National Program Directors' Prize

Instituted by the directors of AWP’s member programs, two National Program Directors' Prizes for undergraduate literary magazines are awarded annually to outstanding journals in the categories of content and design. Each winning magazine receives a $1,000 cash award. Winners are announced in The Writer's Chronicle and in other media, and the winning magazines are acknowledged at AWP's Annual Conference & Bookfair the following year. Prize honoraria are sent directly to the winning magazines. The final judges for content and design are announced at the conclusion of the competition.


Undergraduate literary magazines published between March 15, 2017 and March 15, 2018 are eligible for consideration. Submissions must arrive at AWP by March 15, 2018. Consult our guidelines for more information.

2017 National Program Directors' Prize Winners

Winner Description

Content Award

Hamline University

Selected by
Sharon Dolin, Director, Writing About Art in Barcelona

"There is an impressive array of bold student work here with a generous number of writers from the Midwest. In all three genres, creative nonfiction to fiction to poetry, this journal demonstrates a consistently high level of undergraduate writing. The editors have achieved the standard they set for themselves of publishing an online journal that ‘can maintain’ and possibly ‘exceed the standards of print.’ The undergraduate work showcased here eschews sentimentality, and in many cases, takes an unflinching look at painful subject matter. Runestone is an all-around inspiring read!"

Design Award

Clark College

Selected by
Lisa Noble, Creative Services Manager, Edelman Financial Services

"From cover to cover Phoenix stands out as an exemplary publication in its design, quality, and concept. The journal’s square-rectangle proportions in smooth uncoated paper make it more than just a perfect-bound book. Each page turns and opens with an almost bouncy elegance that feels tangibly substantial. As art object playing to my haptic sensibilities, Phoenix is welcoming and makes me want to stay a while. Typography is strong, sophisticated, and current without trying too hard. Consistency in type styles accomplishes the challenging task of bringing unity and readability to so many artistic voices. The cover is mysterious and glyph-like, alluding to the past while reaching into the future. It implies the universal truths of the journal’s content, that written and visual languages were once one in the same. Phoenix tells this story by way of a well-considered cadence and the illuminating marriage of writing and fine art."