Newman Forum Writer's Prize


The Newman Forum Writers Prize is an award presented annually to the winners of our yearly writing competitions, which run in tandem to our conferences and programs. Winners will receive a $100 gift card and be honored at a banquet at the end of the year!

Submission Rules:

  • Write an essay (750-1000 words) on one of the following topics.
  • Submit your essay via email as an attached Word Doc (NOT a Google Doc!)
  • Your submitted document should indicate, either in the heading or elsewhere, that it is a submission for “Essay Contest Prompt #__”
  • Please make sure your name is NOT on the document itself! You may include your name in the body of the email.
  • *Note: Essay contest prompts are always based on the content of our biannual conferences. While not required, attendance of the corresponding conference will undoubtedly enrich submissions. We encourage you to attend if possible, to give a clearer picture of the conversation your entry is entering into! Register for the Spring 2021 conference here.

Please submit using an email you will have access to for the duration of the calendar year. 


Spring 2021 Essay Contest on "Medical Ethics, Science Fiction, and What it Means to be Human" NOW OPEN!



1). SCIENCE: Research a recent medical/scientific advancement not discussed at the conference. What are the ethical implications? How might they complicate what we understand a human to be? How can this new technology be used properly (or improperly)? What tools does the Church give us to respond to this dilemma? Make sure to cite your sources.


2). LITERATURE: Pick a science fiction novel and write an essay on how it introduces or problematizes the relationship between technological advance and what it means to be human. What are the ethical implications? Are there Catholic elements to the story? What about the world of the story would need to change to uphold a consistent ethic of human dignity? Make sure to properly cite if you use quotes from the story or other reviews. 

3). CREATIVE WRITING: Develop your own science fiction/ dystopian/ Utopian world or dilemma! Remember: We are most interested in the political/medical/scientific/theological components of fiction, and are less interested in the traditional conventions of a story. It need not have a beginning, middle, and end or narrative plot. You can include a character or two, in order to show how a human person engages with the universe or dilemma you’ve created. Treat it like a pitch! Like you’re selling your story idea to a big-time TV network! What’s the premise? What’s the world like? What do the characters have to navigate? You don’t need to know the synopsis of each episode, or where the story will end. Just tell us about the conventions of the world, making clear the dystopian/utopian elements.


Deadline for submissions is April 1st, 2021