Stanford Students win Creative Program Writing prizes

Neal Rogin, writer, filmmaker and the Planet Earth arts curator, and Michael Fried, co-founder and artistic executive producer of Planet Earth Arts & New Play Festival, flank two of the Planet Earth Arts Creative Writing Prize winners: Josh Lappen '17, 3rd place, and Scott Reid '17, 2nd place. Photo by Katherine Batanero.
Neal Rogin, left, writer, filmmaker and the Planet Earth arts curator, and Michael Fried, far right, co-founder and artistic executive producer of Planet Earth Arts & New Play Festival, flank two of the Planet Earth Arts Creative Writing Prize winners: Josh Lappen ’17, 3rd place, and Scott Reid ’17, 2nd place. Photo by Katherine Batanero.

There is nothing quite like finding your voice as a writer.

And getting noticed along the way can help, too. That’s what happened May 26 at the Creative Writing Program’s 2016 Undergraduate Prize Reading, where 14 student winners read from their works in front of faculty, friends and family. In addition to long-standing prizes in fiction, poetry and nonfiction, winners of two new prizes were recognized.

The Planet Earth Arts Creative Writing Prize recognizes poetry, fiction or nonfiction exploring environmental themes. The prize is sponsored by the nonprofit organization Planet Earth Arts, an organization that “believes that the unique voice of the novelist, the poet, the writer is essential to the conversation and that Stanford students can utilize the art and craft of writing in service of the continuity of life on Earth.” First, second and third place winners were honored at the reading.

The Wiley Birkhofer Poetry Prize recognized a single winner from entries submitted. The prize honors WILEY BIRKHOFER, who graduated from Stanford in 2009 with an English major with a creative writing emphasis, focusing on poetry. Birkhofer’s early death in 2014 prevented him from exploring these gifts further. The Birkhofer family attended the reading and met the winner, BRYAN CHEONG ’18.

The Maclin Bocock/Albert Guerard Fiction Prize recognized the following writers and stories:

1st place: ADAM SCHORIN, for Before Hokkaido

2nd place: SAM WEYEN, for Cwm

3rd place: RACHEL JADE JORGENSEN, for The Museum


The Urmy Hardy Poetry Prize went to:

1st place: CARLY OLSZEWSKI, for Lab Report

2nd place: KUNAL SANGANI, for When Maggie’s little sister says disgusting

3rd place: MINI RACKER, for Prayer


The Creative Nonfiction Prize was given to:

1st place: AMY TOMASSO, for Me, my mother

2nd place: CRISTINA HERRARA MEZGRAVIS, for An Account of Roger Duarte’s Murder

3rd place: CARRIE MONAHAN, for On Frequenting Graveyards


Planet Earth Arts Creative Writing Prize:

1st place: GREESHMA SOMASHEKAR, for Mithi

2nd place: SCOTT REID, for On the Tonto Trail

3rd place: JOSH LAPPEN, for Like a Nation


Mary Steinbeck Dekker Award in Fiction:



Wiley Birkhofer Poetry Prize:

BRYAN CHEONG, for The Monuments of Grass


Louis Sudler Prize in the Performing and Creative Arts (School of Humanities and Sciences award):