Entries will be accepted in undergraduate and graduate divisions in each of the following categories: Fiction or Drama, Poetry, Essay / Creative Nonfiction, and Electronic Media.

Students should submit no more than two entries in any single category, except for poetry (up to seven poems in one collection). All entries must be original. They may not be previously published work. Material that has already received a McKinney Award may not be resubmitted. Students are limited to one award in each category.

Print Media

  • Fiction or Drama - Short story, a chapter from a novel, a one-act play, or a full-length play or screenplay. 
  • Poetry - Preferably a group of six or seven poems from each entrant (but single poems are considered).
  • Essay / Creative Nonfiction  - Essay (including papers written in class as well as creative nonfiction)

Electronic and Other Mixed Media Using Language  

  • Any visualization using words as a dominant element to convey a story, message, or experience. Fiction, drama, poetry, and essays using electronic and other mixed media are encouraged, as are all forms of visual communication that emphasize language in 2-d, 3-d, digital/electronic (video & animation) media. Examples include interactive narratives, motion type, audio-visual art, visual narratives, games, animations, net art, and storybooks. To help guide your submission, technical and evaluation criteria follow:

Entries must conform to following technical specifications to be judged:

  • Format: pdf, jpeg, swf, or html
  • Video length: 10 min. maximum

Evaluation criteria:

  • The level of challenge undertaken in creating and integrating language into a mixed media work. (Words must be concretely present in the work. They cannot serve only as the inspiration.)                        
  • The work's overall clarity in oral/visual communication (Optional: An intent statement is a helpful accompaniment to your submission, as it clarifies your goals and offers additional work with language. 500 words maximum, double-spaced)
  • The technical execution of the work (Can it be opened? Does it "work?")
  • Craft (Is it aesthetically pleasing?)
  • Originality (Is it creative?)
  • Coherence/Unity/Harmony (Does it hang together as a whole? Does the visual work effectively with the oral?)