Institutional News

Announcing the 2019-2020 Young Writers Awards Winners

Nine students from high schools around the world were selected as winners of Bennington College’s 2019-2020 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.

Young Writers Award finalists and winners are also eligible for undergraduate scholarships at Bennington. YWA finalists who apply, are admitted, and enroll at Bennington will receive a $10,000 scholarship every year for four years, for a total of $40,000. YWA winners who apply, are admitted, and enroll at Bennington will receive a $15,000 scholarship every year for four years, for a total of $60,000.

The 2020-2021 Young Writers Awards will officially open beginning on September 3. Sign up to receive notifications about the competition. 

Bennington College has a unique literary legacy, including twelve Pulitzer Prize winners, three U.S. poet laureates, four MacArthur Geniuses, countless New York Times bestsellers, and two 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. 

Interim President Isabel Roche explained the importance of this program in light of current events. 

“Extraordinary periods like this one call on a new generation of writers to uplift and enlighten,” said Roche. “For more than eighty years, Bennington College has been committed to cultivating emerging artistic talent, and we are proud to continue that legacy by honoring this year’s class of young writers.”

Each year, over 3,000 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 2019-2020 winning entries.

2019-2020 Young Writers Awards Winners


  • First Place: "swimming pool (disambiguation)," Miracle Thornton, Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen, MI
  • Second Place: "Spring" Esther Sun, Los Gatos High School, Los Gatos, CA
  • Third Place: "Prayer for the Finite," Hewson Duffy, Saint Anne’s Belfield School, Charlottesville, VA 


  • First Place: "Vanishing Act,” Sofia Miller, Westview High School, San Diego, CA
  • Second Place: "Year 2000,” Aluna Brogdon, Laguardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, New York, NY
  • Third Place: "Looking for the Century,” Alyona Baranova, Berlin Metropolitan School, Berlin, Germany


  • First Place: “Wen-Ying,” Hannah Han, Harvard-Westlake School, N. Hollywood, CA
  • Second Place: "Pedigrees,” Alyssa Wilson, South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, Greenville, SC
  • Third Place: “Liturgy,” Ana Renee Moore, William Howard Taft High School, San Antonio, TX



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