Creative Writing
Department Chair:
DeSales Harrison

Administrative Assistant:
Suzanne Overstreet

Department Email:

Phone: (440) 775-6567
Fax: (440) 775-6677

153 W. Lorain Street

Oberlin, OH, 44074

Emma Howell Memorial Poetry Prize

Emma Howell Memorial Poetry Prize


Emma Howell

Emma Howell 1981 - 2001

Emma Howell began writing at an early age and published her first poems at fifteen. She took writing workshops at Portland State University, and went on to study with Martha Collins, Pamela Alexander, and David Young, among others, at Oberlin College as a creative writing major. The first time Emma went to Oberlin, she felt immediately like she was home, and knew it was the exact right place for her. She also studied literature, languages, folklore, and African dance, and was particularly influenced by her experiences in the Black Arts Workshop with Carolyn Jackson-Smith. She had studied for a year in Spain, which lit her interest in travel and languages. Emma spent six months of her sophomore year studying in Salvador do Bahia, Brasil, where she died at the age of twenty.


The Emma Howell Memorial Poetry Prize

When Emma Howell died in 2001, her parents set up a poetry prize at the college, to be awarded yearly to an Oberlin student. They wanted to encourage the work of young poets, just as Emma has been encouraged as a creative writing major at Oberlin. After five years of generous donations from friends and family, the fund for the prize reached the "endowed" status and became part of the general Oberlin Fund. Each year, a panel of judges - members of Oberlin's Creative Writing Department and Emma's father, the poet Christopher Howell - pours through stacks of submissions from Oberlin students and awards a prize of $1000 to the winner. In April of each year, the Department hosts a reading of the finalists for this prize.


 2002    Winner: Mandoline Whittlesey
     Honorable Mention: Molly McDonald
 2004    Winner: Andrew Krewer
     Honorable Mention: Megan Kruse, Anne Timberlake
 2005    Winner: Alison Palmer
 2006    Winner: Caitlin Cardina
     Honorable Mention: Beth Rogers, Greta Schroeder
 2007    Cowinners: Claire Cheney, Leah Falk
     Honorable Mention: Beth Rogers
 2008    Winner: Cecilia Galarraga
     Honorable Mention: Anna Silverstein, Greta Schroeder
     Special Mention: Ramona Demme, Sophia Miles, Ian Rhodewalt, Alex Darr

2014    Winner: David Leach 
     Honorable Mentions: Sarah Cheshire, Evan Delano, Sofie Ghitman

2015    Winner: Nathaniel Marcus
     Honorable Mentions: Madeleine Cravens, Elena Jackendoff, Sarah Maccabee
2016   Winner: Danyang Fang
Honorable Mentions: Orly Vermes, Maxime Berclaz, Brielle Hutchison, Madeleine Dorner

Slim Night
Slim Night of Recognition by Emma Howel