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Adroit Prizes for Poetry & Prose Writing Contest

Guide to the Adroit Prizes for Poetry & Prose Writing Contest

85% of Aralia Students Place in Top Writing Competitions

Our students consistently place in top competitions, achieving outstanding results. In 2024 alone, Aralia students earned 106 awards in the Scholastic Writing Awards, including 41 Gold Key Awards. Additionally, our students received 10 awards from the Ocean Awareness Contest.
1. What is the Adroit Journal?

Founded in 2010 by poet Peter LaBerge, The Adroit Journal is a registered literary and arts nonprofit organization that has published numerous United States Poets Laureate, MacArthur Fellows, and Pulitzer Prize winners. Poets, fiction, and creative non-fiction writers can submit their written work to be published in this prestigious magazine and receive $50-$100 for their accepted submissions. It’s a great resource to keep up with new trends in writing!

2. What are the Adroit Prizes for Poetry & Prose?

Each year, the Adroit Journal hosts the Adroit Prizes for Poetry & Prose, which is a poetry and prose writing contest for high school students and undergraduate college students across the world. Two awards are given out annually: one for poetry and one for prose. The Adroit Prizes contest is very competitive with a 1.5-2% acceptance rate.

Each year, award-winning authors with well-celebrated published works and impressive career backgrounds are invited to judge the Adroit Prizes for Poetry & Prose. For the 2024 season, accomplished authors Ocean Vuong and Kaveh Akbar were selected to pick the winning and second-place poetry and prose entries, respectively. The Adroit contest is a priceless, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to receive personal feedback and mentorship from such acknowledged and respected powerhouses in the contemporary writing world.

3. When is the Adroit Prizes for Poetry & Prose competition?

The 2024 Adroit Prize competition deadline was May 1, 2024. Check back for updates on the 2025 competition deadline!

4. Who is eligible for the Adroit Prizes?

High school students and undergraduate college students from any country and school in the world can enter in the Adroit Prizes competition. Additionally, students who have graduated a semester early (in December) are also eligible to participate. There is no age limit.

5. How do I participate in the Adroit Prizes?

Students can submit both poetry and prose (fiction or creative non-fiction) to enter for a chance to win both the Adroit Prize for Poetry and the Adroit Prize for Prose. Of course, students can also choose to either submit poetry or prose. Submissions are counted in “packets”, and each packet can include multiple pieces of writing. Each student can submit a maximum of 10 packets: 5 packets for poetry and 5 packets for prose. One poetry packet can have up to 6 poems with the total length capped at 10 pages single spaced. One prose packet can have up to 3 works of prose with the combined word count capped at 3,500 words. This means each student can submit up to a total of 30 poems (5 packets of 6 poems each) and 15 pieces of prose (5 packets of 3 pieces of prose each).

Additional Submission Guidelines:

Excerpts are acceptable for prose. Each student must also submit a cover letter and pay a $15 submission fee. Students can’t submit work previously published in a nationally- or internationally-distributed magazine.

What do I write in the cover letter?

The cover letter is essentially a paragraph-long (5 sentences), third-person biography briefly and eloquently introducing yourself and the work you’re submitting.

Have more questions? Check out the FAQ page.

6. Why should I compete for the Adroit Prizes for Poetry & Prose?

Awards

Two winners will be announced and receive $200 each—one for poetry and one for prose. Winners and runner ups will have work featured in the Adroit Journal and receive a free copy of the judges’ latest book.

Scholarships

Gregory Djanikian Scholarships awarded to six emerging poets annually for $100 each, and publishes their poetry portfolios in the Adroit Journal.

Anthony Veasna So Scholarships awarded to six fiction writers annually for $100 each, and publishes one of their fiction pieces in the Adroit Journal.

Alumni Accolades

Adroit Journal Alumni have gone on to achieve very impressive awards, which is a testament to their competency and talent. Countless alumni have received the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, National Scholastic Art & Writing Award, National YoungArts Award, and U.S. Presidential Scholar Recognition.

Unlock Your Writing Potential: Students in Our Writing Competition Preparation Class Are More Likely to Secure Awards

Join successful Aralia students who have won top writing competitions and secured admission to their dream schools.
7. Who won the Adroit Prizes?

Kinsale Drake from Yale University was the 2023 Winner for the Adroit Prize for Poetry. Read her poetry.

Kelly X. Hui from University from Chicago was the 2023 Winner for the Adroit Prize for Prose. Read her prose.

8. How do I prepare for the Adroit Prizes for Poetry & Prose?

Start by reading what the Adroit Prizes judges are looking for in submissions, “We love to be captivated by pieces that flow well, use language beautifully, introduce literary elements in an organic way, and are enjoyable to read. In general, our poetry is known for being lyric, while our fiction is known for being less so.”

If you’re a high school student, you should read work by other high schoolers who made it as Adroit Prizes 2023 Finalists. Work by high school students may be more relatable than work written by college students.

Another great way to know what judges are looking for and to find inspiration from exceptional writing is to read published works in the Adroit Journal—view the latest issue. You can also participate in Adroit Journal’s Summer Mentorship Program, a relaxed online program for high school students focusing in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction/memoir, where students share work with mentors and peers on a (bi)weekly basis.

Familiarize yourself with works by the judges. Read Ocean Vuong’s book of poems Time is a Mother and novel/memoir On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, as well as Kaveh Akbar’s books Martyr! and Calling a Wolf a Wolf.

Here are some novel poetry exercises and helpful resources for you to try:

  • Analyze poetic techniques of popular songs. Notice structure, metaphors, and use of other writing tactics that make the words flow smoothly.
  • Watch spoken word or slam poetry show/videos on YouTube.
  • Check out Poetry Foundation online database of famous poems and prose and their Poem of the Day.
  • org has almost 16,000 poems for you to browse. Subscribe to their Poem-A-Day email newsletter to get fresh inspiration every day.
9. Polish your writing skills with Aralia Education!

Prepare for the 2025 Adroit Prizes for Poetry & Prose competition with Aralia Education’s Writing Competition – Summer class. This online course is best for passionate 13 to 19-year-old students dedicated to honing their writing craft beyond the high school classroom. Students will be guided by expert writing competition coaches hailing from top-ranking U.S. high schools and colleges. Not sure the Adroit competition is for you? Check out these other 15 Poetry Contests for High School Students 2024-2025—Aralia Education’s exceptional team of teachers can guide you through any of these contests as well!

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