Creative Writing

Awards and Prizes

The Creative Writing Program awards a number of prizes annually to some of our most distinguished students.

The Battrick Fellowship, awarded for excellence in poetry writing, was established as a result of a 1990 bequest from the estate of William T. Battrick, Oberlin College Class of 1927.

Recent Recipients

  • Khadijah Halliday, 2024
  • Diacos Love, 2023
  • Saint Franqui, 2022
  • Maeve Woltring, 2021
  • Sierra Jelks, 2020
  • Jennifer Lin, 2019
  • Eliana Carter, 2018
  • Calla Paule, 2017

Past Recipients

The Stuart Friebert & Diane Vreuls Prize for excellence in creative writing is awarded to deserving students beginning in the spring of 2021. The prize honors the two founding faculty members in the Creative Writing Program, and is funded by the generous contributions of friends and alumni to the Creative Writing Gift Fund.

Recent Recipients

  • Co-winners: Zoey Birdsong and Sophia Colby, 2024
    Honorable Mentions: Alonzo Rangel, Dorothea Samaha, and Eve Samaha
  • Co-winners: Chloe Cattaneo and Gwen Gemmell, 2023
    Honorable Mentions: So Assidao and Natalie Ivy
  • Milo Ono, 2022
  • Khalid McCalla, 2021

Emma Howell began writing at an early age and published her first poems at 15. She took writing workshops at Portland State University, and went on to study with Martha Collins, Pamela Alexander, and David Young, among others, at Oberlin College as a creative writing major. The first time Emma went to Oberlin, she felt immediately like she was home, and knew it was the exact right place for her. She also studied literature, languages, folklore, and African dance, and was particularly influenced by her experiences in the Black Arts Workshop with Caroline Jackson-Smith. She had studied for a year in Spain, which ignited her interest in travel and languages. Emma spent six months of her sophomore year studying in Salvador do Bahia, Brasil, where she died at the age of 20. Headshot photograph of Emma Howell.

When Emma Howell died in 2001, her parents set up a poetry prize to be awarded yearly to an Oberlin student.

They wanted to encourage young poets, just as Emma was encouraged as a creative writing major at Oberlin. After five years of generous donations from friends and family, the fund for the prize reached the amount necessary to become an endowment.

Each year, a panel of judges—members of the Creative Writing Program and Emma’s father, the poet Christopher Howell—reviews submissions from Oberlin students and awards a prize of $1,000 to the winner. Each April, the program hosts a reading of the finalists for this prize.

Recent Recipients


Winners: Isabel Hardwig and Peter Fray-Witzer

Honorable Mentions: Kiley Flynn, Zoe Goldstein, Morgan Hesse, and Adele Ross


Winners: Clara Rosarius and Logan Shainwald

Honorable Mentions: Chloe Cattaneo, Desmond Hearne Morrey, Katy Masterman, and Charlotte McDermott


Winners: Olivia Huntley and Fiona Warnick

Honorable Mentions: Isabel Hardwig, Helenor Harris-Evans, and Imani Joseph


Winners: Elmo Tumbokon and Jamie Weil

Honorable Mentions: Olivia Guerriero and Mina Ono


Winner: Sheng Kao

Honorable Mention: Molly Bryson


Winner: Megan Robinson

Honorable Mentions: Olivia Guerriero, Casey Redcay, Otto Vock, and Hanne Williams-Baron


Winners: Leah Barber and Julian Meltzer  

Honorable Mentions: Ira Berkley, Justin Jimenez, Gillian Pasley, and Clara Weinstein


Winner: Margaret Saigh


Winner: Dana Fang

Honorable Mentions: Orly Vermes, Maxime Berclaz, Brielle Hutchison, and Madeleine Dorner

The Wheeler Prize is awarded to a member of the junior class for ability and potential in writing poetry. The prize was established by the family and friends of Lucy Pope Wheeler, Oberlin College Class of 1934.

Recent Recipients

  • Danielle Oliver, 2024
  • Zoe Birdsong, 2023
  • Rose Rasor, 2022
  • Katie Frevert, 2021
  • Olivia Guerriero, 2020
  • Nigel Law, 2019
  • Jacob Fidoten, 2018
  • Paul Mehnert, 2017

Past Recipients