entries separately. 

6. 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.

7. 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. 

8. 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 submission, 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 or within a printed SELEF literary journal. Authors of selected entries may have the opportunity to make non-substantive revisions before publication. 

9. 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.

2020 Alumni Literary Competition Rules

The Samuel Eells Literary & Educational Foundation Alumni Literary Competition is open to all alumni associated with SELEF at select colleges and universities. Alumni includes anyone associated with SELEF who is not currently an undergraduate student. There are four distinct categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Photography. This is the form for Photography.

1. The 2020 SELEF Alumni Literary Competition is open to all college graduates and individuals not currently enrolled as college students associated with SELEF at select schools. All entries must be received by January 31, 2021. 

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 clear 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. 

5. Entries must be submitted online via the SELEF submissions website before 11:59 pm ET on the deadline date above. Each submission should be sent via its own Submittable entry form. Any entries submitted together into a single Submittable entry in the same category may be considered and reviewed as a body of work by the judges of that category. Entrants who want to ensure that their entries are reviewed as individual works should submit those entries separately.

6. 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 works submitted in previous years. No entrant may submit more than five entries in any single category. Entries must be submitted electronically through Submittable. 

7. 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 submission, 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 or within a printed SELEF literary journal.  

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. 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: