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.

2021 Theme

Student judges welcome recently published books of prose and poetry in response to the theme of nature published since January 2019. Students are employing a broad interpretation of this criteria in their reading and judging.

Contest Prize

Each winner will receive $500 and 10 copies of a broadside 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 2022. Graduate and undergraduate students will read the submitted books and choose the two winners. The deadline for submission is 11:55 pm EST, Friday Sept. 3, 2021.


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, novellas, or novels.

Entry and Judging Details

  1. All books connected to the theme of nature published since January 2019 are eligible.
  2. Books can be any genre (or mixed genre), including poetry, memoir, creative nonfiction, short stories, novella, 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 2021.
  7. Winners will receive a $500 prize, as well as 10 copies of a broadside, which will be designed and produced by UIndy students.
  8. Winners must agree to participate in a literary podcast with the student judges in 2022, 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 2022.
  10. Due to social distancing at UIndy, 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, Sept. 3, 2021.
  13. Please submit your work at Submittable.


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


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