2020 Young Alumni Essay Contest

The Schaal Prize competition is accepting submissions through September 9.

Author: The editors

Notre Dame Magazine’s eighth annual Young Alumni Essay Contest is accepting submissions. The magazine’s editors, who will judge entries for the 2020 Schaal Prize — named in honor of the contest’s founder, retired managing editor Carol Schaal ’91M.A. — are looking for original, previously unpublished, creative nonfiction essays, evocative first-person works that would appeal to a college-educated audience. While well-written entries about the pandemic experience will be highly competitive this year, the editors encourage writers to try their hand at other subjects, too. For models, they suggest reading CrossCurrents essays, which can be found in each back issue posted at magazine.nd.edu/issues.

The Schaal Prize winner will receive $1,000. Second-place winner(s) will receive $500 apiece. The first- and second-place winning essays will appear in the Winter 2020-21 issue of Notre Dame Magazine. Should the judges decide to award one or more honorable mentions, the winner(s) will receive $100 and online publication at magazine.nd.edu in 2021.



The contest is open to those alumni who received a University of Notre Dame bachelor’s degree in the years 2011 through 2020. Only one entry per eligible individual is allowed. Previous winners may enter.


Submission requirements:

Entries must be written in English and be original and previously unpublished. They should range from 800 to 1,500 words. Essays longer than 1,500 words will be disqualified. Each submission must be the work of a sole author. Essays must be submitted in Word format, and will be accepted now through midnight on Wednesday, September 9, 2020.


Submission procedures:

Because the entries will be read blind, it is imperative that entrants follow these procedures:

Send an email to magazine@nd.edu. Include the author’s contact information in the body of the message: name, ND graduation year, postal address, email address and phone number. Make sure to include the title of the submission in this email.

Attach the manuscript of the entry to this email. The manuscript should include the title of the essay but no author-identifying information.

Judges’ decisions are final. Published essays will be subject to editing. Winners’ names will appear in the Winter 2020-21 issue of Notre Dame Magazine and online, and winners will be notified by email.