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Beiling Wu Prize in Writing

The Beiling Wu Prize in Writing, named for a former Northwestern graduate student in the humanities, will be given to a doctoral or MFA student in the first year of the PhD or MFA program who wrote the best critical, analytic essay on literature or literary culture in the first year of their program.


Monday, July 8, 2024 (by 11:59 pm)


  • Students must be nominated for a paper written in their first year.
  • Students must be in a humanities PhD program or a TGS MFA program.
  • Each eligible program may nominate one student.


The amount of the award is $1000, which will be added to the student's stipend. One prize will be awarded each year.

Application instructions

  • Applications are by program nomination only.
  • Directors of Graduate Study (DGS) should select the best critical, analytic essay on literature or literary culture as of the end of the first year.
  • A letter of nomination from the DGS must accompany the paper.  The letter should:
    • Provide a contextualizing frame about the nature of the submission (i.e., was it a final paper for a seminar, etc.)
    • Include brief commentary about how the essay fits within but also challenges some current trends in the field
    • Note how the paper stands out relative to other first year students in the program
    • Include any evaluative comments from the instructor of the course, if the paper results from a course assignment
  • The paper and letter of nomination should be sent as one single PDF file to All materials must include the student's full name.

Review process

Papers will be reviewed by a committee. Nominees and nominating programs will be informed of the outcome by the end of September.


Email for more information.