Institutional News

Announcing the 2018-2019 Young Writers Awards Winners

Nine students from high schools across the country were selected as winners of Bennington College’s 2018-2019 Young Writers Awards.

Young Writers Awards logo

This annual competition, which accepts entries in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, is free to enter and open to high school students. A first-, second-, and third-place winner is selected in each of the categories, with cash prizes from $125-$500 awarded.

The 2019-2020 Young Writers Awards will officially open beginning on September 15. Sign up to receive notifications about the competition. 

Bennington College has a unique literary legacy, including nine Pulitzer Prize winners, three U.S. poet laureates, four MacArthur Geniuses, countless New York Times bestsellers, and one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. In celebration of this legacy, Bennington launched the Young Writers Awards to promote and recognize excellence in writing by high-school students. 

“It is our great pleasure to discover and empower emerging writers as part of a longstanding commitment to excellence in the written word,” said Interim President Isabel Roche. “We look forward to seeing the work these exceptional students put into the world in the years to come.”

Each year, over 2,000 students submit poetry, fiction, and nonfiction to the Young Writers Awards competition. Bennington College congratulates all entrants on their extraordinary submissions and is pleased to announce the 2018-2019 winning entries.

2018-2019 Young Writers Awards Winners



  • First Place: "Haymarket," Cynthia Lu, Belmont High School, Belmont, MA

  • Second Place: "Moon Fever," Kali Puhnaty, Idyllwild Arts Academy, Idyllwild, CA

  • Third Place: "Hardest Hue to Hold, " Lillian Robles, Homeschooled, Glendale, CA



About Bennington College

Bennington College is a liberal arts college in southwestern Vermont that has distinguished itself as a vanguard institution within American higher education. It was the first to include the visual and performing arts in a liberal arts education. It is the only college to require that its students spend a term—every year—at work in the world. Bennington students work intensively with faculty to forge individual educational paths around their driving questions and interests.

Bennington is also the home of the Robert Frost Stone House Museum and the Bennington Review, a national biannual print journal of innovative, intelligent, and moving poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and film writing.

Notable literary alumni from both the undergraduate and MFA in Writing program include Donna Tartt, Brett Easton Ellis, Kiran Desai, Jonathan Lethem, Michael Pollan, Ann Goldstein, Safiya Sinclair, Anaïs Duplan, Anne Waldman, Mary Ruefle, Cynthia Sweeney, Jamie Quatro; Amy Gerstler, Morgan Jerkins, and Charles Bock.

More about Literature at Bennington

More about the Bennington Writing Seminars MFA program