TTU Home Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library Home Sowell Collection

Student Essay Contest

Previous Awards

Conference on the Sowell Collection

The Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library is pleased to announce that the Essay Contest has received funding for this award. We gratefully thank the anonymous donor who sustained this project for several years and the new donor who is enabling us to continue.

The Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library is pleased to announce an essay competition open to all Texas Tech University students. Essays must be about a writer or writers in the Sowell Family Collection in Literature, Community and the Natural World, a distinguished list of writers encompassing a broad range of topics and genres. The Sowell Collection includes award-winning poets, novelists, essayists, film-makers, and science journalists. Max Crawford, Sandra Scofield, Rick Bass, Pattiann Rogers, and Stephen Graham Jones have strong ties to Texas and many of their stories and poems are infused with Texas landscapes, people, birds and animals. David Quammen, Barry Lopez, Susan Brind Morrow, Gary Paul Nabhan and Gretel Ehrlich have written extensively about their experiences in Greenland, Egypt, Lebanon, Rwanda, Namibia, and Japan. From cross-country skiing to canoeing and kayaking, from climate change to butterfly migration, from gardening in the desert to deer hunting in the Texas Hill country, there’s a writer and a book, poem or story to engage every Texas Tech student.

There are no restrictions as to length and both creative and scholarly essays will be eligible for the award. Essays submitted as class assignments are also eligible. We will be accepting essays in Spring 2022.  The deadline for submissions is Friday, April 15, 2022.

If you have any questions about the Sowell Essay Award, please contact Dr. Diane Warner.

First ($500) and second ($250) prizes will be awarded to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Please send essays as e-mail attachments to Dr. Diane Warner ( using “Sowell Essay Award” as the subject line. Please include information on status (undergraduate/graduate student).   Do not put any identifying information (your name) in the essay submission.

Updated: Oct. 5, 2021