Ilona Karmel Writing Prizes

Photos from the 2014 Ilona Karmel Writing Prizes ceremony

The Ilona Karmel Writing Prizes are awarded every May by MIT’s Comparative Media Studies/Writing program. This competition was named in honor of the late Ilona Karmel, novelist, poet and Senior Lecturer in the writing program. Throughout her teaching career, Karmel’s outstanding contributions to creative writing at MIT were her inspirational teachings and relationships with students.

Description of Prizes

Ellen King Prize for Freshman Writing

Writing by freshmen at MIT in any category is eligible; e.g., short story, poetry (must contain at least three poems), essay, and drama.

AWARDS: $300 First prize; $200 Second prize

Enterprise Poets Prize for Imagining a Future

Essays, short stories or poems, that convincingly imagine a future human enterprise are eligible. The word enterprise is used in the broadest possible sense to cover products, processes, companies, industries, forms of government, social movements, artistic forms – any human endeavor. This prize is open to undergraduate and graduate MIT students.

AWARDS: $350 First Prize, $200 Second Prize

Robert A. Boit Writing Prize

Writing by MIT undergraduate students in the categories of essay, poetry and short story is eligible.

AWARDS: $300 First prize; $250 Second Prize; $150 Third prize

S. Klein Prizes

Open to MIT undergraduate and graduate students.  Entries should be 10-40 pages long, not including appendices, for both Science and Technical Writing . Co-authored entries are acceptable, if all authors are MIT undergraduate or graduate students at the time of submission.

  • Scientific Writing
    Manuscripts should be intended for non-specialized but educated audiences and show evidence of publishable quality.
  • Technical Writing
    Manuscripts should be intended for an audience of peers and professionals.

AWARDS: $300 First prize; $200 Second prize

DeWitt Wallace Prize for Science Writing for the Public

Writing of any length addressed to lay audiences on issues and developments in science, medicine, and engineering. Open to MIT undergraduate students only.

AWARDS: $350 First prize; $200 Second Prize

Boit Manuscript Prize

Awarded for longer works and collections, in any category mentioned above, which give evidence of publishable quality. Both completed manuscripts and those in progress are eligible.Works of substantial length by MIT undergraduate students are eligible in the categories of fiction, poetry (minimum length of 200 lines or 10-15 poems), essay, and drama (a play in one act or equivalent). Manuscripts eligible for entry must be less than 50 pages.

AWARDS: $350 First prize; $200 Second prize

Writing and Humanistic Studies Prize for Engineering Writing

Manuscripts should be intended for an audience of engineers and other professionals who are knowledgeable about the subject matter. Writing from any engineering discipline is welcome. Types of papers may include design documents, engineering lab reports, literature reviews focused on a particular technology or engineering problem, design reports or proposals, and analyses of testing or other experiments. Group- written  reports are acceptable if all authors are MIT undergraduates at the time of submission.

AWARDS: $250 First Prize; $200 Second Prize

Prize for Writing Science Fiction

Writing by MIT undergraduate students in the category of science fiction short story.

AWARDS: $350 First prize; $200 Second Prize

Vera List Prize for Writing on the Visual Arts

Open to MIT undergraduate and graduate  students. Writing should demonstrate unusual and thoughtful expression on some aspect of contemporary visual art. Works can be prose,poetry, or graphic format. Please contact Courtney Klemens, cklemens@mit.edu,to inquire about  eligibility of other formats prior to submission for this prize. Maximum length is 15 pages. Sponsored by the List Visual Arts Center.

AWARDS: $500 First prize; $250 Second prize for both undergraduate and graduate students.