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Hollins University's creative writing program is nationally recognized as one of the best in the country. The program has received acclaim in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Southern Living, and Esquire for the work of its graduates and for its distinctive approach to teaching.



Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest

Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest

What is the Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest?

Now in its fifty-first year, the contest is sponsored by Hollins University and awards prizes for the best poems submitted by girls who are sophomores or juniors in high school or preparatory school.


What are the prizes?

First place (one winner)

  • Free tuition and housing for the university's Hollinsummer creative writing program
  • $200 cash prize
  • Publication in Cargoes, Hollins' award-winning student literary magazine
  • Ten copies of Cargoes

Second place (six winners)

  • $25 cash prize
  • Publication in Cargoes
  • Two copies of Cargoes


What are the requirements?

  • Must be a sophomore or junior in high school or preparatory school
  • Students must submit their poem(s) online [Please note: the contest has ended.]. Students must have a faculty sponsor.
  • No more than two poems by any one student may be submitted (Microsoft Word or text document only)
  • Please label additional pages with the author's name, title of poem, and page number
  • Each entry must include the following information:
    • Author's name
    • Author's mailing address
    • Author's phone number and/or email address
    • Year of author's high school graduation
    • Faculty sponsor's name and email address
    • Author's school
    • Address of author's school
    • Phone number of author's school


What is the deadline for entries?

October 30, 2014 [Please note: the contest has ended.]


Who chooses the winning poems?

Winners are chosen by students and faculty members in the creative writing program at Hollins.


When are winners notified?

Late February


Who was Nancy Thorp?

Nancy Thorp, Hollins class of 1960, was a young poet who showed great promise when she was a student. Following her death in 1962, her family established the Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest to encourage the work of young poets. Learn more about Nancy Thorp and the contest that bears her name (Spring 2013 Hollins magazine).