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, 2018 and March 15, 2019 are eligible for consideration. Submissions must arrive at AWP by March 15, 2019. Consult our guidelines for more information.

2018 National Program Directors' Prize Winners

Winner Description

Content Award

Miracle Monocle,
University of Louisville

Selected by
Mark Wagenaar, Visiting Assistant Professor at Valparaiso University

Miracle Monocle
Miracle Monocle featured an eclectic mix of work. A genre-crossing 'Experimental and Hybrid' section headlines the issue, with surreal, darkly funny jointly-written pieces. The magazine—in addition to well-written nonfiction essays, sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, sometimes politically timely—also published evocative, detailed fiction with memorable characters and rich landscapes. The poetry editors curated a range of superb offerings, including inventive, sometimes acrobatic poems. A section of imaginative student work, which featured a surreal poem, was the other highlight.”

Design Award

Wheaton College

Selected by
Anne C. Kerns, AIGA

“Upon first glance at Kodon, one would be forgiven in mistaking the oversized journal for a high-end fashion catalog. The cover evokes a gravitas that often accompanies black and white photography, and is punctuated with a crisp, white pigment stamp. Such restraint and exuberance set the stage for the content that follows. Each piece of art and writing, although independent, is held together with the dynamic tension of a quiet palette paired with solid type. Generous areas of clear space and flat color blocks seek to focus, but not trap, our attention. Scale is used effectively—full-bleed photos and large type are interspersed with tastefully-sized, readable text. This push-pull, like breathing, creates a rhythm that carries the reader through the pages and allows the content to be savored. The publication is lively and contemplative at the same time, bookended by grid-based typographic layouts for the table of contents pages in the front, to short reflections on the theme in the back. The design is strong and cohesive, and really quite lovely.”