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English Awards, Scholarships, & Contests

The English Department sponsors several annual writing awards, scholarships, and the (K-12) Young Southern Student Writers Contest.

UTC English Writing Awards

The English Department is pleased to invite submissions to the following annual writing awards and scholarships:

(1) The Creative Nonfiction Award
(2) The Ken Smith Fiction Award
(3) The Thelma Styles Igou Poetry Scholarship


Apply here!


Outstanding Graduating Senior Award

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2017 Department of English Scholarships Application

Dear English Major,

The Department of English Scholarships Committee invites you to apply for the following seven scholarships specifically designated for English majors: the Arlie E. Herron Scholarship, the Sally B. Young Scholarship, the Marian J. Tyte Scholarship, the Chuck Pierce Scholarship, the Robert W. and Beatrice R. Anderson Scholarship, the William Thomas and Louise Morris Garrison Scholarship, and the Dr. Margaret N. Kelley Scholarship.

Apply here!

Applications must be received by March 2, 2017

Arlie E. Herron Scholarship

To be awarded to a full-time junior, senior, or graduate English major with at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA and a minimum 3.0 GPA in the major. This scholarship was established in 1999 by UTC Professors Verbie Provost and Fran Bender to honor Prof. Emeritus Arlie Herron who served the English Department, UTC, and the Chattanooga Community for 39 years as a member of the UTC faculty.

Sally B. Young Scholarship

To be awarded to a full or part-time junior, senior or graduate English major with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and a minimum 3.5 GPA in the major. This scholarship was established in 2001 by Larry Young to memorialize his wife, UTC English Professor, Sally Burton Young.

Marian J. Tyte Scholarship

To be awarded to a full or part-time English major, including graduate students; special consideration shall be given to parents continuing their education while also caring for their children (please indicate this circumstance in your letter of interest). Marian Jones Tyte, a member of the UTC class of 1930, had a strong interest in Theatre and English, and her husband, The Reverend Wilbur H. Tyte, established this scholarship in her memory.

Chuck Pierce Scholarship

To be awarded to a full-time English major, including graduate students, returning to UTC after an absence of at least one year (please indicate this circumstance in your letter of interest), with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA in the last UTC semester and a 3.25 GPA in the major. Charles “Chuck” Pierce was the son of UTC Alumni and active university volunteers Charles and Rickie Pierce, who established this scholarship to honor the memory of their son who passed away prematurely at age 31.

Winners for 2015-16!

Congratulations to the 2015-16 YSSW contest winners!  The winners books are available via the following links:  

Kindergarten - 5th Grade

Grades 6 - 12



Getting Started for 2016

 Submission Guidelines (PDF) - if you're already familiar with the contest; if not, read on...

Welcome to the online submissions process for Young Southern Student Writers! Student entries are submitted this year as they have been in previous years (i.e., by the teacher and according to grade level and category).  Note that submissions are accepted EXCLUSIVELY online.  They will arrive in our database as e-mail attachments. Permissible file formats:  .doc, .docx, or .rtf.  PDF files are not accepted, please and do not send e-mails with the poetry or prose submissions in the body of the e-mail message.  

Contest Rules

  1. Eligibility:  Students from any school (K-12) in the greater Chattanooga area, as well as home school students, are eligible to enter the YSSW contest.  Each entry must be the original work of the student, and it must not have been previously submitted to another contest or competition.  Submission of the entry is an indication of acceptance of and adherence to these rules.
  2. Submission:  Entries must be submitted via the online submission process.  Entries must be submitted by the students' teacher(s). 
  3. Format:  Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format documents.  Acceptable file extensions are .doc, .docx and .rtf.  Entries MUST be written in English, single spaced, and printed in a standard font (e.g., Times, Times New Roman).  No cursive or decorative fonts, please!  No illustrations or drawings.
  4. Categories:  Entries may be submitted in either or each of the two categories—prose (fiction or nonfiction) and/or poetry—at the elementary level (K-5th grade), middle school level (grades 6-8), and high school level.  However, students may enter only one submission per category.  Maximum length for prose entries is 1,000 words; maximum length for poetry entries is 50 lines.
  5. Deadline:  Entries submitted electronically by teachers after Monday, January 11, 2016, will NOT be considered.
  6.  Judges:  UTC faculty graciously read and enjoy every submission.  UTC English faculty and graduate students read and evaluate all entries on the basis of creativity, content, and style to select the outstanding writer(s) in each category from each school.  Judges are instructed to select one winner per every 15 students in each category in each grade.  Specifically, grade levels, arranged by school, with 16 or more entries in a category will have two winners; those with 31 or more entries in the same grade level will have three winners.
  7. Winners:  A winner in each category will be named from each participating school that has at least five entries in that category. 

Get Inspired!

Consider this Short Guide to Imaginative Thinking to be an essential tool for sound educational practice, particularly in the area of creative writing. Please take some time to review this downloadable file and consider how you may inspire your student writers.

Awards Ceremony

YSSW contest winners will be recognized and awarded medals at the YSSW Awards Ceremony on April 12, 2016, at the Tivoli Theatre in lovely downtown Chattanooga.  Likewise, winning entries will be featured in an online publication.  Teachers of these YSSW contest winners will be notified with more information as we approach the awards ceremony. Questions:  Call the Southern Lit Alliance office at (423) 267-1218 or email Dr. Wilferth at

 Best wishes to our area teachers and our student writers!

Submission Process

STUDENTS: No title page required; however, you must follow the format below.


Title  (Do not put in quotations marks, italics, or all capital letter.)


[ Body of the poem or prose entry.  Remember the maximum length for prose entries is 1,000 words; maximum length for poetry entries is 50 lines. Required author information must follow the body. ]


Student's Name:          Jane Doe
Student's Grade:          Grade 7
Student's School:         Martha Washington Academy
Student’s Teacher:      John Smith 


TEACHERS: Have your students e-mail their submissions to you.  Combine all of your students' submissions into one file/document, e.g., one MS Word document, based on grade level and category.  For example, combine all 7th grade poetry submissions in one file/document.  On the first page of this file, include the following information


Teacher's Name: Mr. Ed Ucator
Teacher's School: Martha Washington Academy
Grade Level: Grade 7
Category: Poetry
# of Submissions: 18


Submit this one file/document at the following address:

If you teach multiple grade levels and/or are submitting for both categories, you will submit separate files/documents based on grade level and category.

 YSSW 2015 Winners Books available here:  

Kindergarten-5th Grade

Grades 6-12

YSSW 2014 Winners Books available here:

Kindergarten-5th Grade

Grades 6-12

YSSW 2013 Winners Booklet available here