Institutional News

Announcing the 2020-2021 Young Writers Awards Winners

Nine students from high schools around the world were selected as winners of Bennington College’s 2020-2021 Young Writers Awards.

Young Writers Award 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.

Another way for college-ready students looking to engage in creative writing opportunities with Bennington College is Bennington Unbound, a four-week intensive online courses in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, creative criticism, and literary studies. 

The 2021-2022 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.

“Lifting up the next generation of great writers from every walk of life is a natural fit for us,” said President Laura Walker. “It’s such an honor to provide this opportunity for emerging talent and to watch many of them blossom right here at Bennington.”

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 2020-2021 winning entries.

Bennington College will also be launching a Young Activist Award in Fall 2021. Please sign up to learn more.

2020-2021 Young Writers Awards Winners




  • First Place:  "Dissecting Matryoshka," Stefania Bielkina, The Dwight School, New York, NY
  • Second Place: "Skin Test," Indigo Mudbhary, Lick Wilmerding High School, San Francisco, CA
  • Third Place: "Gifted," Rebecca Orten, Middlebury Union High School, Middlebury, VT

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