The John Robert Bittner Student Literary Prize: An annual prize open to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in not-for-profit colleges and universities worldwide.
Purpose: To foster and recognize scholarship about Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938) by undergraduate and graduate students as well as to encourage participation in the Thomas Wolfe Society’s annual conferences.
Eligibility: Students must be currently enrolled as full-time at an accredited, not-for-profit institution of higher education or have graduated from the same within the past year. The literary essays that qualify for the prize must be the original work of the student submitting.
Rules and Procedures: The student must submit an abstract of at least 300 words, along with a brief biographical statement, CV and list of relevant academic awards or coursework. The student is also encouraged to have a faculty member submit a letter of support, addressing the student’s academic promise and engagement with Wolfe. The abstract is submitted in anticipation of an original paper presentation at the Thomas Wolfe Conference in May. This presentation will be between 15 and 20 minutes long, focusing on Wolfe’s writing, life, literary influence, legacy and/or concern for issues of his time. In order to quality for the Prize, the student must deliver the presentation at the Thomas Wolfe Society’s annual conference held in May. The student is expected to attend the entire conference.
Judges are members of the Thomas Wolfe Society, appointed by its president. Abstracts will be judged on the promise they show for the development of an original presentation that contributes to the knowledge or understanding of Thomas Wolfe. Preference will be given to students who demonstrate in the abstract a serious engagement of Wolfe’s writing and of relevant scholarship. Following the conference presentation, the student may submit the winning essay for publication without restriction.
Sponsor: The Thomas Wolfe Society, in memory of Dr. John Robert Bittner, Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and 2003 recipient (posthumous) of the Society’s Zelda and Paul Gitlin Literary Prize, for “Thomas Wolfe and Jonathan Worth Daniels: The Carolina Roots of a Literary Rivalry,” in the Thomas Wolfe Review, 27, 1-2, 53-69.
Prize: Monetary prize of $300 and a one-year membership in the Thomas Wolfe Society will be awarded at the Conference banquet following the successful delivery of the paper. Conference registration and banquet will be complimentary.
Deadline for Submission: January 10
Announcement of Prize Winner: Before March 15
Send Submissions To: Vice President, Thomas Wolfe Society (2014-2015: Mark Canada)