Bennington Writing Prizes

Each of the three online issues of the anthology features a prize-winning poem, story, or essay selected by well-known practitioners in their respective fields. Bennington Writing Prizes of $250 are awarded in each of the three writing genres. Judges for plain china: Best Undergraduate Writing 2010 are C. Michael Curtis for fiction, Phillip Lopate for nonfiction, and Ellen Bryant Voigt for poetry.

Fiction Judge: C. Michael Curtis

C. Michael Curtis is fiction editor of The Atlantic, where he has worked for forty-seven years. He also shares with his wife, Elizabeth Cox, the John C. Cobb Chair in the Humanities at Wofford College. He is the editor of six other story collections, including God: Stories and Faith: Stories (Houghton Mifflin) and has published poetry, reviews, and essays in The Atlantic, The New Republic, The National Review, and many other publications.

Nonfiction Judge: Phillip Lopate

Phillip Lopate has written three personal essay collections: Bachelorhood (1981), Against Joie de Vivre (1989), and Portrait of My Body (1996) and two novels, Confessions of Summer (1979) and The Rug Merchant (1987), in addition to two poetry collections, memoir, film criticism, and biography. He has edited five anthologies, including The Art of the Personal Essay. His essays, fiction, poetry, and film and architectural criticism have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Essays, Paris Review, Harper’s, and many other periodicals and anthologies. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Public Library Center for Scholars and Writers Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts grants, and two New York Foundation for the Arts grants, along with other honors and awards. Lopate has taught at Fordham, Cooper Union, the University of Houston, and NYU. He is a professor at Columbia University, and also teaches in the MFA programs of Bennington, Hofstra, and the New School. For more information, visit:

Poetry Judge: Ellen Bryant Voigt

Ellen Bryant Voigt has published seven volumes of poetry, including Kyrie (1995), a finalist for the National Book Crit­ics’ Circle Award; Shadow of Heaven (2002); and Messenger: New and Selected Poems (2007), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of The Poets’ Prize.  Her prose work includes The Flexible Lyric, a collection of essays on craft; and The Art of Syntax: Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song. A former Vermont Poet Laureate, she has been a Chancellor of American Academy of Poets and an elected member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Twice a finalist for the National Book Award, she has received NEA and Guggenheim Fellowships, the Academy of American Poets’ Fellowship, Best American and Pushcart Prizes, and the OB Hardison Award from the Folger Shakespeare Library. She teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and lives in Cabot, Vermont.