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James and Mary Oswald Scholarships in Writing

Department of English

The James and Mary Oswald Scholarships in Writing were established in honor of two longtime Aiken residents who created an endowment to enhance departmental initiatives to promote general interest in the English language and its literatures. These awards (scholarships for incoming students) are offered annually by the USC Aiken Department of English to new full-time students who enroll at USCA, who choose the BFA in Writing as their major, and whose work demonstrates superior achievement in professional or creative writing. The competition invites work in four genres: nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and drama.

Five awards will be presented each year in the following amounts: $1000, $750, $500, $250, and $250. All entries will be blind judged by a panel of three professors from the Department of English. The Department reserves the right not to present any or all of the awards in a given year when the judges do not recommend a winner (or winners).

Submission Guidelines

  • Eligible genres are nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and drama.
    • Nonfiction: Maximum of 25 pages. Each entry should consist of one essay or other work of nonfiction with no restrictions with regard to focus and/or form.
    • Fiction: Maximum of 25 pages. Each entry should consist of one story or a chapter of a longer work.
    • Poetry: Maximum of 150 lines. Each entry should consist of a sequence of poems, or a group of four to six poems, or one long poem of at least 75 lines.
    • Drama: Minimum of one act. Maximum of 25 pages. May be for radio, screen, or stage.
  • Each incoming student may submit multiple entries in one or more genres; however, a maximum of 1 scholarship per student will be awarded.
  • Each entry must be accompanied by a cover sheet that contains the title of entry and the incoming student’s name, mailing address, email address, and phone number.
  • Except for the title—which MUST appear on both the entry and the cover sheet—all identifying information (including genre and author’s name) must appear on the cover sheet only. No identification of the author should appear on the entries themselves.
  • All entries must be word-processed. Nonfiction and fiction entries must be double-spaced. Drama and poetry entries should be formatted according to the requirements of the genre.
  • Failure to follow guidelines will cause an entry to be disqualified. • Entries must be submitted by noon on the date advertised in the annual flier.
  • Entries should be mailed to:
Dr. Andrew Geyer
Professor and Chair
Department of English
University of South Carolina Aiken
471 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801