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The Alexandra L. Rowan Memorial Foundation Writing Competition

The Alexandra L. Rowan Memorial Foundation Writing Competition is a writing competition held during the summer in acknowledgment of the best fiction, non-fiction and poetry submissions from an undergraduate UH English student.


Contest Eligibility and Guidelines

Each award is a cash prize of $2000.

Eligibility Requirements: Open to undergraduate students in the English department or Creative Writing program, full or part time, at the University of Houston Main Campus. One entry per genre allowed per student. Enrollment in the English Department must be current at the time of the submission and at the time of the notification of award, i.e you must be enrolled in an English/Creative Writing class the fall semester following the competition. Enrollment verification will be made by the Registrar’s Office.

Submission Guidelines: Work submitted for the Rowan Writing Competition must be the original creative work of the person submitting the entry and must not be published elsewhere.

Submissions that do not follow the formatting guidelines will be disqualified.

  • Fiction (prose): A PDF manuscript (12-point font, 1” margins, single spaced) of no more than 10 pages, containing no more than one fiction entry along with the submission’s title, genre and the PeopleSoft ID number of the writer at the top right; the writer’s name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript. Please see an example FICTION submission here.
  • Non-fiction (prose): A PDF manuscript (12-point font, 1” margins, single spaced) of no more than 10 pages, containing no more than one non-fiction entry along with the submission’s title, genre and the PeopleSoft ID number of the writer at the top right; the writer’s name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript. Please see an example NON-FICTION submission here.

  • Poetry: A PDF manuscript (12-point font, 1” margins, single spaced) of no more than 5 pages, containing no more than one poem along with the submission’s title, genre and the PeopleSoft ID number of the writer at the top right; the writer’s name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript. Please see an example POETRY submission here 

Submitting Your Work: Submit a single PDF file for the genre of your choosing by using the form below. One entry per genre allowed per student. (To clarify, students can submit a poem, an essay and a story for a total of 3 submissions each in a distinct genre. However a student cannot submit two or more poems, essays or stories.) 

Name your PDF document using your PeopleSoft ID number and genre. (Example: 1234567.POETRY.pdf) Remember, the writer’s name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript, including the document title.

ROWAN WRITING COMPETITION 2022 SUBMISSION FORM

Judging Process: The Rowan Writing Competition submissions, manuscripts only, will be read by a panel of graduate students from the University’s Creative Writing Program. The winning entry and honorable mentions will be determined by select faculty in the English Department.

Notification of Winning Entries: Only the winning entries will be notified via email. The winner and three honorable mentions for each genre will be announced. Winners and honorable mentions will be notified using the email address they used to submit their entry.

Within 48 hours after being notified of the award, winners must be able to submit an electronic copy of the manuscript as a Word Document along with a 100-word bio, author photo and photo release authorization form.

The deadline for all three genres is Tuesday, September 6th, 2022.

Winners and runner-up winners will be announced fall 2022. 

Any questions please direct them to RowanUHCWP@gmail.com

 


2021 Rowan Writing Competition Winners

Rana Mohamad

2021 Fiction Winner:

Rana Mohamad is a senior at the University of Houston, majoring in English Creative Writing with a minor in History. As a writer, she believes that through storytelling, a writer can live many lives and explore a variety of questions, all indicative of the human condition. She is especially interested in lyrical fiction and migrant narratives. Rana plans on pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing and publishing short stories, poems and memoirs.

Read the Winning Fiction Entry, “The Tiger in the Bathtub” by Rana Mohamad

Honorable Mentions in Fiction:

  • Kaunain Khan’s “August Blues”
  • Jack Morillo’s “Alyssa Linatto is Throwing Up”
  • Jacob Myers’ “The Gates of Greymoore”
Judges for Fiction: Hannah Kelly, Colby Ornell, Scott Repass and Brenda Peynado

Shireen Hasan

2021 Non-fiction Winner:

Shireen Hasan, an aspiring writer/poet, was born in Iraq but raised in Texas. She has been living in the United States for over 11 years now. She loves to write multiple genres. Growing up as a Yazidi, a religious minority in Iraq, she is able to understand more about her culture and connect to the cultures surrounding her through her writings. Writing is music to her in more ways than even she has come to know. It is something she continues to use to express herself and understand the world around her. She would rather the ink speak for her, for it has more to say.

Read the Winning Entry “The lost souls of Shingal” by Shireen Hasan

Honorable Mentions in Non-fiction:

  • Alexis Arteaga’s “Three Things (Love in the Time of Corona)”
  • Gavin Caterina’s “The Ladybug of the Bronx”
  • Mike Clarks’ “Baldwin the Bull”

Judges for Non-fiction: Kartika Budhwar, Weijia Pan, Theodora Ziolkowski and Roberto Tejada


​​Gavin Caterina

2021 Poetry Winner:

​​Gavin Caterina is a freshman at University of Houston, who intends to major in English. He enjoys reading fiction and playing soccer with his family. On book recommendations, he offers up "Spring Snow" by Yukio Mishima. He wishes to enter the creative writing concentration in the fall.

Read the Winning Entry, “Heart-Shaped Poem” by Gavin Caterina

Honorable Mentions in Poetry:

  • Michelle Garcia’s “El Hombre de la Casa”
  • Jack Morillo’s “Tapos / Tapos”
  • Alfonso Reyes’ “Ghazal Concerning Self-Preservation”

Judges for Poetry: Kartika Budhwar, Weijia Pan, Theodora Ziolkowski and Michael Snediker

 


Truth Thomas-Alexander

2020 Fiction Winner:

Truth Thomas-Alexander is a senior at the University of Houston and majors in Creative Writing and minors in Studio Art. Her concentration is fiction and she enjoys writing short stories. She plans on pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing after she completes her Bachelor's degree. 

Read the Winning Fiction Entry, “invalidation” by Truth Thomas-Alexander

Honorable Mentions in Fiction:

  • Josh Cornelius’ “The Correction”
  • Zachary Eaton’s “The Liar”
  • Piper Gourley’s “Are You Dreaming, Billie?”

Zachary Eaton

2020 Non-fiction Winner:

Zachary Eaton is an English - Creative Writing student at the University of Houston who hopes to graduate (at last) in summer 2021. He writes fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. He co-wrote the screenplay "Cardinal" with writer/director James Frank. He enjoys watching sports, procrastinating, and rereading the same short story collections over and over again. He's worked at Dominos Pizza, Target, Barnes and Noble, as a server, and as a cashier. He knows you shouldn't start all your sentences with the same pronoun, but feels the 100-word bio format doesn't leave room for much else. He recommends "The Student" by Anton Chekhov.

Read the Winning Entry “The Opera Singer” by Zachary Eaton

Honorable Mentions in Non-fiction:

  • Alicia Alcantara’s “The Man Downstairs”
  • Claire Guzik’s “Tragic Nothingness”
  • Naveera Majid’s “Magical Realism and Contradiction in The Hummingbird’s Daughter”

Matthew Flores

2020 Poetry Winner:

Matthew Flores is a senior at UH and originally from south Texas. He works as a delivery driver and also assists with humanitarian aid for migrants at the South Texas Human Rights Center in Falfurrias, Texas. He plans to attend an MFA or interdisciplinary PhD program next year in the fall.

Read the Winning Entry, “Reading Paz at the Cemetery” by Matthew Flores

Honorable Mentions in Poetry:

  • Claire Guzik’s “Stones”
  • Alyssa Holt’s “God and Mammoths”
  • Kristin Powell’s “Spinach”