The Hopwood Awards are a major scholarship program at the University of Michigan, founded by Avery Hopwood.

Under the terms of the will of Avery Hopwood, a prominent American dramatist and member of the class of 1905 of the University of Michigan, one-fifth of Mr. Hopwood's estate was given to the regents for the encouragement of creative work in writing. The first awards were made in 1931, and today, the Hopwood Program offers around $120,000 in prizes every year to aspiring writers at the University of Michigan. According to Nicholas Delbanco, UM English professor and former director of the Hopwood Awards Program, "This is the oldest and best-known series of writing prizes in the country, and it is a very good indicator of future success."[1][2][3]

Contests and prizes

The Graduate and Undergraduate Hopwood Contests

Awards are offered in these genres: drama/screenplay, essay, the novel, short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. These awards are classified under two categories, graduate or undergraduate, except the novel and drama/screenplay, which are combined categories. Award amounts for this contest vary, but usually fall in the range of $1000 to $6000.

Summer Hopwood Contest

The Summer Hopwood Contest was discontinued in 2017, but archives of winning Summer Hopwood manuscripts continue to be held in the Hopwood Room. When it ran, the contest was open only to students who took writing courses during spring and summer terms. Awards were given in the categories of drama or screenplay, nonfiction, short fiction, and poetry. Novels were not eligible for the Summer Hopwood Contest.

Hopwood Underclassmen Contest

This contest is open only to freshmen and sophomores who are enrolled in writing courses. Awards are given in the categories of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.

Hopwood Program

The Hopwood Program administers the Hopwood Award, and several other awards in writing. It is located in the Hopwood Room at the University of Michigan and serves the needs and interests of Hopwood contestants. The room was established by Professor Roy W. Cowden, director of the Hopwood Awards from 1933 to 1952, who generously contributed a part of his library, which has grown through the addition of many volumes of contemporary literature. In addition to housing the winning manuscripts from the past years of the contests, the Hopwood Room has a lending library of 20th-century literature, a generous supply of noncirculating current periodicals, some reference books on how to get published, information on graduate and summer writing programs, and a collection of screen plays donated by former Hopwood winner Lawrence Kasdan.

Prizes administered by the Hopwood Program

The Hopwood Program also administers these writing contests:

  • The Kasdan Scholarship in Creative Writing
  • Arthur Miller Award of the U-M Club of New York Scholarship
  • The Jeffery L. Weisberg Poetry Prize
  • The Chamberlain Award for Creative Writing
  • The Dennis McIntyre Poetry Prize
  • The Andrea Beauchamp Prize
  • The Helen S. and John Wagner Prize
  • The Robert F. Haugh Prize
  • The Meader Family Award
  • The Naomi Saferstein Literary Award
  • The Leonard and Eileen Newman Writing Prizes
  • The Paul and Sonia Handleman Poetry Award
  • The Keith Taylor Award for Excellence in Poetry

Notable Hopwood winners

See also


  1. ^ Boersen, Tyler (April 16, 2002). "30 winners named at Hopwood Awards". Michigan Daily.
  2. ^ Delbanco, Nicholas; Beauchamp, Andrea; Barrett, Michael, eds. (2006). The Hopwood Awards: Seventy-Five Years of Prized Writing (Hardcover). University of Michigan Press. doi:10.3998/mpub.175222. ISBN 978-0-472-09926-9.
  3. ^ Napoleon, Davi: The Rewards of the Hopwood Michigan Alumnus, Spring 1999. A past winner and judge explores the values and dangers of this literary competition.