The University of Michigan-Dearborn Writing Awards promote and recognize excellence in writing among undergraduates.

Awards will be made in the following categories:
  • Poetry
  • Bill Linn Fiction Prize
  • Researched Writing
  • Creative Non-fiction
  • Writing Through Image and Sound
  • Writing in the Public Sphere
  • First-Year Writing
  • Honors Writing
  • Scientific/Technical Writing

$7,500 in total awards. Awards are made possible by the Office of the Provost and the UM-Dearborn Annual Fund. (Download the 2022 flier.)

The Bill Linn Fiction Prize is funded by the family of Professor Bill Linn as a tribute to his love of literature and teaching. The family hopes award recipients treasure their gift of writing and use it to enrich the lives of others.

Contest Rules

Rules subject to update


If you’re an undergraduate enrolled at the University of Michigan-Dearborn for at least six hours during the Summer 2021, Fall 2021, or Winter 2022 semesters, you’re eligible to enter the Writing Contest.

You may submit work in up to three categories but only one entry per category. You may not submit the same entry in multiple categories. Winning a first-place award in a category makes you ineligible to enter that category in subsequent years.

All entries must be your original work; for collaboratively-created projects, include the names of all authors/creators and detail the contributions of each individual on the entry form.

Entries may not have been previously published (except in student publications).

Final submission deadline is May 13, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. Winners will be notified by June 17, 2022.

Awards will be reviewed and approved by the University of Michigan-Dearborn. In the case of debts owed to the University, awards will be applied to outstanding balances.



Poetry: May be of any length. Up to 3 poems as a single entry

Bill Linn Fiction Prize: Up to 30 double-spaced pages; one story per entrant

Creative Non-fiction: Up to 30 double-spaced pages; one essay per entrant

Honors Writing: Writing completed for any Honors course, including COMP 110 & 220

First-year Writing: Writing completed in COMP 105, 106, 227, 270 & 280

Researched Writing: e.g., the critical essay or other researched writing making use of secondary and/or primary sources; up to 25 double-spaced pages

Writing Through Image and Sound: E.g., Web-based writing, digital films with scripts, music and scores, projects that incorporate both text, sound, and/or visual elements

Writing in the Public Sphere: Writing completed in Academic Service Learning courses, service learning or community-based writing projects, projects related to advocacy or activism, writing about current events

Scientific / Technical Writing: Writing completed in COMP 270, researched projects and/or investigative reports in engineering and natural sciences


Manuscript Format

To ensure objectivity, you must invent a Pen Name. A pen name is a fictitious name that is not your legal name. Your legal name can only appear on the entry form. Neither the judges nor the administrators of the contest will know your identity until the winners have been determined. Type your pen name only on every page of your manuscript.

Each written manuscript must be typed, double-spaced, and uploaded using the online submission system. Label your file with the title only (or titles, for poetry) of your manuscript, ex. Tom's Left Foot.doc. 

For multiple media projects that include sound/pictures and/or video that exceed data uploading restrictions, submit a link to your work online via Word document and follow the regular submission process.

Submit your work using our online Submission Form.

2021 Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 UM-Dearborn Writing Awards

Special thanks to our UM-Dearborn judging panel and external judges:

Danielle DeFauw (Education, Health, and Human Services), R.J. Fox (External- Fiction), Thom Foy (Writing/LCC) Jon Haller (External- Writing Through Image & Sound), Tim Kiska (Communications), Kathrine La Commare (Biological Sciences), (Reb Livingston (External- Poetry), Kyhl Lydndgaard (External- Creative Non-Fiction), Kristin Poling (Social Sciences), PF Potvin (Writing/LCC), Nitya Sethuraman (Psychology), Kristi Stewart (Writing/LCC), Zhi "Elena" Zhang (Biological Sciences).


  1. Chantal Marie Assaf: "Eight Minutes"
  2. Kayla Dicks: "Passing Moments"
  3. Zahra Lahiji: “Patchwork”

Honorable Mention:

  • Isra Khondakar: "Haiku"



1. Emma Hetrick: “Haunted by the Past: A Look at the Detroit Riots of 1967 and the BLM Protests of 2020”
2. Nikhita Datar: “Riding the Railways to my Roots”
2. Israa Srour: “Dissecting Inequality in the Present Day”

Honorable Mention:

  • Richard Tharrett: “Vicky Franklin:  Adapting Frankenstein” 


Researched Writing 

1. Mackenzie Kortes: “The Hymns of War: The Cultural Legacy of the Troubles in Irish Rebel Music”
2. Daniel Arini: “The Obstacles Facing the Expansion of High-Speed Rail in the United States”
2. Dawson Kinsman: “The Appropriation of Culture and African Identity: Modern Art and the Primitivist Narrative”

Honorable Mention:

  • Beatriz Furtado Bruza: “Dueling Over Pesticide Use: An Interest-Framework Analysis of Pesticide Policies in Brazil and the United States”
  • Megan Faulkner: “False Memory Construction Related To Trauma”


Bill Linn Fiction Prize

  1. Amelia Felkowski: “For My Final Trick”
  2. Zahra Lahiji: “This Strange Slumber”
  3. Nikhita Datar: “The Power of the Sublime”


Writing Through Image & Sound

  1. Donna Glisman:​​​​​​ “Flying High”
  2. Lena Hakim:​​​​​​ “Young Arab American Poets Navigating Identity Politics Through Their Poetry”
  3. Zenon Sommers: “Misremembering the 2020 Election”

Honorable Mention:

  • Mark Boyanowski: “Audio Documentary”
  • Batoul Hammoud: "Mamba Out"


Writing in the Public Sphere

  1. Faith Billinger: “Student Athletes Worried For Future at Dearborn Amid Season Cancellation”
  2. Amber Ploch: “The Neglected Genders of Offenders:  Developing Critical Feminist Theory” 
  3. Olivia Colborn: “Brexit:  An Analysis of the United Kingdom’s Departure from the European Union Amidst Increasing Globalization”

Honorable Mention:

  • Sean McLaren: "A Sustainable Step to Our Earth’s Resurgence"
  • Jana Taleb: "$486 Million"
  • Keon Rasouli: "Covid-19:  A Cursed Blessing"


First-Year Writing

  1. Nick Swanson: “An Artificial Bach: Human Artistry and the Potential of AI Music”
  2. Kimberly Rivera: “Welcome to Paradise”
  3. Adel Rizk: “Beyond Just Words”

Honorable Mention:

  • Lindsay Bleau: “The Effects of Artificial Intelligence on Law Enforcement and the Community” 
  • Regan Rose: “The Unrealistic Takeover of Artificial Intelligence”


Creative Non-Fiction

  1. Mohamad Mohsen: "Pan-Arabism's Barriers and Bridges"
  2. Miah Ernst: "Lessons I Learned from a Grandmother I Never Knew"
  3. Penny Kane: "Prison is No Place for a Vagina"

Honorable Mention:

  • Ivett Facundo: "Border Crossing: Hyphenated American"
  • Adel Rizk: "Finding Purpose Through Darkness"


Science/Technical Writing

  1. Zenon Sommers: “Cognitive Elaboration and the Formation of False Memories from Fake News”
  2. Chad Johnston: “Efficacy of Using Various Biochar Applications to Reduce Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Rice Farming”
  3. Alexandra Kobielski: “Managing Invasive Species to Ensure the Survival of Nesting Eastern Bluebirds”


2021 Awards Celebration

The 2021 University of Michigan-Dearborn Writing Awards Celebration

Wednesday, October 20
  • 4:30 p.m.: Reception, Professional Writing Major Discussion
  • 5:00-6:30 p.m.: Awards and Readings

Please join us to celebrate excellence in student writing. Student winners will read and present their work in fiction, researched writing, science/technical writing, creative non-fiction, writing through image and sound, first-year writing, Honors writing, poetry, and writing in the public sphere.

Via Zoom:

Department of Language, Culture, and Communication

CASL Building
Back to top of page