Undergraduate Writers’ Conference


The competition will culminate in the 13th Annual Undergraduate Writers’ Conference on Wednesday, March 30, 2016. Your essay is your ticket of admission to the awards ceremony.


  • Meet other writers and ask them questions about how they work.
  • Dine at the posh Town & Gown.
  • Be automatically considered for publication in Scribe the USC Dornsife College online journal produced entirely by undergraduates.
  • Be automatically considered for publication in OAPS – Outstanding Academic Papers by Students a collaborative, international program by academic research libraries to encourage, recognize, and preserve excellence in student scholarship.
  • Discuss your and other writers’ work in light of themes and questions important to writers.
  • Bolster that ever-lengthening résumé of accomplishments.
  • Listen to keynote speaker Percival Everett, novelist, poet, and USC Distinguished Professor of English. Learn more about his work here.


  • 4 categories. On title page, identify the category in which your essay is competing:
    • Professional Writing/Moral Reasoning: papers about ethical dimensions of your discipline or future profession; Marshall white papers; Annenberg analyses of media industries; IR problem-based essays; Philosophy papers; some English & cultural studies essays; WRIT 340 pre-law briefs or memos; researched essays; some GE cat. 6 essays; some GE cat. 2 essays.
    • Analytical essay: thesis-driven essays and editorials; use of theoretical and conceptual models; critical theory; close readings of primary text(s); evaluation of books, film, and other media; furthering or interrogating established truths or concepts.
    • Research essay: multiple source bibliography; hypothesis testing; evidence/data-based argumentation; reviews of academic literature and existing scientific inquiry.
    • Creative Work: short stories, screenplays, collections of poetry, scripts for performance art, one-act plays, multimedia
  • Entry length: Up to 40 pages per essay/creative work.
  • One submission per category, but you can compete in multiple categories.

Submission Deadline is Friday, March 4 @ 11:59PM.

Register here!


Questions? Ask Professor Norah Ashe-McNalley, ashe@usc.edu