Etchings Press Whirling Prize

“It is that something in the soul which says, Rage on, Whirl on, I tread master here and everywhere—Master of the spasms of the sky and of the shatter of the sea, Master of nature and passion and death, and of all terror and all pain.”

Walt Whitman

Etchings Press Whirling Prize Logo (Red)

Etchings Press, a student-run publisher at University of Indianapolis, awards The Whirling Prize each fall to two books that demonstrate an excellent and compelling response to a theme that students at the university select.

2020 Theme

Student judges welcome recently published books of prose and poetry in the genre of horror published since January 2018. Students are employing a broad interpretation of this criteria in their reading and judging.


Contest Prize

Each winner will receive $500 and 25 copies of a letterpress broadside designed and produced by students from UIndy’s Hullabaloo Press, and each winner will be invited to participate in an episode of a literary podcast with the student judges, which will air winter 2021. Graduate and undergraduate students will read the submitted books and choose the two winners. The postmark deadline for submission is Friday Sept. 4, 2020.



All writers focusing on topics related to the theme above are welcome to participate. Books can be any genre (or mixed genre), including poetry, memoir, creative nonfiction, short stories, or novels.


Entry and Judging Details
  1. All books connected to the genre of horror published since January 2018 are eligible.
  2. Books can be any genre (or mixed genre), including poetry, memoir, creative nonfiction, short stories, or novels.
  3. Books may have more than one author.
  4. Publishers may submit on behalf of authors.
  5. Undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Indianapolis will read all entries and choose two winners.
  6. Winners will be announced in December 2020.
  7. Winners will receive a $500 prize, as well as 25 copies of a letterpress broadside, which will be designed and produced by student designers from UIndy’s Hullabaloo Press.
  8. Winners must agree to participate in a literary podcast with the student judges in winter 2021, during which they will talk about craft and their winning books.
  9. After the announcement, UIndy faculty will work with the winners to coordinate their podcasts, which will air in winter 2021.
  10. All entries will be housed in UIndy’s Krannert Memorial Library identified by a Whirling Prize bookplate for future student use.
  11. The reading fee is $20 (payable to University of Indianapolis).
  12. All entries must be postmarked by Sept. 4, 2020.


Submission and Reading Fee

Please send one copy of your book and a reading fee of $20 (payable to University of Indianapolis) to:

Etchings Press
c/o UIndy English Department
1400 East Hanna Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46227

Please include a cover letter that shares your contact information (name, address, phone number, and email address). We also welcome short bios.

If you prefer to pay the reading fee online, please follow this Submittable link. Make sure to include your order number in your cover letter, when you mail your book’s hardcopy.



If you have questions regarding the contest, please contact:

Liz Whiteacre
Advisor, Etchings Press

Past Winners

2019: Space

Cover image of Unmanned

by Jessica Rae Bergamino

Cover image of Eating the Sun

2019 Finalists

Cover image of Crumb-sized

Crumb-sized: Poems
by Marlena Chertock

Cover image of Vacation Guide to Solar System

Vacation Guide to the Solar System
by Olivia Koski and Jana Grcevich

Cover image of Map to the Stars

Map to the Stars
by Adrian Matejka

Cover image of The Moon over Wapakoneta

The Moon over Wapakoneta
by Michael Martone

Cover image of World Composed

World, Composed
by Jessica Reed

2018: Disability

Cover image of Bluewords Greening

Bluewords Greening
by Christine Stewart-Nuñez

2017: Social Justice

Cover image of Children of the New World

Children of the New World
by Alexander Weinstein

Cover image of Thief in the Interior

Thief in the Interior
by Phillip B. Williams

2016: Women

Cover image of What Was Mine

What Was Mine
by Helen Klein Ross

2015: Coming of Age

Cover image of My Mother's Funeral

My Mother’s Funeral 
by Adriana Paramo

Cover image of Sad Math

Sad Math
by Sarah Freligh

2014: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Cover image of Larissa Takes Flight

Larissa Takes Flight
by Teresa Milbrodt

Cover image of Wytchfire

by Michael Meyerhofer


Cover image of Boxing the Compass

Boxing the Compass
by Sandy Florian

Cover image of Dear Hero

Dear Hero
by Jason McCall