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The Creative Writing program actively promotes the writing of its students. All enrolled students are eligible to submit their writing to college awards for potential cash prizes and inclusion in Amaranth. Our program is also affiliated with the League for Innovations, which hosts a Student Literary Competition. Students who win our local League for Innovations competition at AACC are sent forward to compete at the league level for cash prizes and national recognition in the League for Innovations journal. 

How do I submit?

Email submissions for the Marjorie Flack Award, Burt Dall Award, Benjamin Louis Staisloff Environmental Writing Award, and the League for Innovations Awards to Garrett Brown, Ph.D., ( by the deadline. In the body of your email, include: 

  • Your name 
  • Title of the pieces submitted 
  • The genre of the pieces submitted 
  • The awards for which you would like to be considered (students can submit the same pieces to multiple contests) 
  • Contact information (i.e., name and address) 
  • Your Student ID number 

Attached to the email: 

  • Your submission as a Word document (.doc or .docx) 
  • Do not include any identifying information in the document itself. (i.e., your name) so all entries are anonymous.

Deadline for all competitions: March 17, 2023 

The Marjorie Flack Award

The Marjorie Flack Award is for the best short story or children’s book written by an AACC student. For a children’s book, the submission may be co-authored and illustrated.

Marjorie Flack was born on Oct. 22, 1897, in Greenport, Long Island. She was an artist and writer of children’s picture books. Flack is best known for "The Story About Ping" (1933), featuring a spirited little duck who lives on a boat in the Yangtze River. This story was popularized by Captain Kangaroo. In 1947 Flack was given a Caldecott Honor for her book, "The Boats on the River," illustrated by Jay Hyde Barnum.

This award is made possible by the Barnum family.

Length requirements: Maximum of 15 double-spaced pages 

Who may submit: AACC students currently enrolled in credit classes

Award: $250 and publication in Amaranth 

The Burt Dall Award

The Burt Dall Award is for the best poem composed in a metrical or received form. Submitted poems can be, but are not limited to, blank verse, sonnets, ballads, rondeaus, villanelles or sestinas. 

A former student of creative writing at AACC, Dall was frequently found in the classroom, helping the staff of Amaranth or in the front row of Writers Reading events ready with the first question. 

He was an anonymous supporter of Amaranth and creative writing during his lifetime, and this award is made possible by his posthumous gift.

Length requirements: Submit up to three poems, one poem to a page

Who may submit: AACC students currently enrolled in credit classes

Award: $222 and publication in Amaranth 

The Benjamin Louis Staisloff Environmental Writing Award

This yearly award honors Benjamin Louis Staisloff by recognizing and encouraging student writers to carry on his tradition of environmental writing. The Staisloff Award is awarded to the best essay, short story or poem written by an AACC student that captures the spirit of the human relationship with nature and promotes the awareness, preservation, appreciation or restoration of the natural world.

Benjamin Louis Staisloff (b. May 24, 1989, d. March 21, 2017) was a former Anne Arundel Community College student and managing editor for Amaranth. Staisloff was a talented writer, musician and naturalist. He was also a 2014 graduate of St. Mary's College of Maryland, with a major in English. An expert hiker, Staisloff celebrated the outdoors by completing the northern half of the Appalachian Trail and the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail. In the summer of 2016, he joined his entire family in completing the Camino de Santiago in Portugal and Spain. Staisloff's writing was thoughtful and nuanced; his poem "Sir" was a winning entry in the Poetry for the Mind's Joy project, and can be found at the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center. His poems and photographs can also be found in several editions of Amaranth. Staisloff was a passionate believer in sustainable farming and was committed to raising awareness of environmental issues.

Length requirements: Maximum of 10 double-spaced pages for prose and maximum of 80 lines for poetry 

Who may submit: AACC students currently enrolled in credit classes. 

Award: $250 and publication in Amaranth 

League for Innovation Awards

The League for Innovation invites its member colleges to participate in the annual Student Literary Award competition. The Student Literary Awards allow community college students to compete with their peers across North America and showcase the best works being created by current community college writers. 

The initial competition takes place at AACC. Winners of our local contest move on to compete at the national level. 

Students may submit work to this contest in the following genres/categories: 

  • Poetry (not to exceed 67 lines) 
  • Personal essay (not to exceed 2,000 words) 
  • One-act play (not to exceed 3,000 words) 
  • Short story (not to exceed 3,000 words) 

Prizes: There is $50 prize for winning at the AACC level. Winning work in each category will be entered into the national competition. 

National-level prizes (awarded in each category): 

  • $500 first place 
  • $200 second place
  • $100 third place 

Who may submit: AACC students currently enrolled in credit classes. 

Amaranth Staff Pick Awards

All work accepted by Amaranth is considered by the staff for special recognition. Guided by the editor-in-chief, the Amaranth staff selects the most effective piece accepted for publication in each genre. The pieces are recognized with a cash award and are indicated in the journal as a “staff pick.” While awards may vary from year to year, categories typically include: 

  • Best short story 
  • Best poem 
  • Best creative nonfiction essay 
  • Best script (play or screenplay) 
  • Best photograph 
  • Best artwork 
  • Cover Art (this award is given to the artist whose work is selected for the journal’s cover) 

Who may submit: Current and former AACC students 

How to submit: Submit your work to Amaranth


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