The 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, 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.

2024 Theme

Student judges welcome recently published books of prose and poetry in response to the theme of debut books published since January 2022. Students are excited to read authors’ first books!

Contest Prize

Each winner will receive $500 and 10 copies of a commemorative postcard designed and produced by UIndy students, and each winner will be invited to participate in an episode of a literary podcast with the student judges, which will be recorded and air in 2025. Graduate and undergraduate students will read the submitted books and choose the winners. The deadline for submission is 11:55 pm EST, Friday Sept. 6, 2024.


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

Entry and Judging Details

  1. A book(s) submitted must be the author’s debut book. Books published since January 2022 are eligible.
  2. Books can be any genre (or mixed genre), including poetry, novel in verse, essays, memoir, creative nonfiction, nonfiction, short stories, novellas, 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 winners.
  6. Winners will be announced in December 2024.
  7. Winners will receive a $500 prize, as well as 10 copies of a commemorative postcard, which will be designed and produced by UIndy students.
  8. Winners must agree to participate in a literary podcast with the student judges in 2025, 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 2025.
  10. Digital submissions are requested by participants. We are requesting a PDF that presents the book as it was submitted by the publisher for printing (not a personal Word file), so the student judges may experience the book as closely to its published form as possible. This could be an eProof, the last galley, a PDF that’s being circulated by the publisher/press, etc. You are able to submit a separate PDF of the book’s cover, if it’s not included in the book’s file.
  11. The reading fee is $20.
  12. All entries must be submitted by 11:55 pm EST, Friday Sept. 6, 2024.
  13. Please submit your work at Submittable.
  14. Please contact advisor Liz Whiteacre at with questions.

Submission and Reading Fee

Please submit a printer-ready PDF of your book and its cover (see guidelines above), as well as a reading fee of $20 to Submittable via this link.

This reading fee supports the Whirling Prize and other student-produced projects through Etchings Press.


If you have questions regarding the contest, please contact:

Liz Whiteacre
Advisor, Etchings Press

Whirling Prize Winners

Purple background with The Bringers of Fruit written in white font

The Bringers of Fruit: An Oratorio
by Kate Elizabeth Switaj

Cover illustration of eyes on fire with large open mouth

Shit Cassandra Saw
by Gwen E. Kirby, finalist

How to Pack for the End of the World
by Michelle Falkoff, finalist

I Play One on TV
by Alan Orloff, finalist

Red Mother
by Laurel Radzieski

The Penguin Book of Exorcisms
edited by Joseph P. Laycock

by Mike X Welch, finalist

Lake County
by Alec Cizak, finalist

by Nino Cipri, finalist

by Jessica Rae Bergamino

Crumb-sized: Poems
by Marlena Chertock, finalist

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

Map to the Stars
by Adrian Matejka, finalist

The Moon over Wapakoneta
by Michael Martone, finalist

World, Composed
by Jessica Reed, finalist

Bluewords Greening
by Christine Stewart-Nuñez

Children of the New World
by Alexander Weinstein

Thief in the Interior
by Phillip B. Williams

What Was Mine
by Helen Klein Ross

My Mother’s Funeral
by Adriana Paramo

Sad Math
by Sarah Freligh

Larissa Takes Flight
by Teresa Milbrodt

by Michael Meyerhofer

Boxing the Compass
by Sandy Florian

Dear Hero
by Jason McCall