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

  • Sierra Jelks, 2020
  • Jennifer Lin, 2019
  • Eliana Carter, 2018
  • Calla Paule, 2017

Past Recipients

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

2020

Winner: Sheng Kao

Honorable Mention: Molly Bryson

2019

Winner: Megan Robinson

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

2018

Winners: Leah Barber and Julian Meltzer  

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

2017

Winner: Margaret Saigh

2016 

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

  • Olivia Guerriero, 2020
  • Nigel Law, 2019
  • Jacob Fidoten, 2018
  • Paul Mehnert, 2017
  • Ross Roberts, 2016

Past Recipients