Student writing competition

Writing

2020 USSC student-led analysis and creative commentary on Australian and US responses to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world, and we want you to tell us how.

The United States Studies Centre is calling for student-led analysis and creative commentary that explores Australian and US-led responses to COVID-19. This theme can be expressed in a number of mediums ranging from non-fiction (e.g. opinion, analysis, essay) to fiction and other creative mediums (e.g. poetry, a short story, a play).

Successful entries will be published on the United States Studies Centre website.

We encourage writers from diverse backgrounds and all levels of experience to contribute.

This competition is organised by the United States Studies Centre with the United States Studies Society and the American Studies Student Representative.

Theme: Australia and US responses to COVID-19

This theme is open-ended and concerns a comparison between the Australian and US responses to COVID-19. Some ideas to keep you inspired, although we encourage branching out from these topics as well, are:

Non-fiction:

  • Constitutionalism and COVID-19 protests
  • Melbourne’s public housing coronavirus lockdown
  • First Nations-led responses to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Black Lives Matter protests and a greater exploration of how COVID-19 disproportionally affects BIPOC communities

Fiction:

  • Poetry
  • Short story
  • Play
  • Comedy sketch

Eligibility

  1. You must be a student at the University of Sydney; and
  2. You must be aged 18 or over.

Competition entry

  1. Please register yourself through this form to enter the competition.
  2. In the same form, please submit your piece. The eligibility for each category is as follows:
    - Non-fiction: Up to 1,000 words
    - Creative writing: Up to 1,000 words
  3. Participants will receive an email confirming their submission upon completion of the form. We will not provide feedback on rejections. If your submission is offensive or otherwise in breach of the Student Charter (2020) of the University of Sydney, it will be rejected.
  4. Your submission must be original.

Deadlines

All entries must be received by 11.50pm AEST on 9 October 2020. Any submissions received after this time will be disqualified from this competition. The United States Studies Centre does not accept responsibility for late or lost entries.

Awards

First place (Non-fiction): Publication of the winning submission on the USSC blog and a Westfield gift voucher valued at $100.

First place (Creative writing): Publication of the winning submission on the USSC blog and a Westfield gift voucher valued at $100.

Contact

Further information on this competition can be found within our FAQ (see below). However, if you have any further questions about this competition, please email ussc.info@sydney.edu.au.

Note: This competition is organised by the United States Studies Centre with the United States Studies Society and the American Studies Student Representative.

Terms and conditions

The United States Studies Centre reserves the right to suspend, modify, or terminate the competition where an insufficient number of entries arise.

Any attempt by a participant to influence the result may amount to disqualification. The United States Studies Centre reserves the right to not select a winner or winners where entries received are of unsatisfactory quality or quantity. Should a winning participant fail to respond to reasonable attempts at contact following the announcement, the Centre reserves the right to offer the participant’s prize to the next best participant.

The United States Studies Centre reserves the right to disqualify and reject any entry it deems to be offensive, inappropriate, derogatory, discriminatory or otherwise in contravention of the University of Sydney’s 2020 Student Charter.

Frequently asked questions

What is the required word count for submissions?

The word count for submissions are as follows:

  1. Non-fiction: Up to 1,000 words
  2. Creative writing: Up to 1,000 words

Please stick to the word count.

What is the theme?

The theme for submissions is “Australia and the United States: Responses to COVID-19”. This can include a wide variety of topics including cultural significance, events, policy, and interdisciplinary analysis concerning the two countries’ experiences of and response to the 2020 pandemic.

How should I format my submission?

  • Word Document or PDF (If you are creating a text document outside of Microsoft Word, it should be exported to either Word or PDF.)
  • Font: Arial, Calibri, Helvetica or Times New Roman
  • Font size: 11 pt
  • Line spacing: 1.5 with breaks after each paragraph
  • Your name must NOT appear anywhere in your submission or the file name.

How should I reference my submission?

For non-fiction submissions, we accept a variety of referencing styles. Where referencing is used, please ensure that you are using a consistent and conventional style of referencing. References do not add to the word count (but please don’t use long discursive footnotes).

What happens to the winning submission(s)?

Winners will be contacted directly. The winning submission will be placed on the United States Studies Centre’s website and will be shared in student publications.

If a winner is unable to collect their award within two months, alternative arrangements may be made.

Does the Centre provide feedback on rejected submissions?

We will not automatically offer feedback on why submissions were rejected. However, you will be informed via email of this decision before the final winners are announced.

What is the University of Sydney’s 2020 Student Charter?

View the University of Sydney’s 2020 Student Charter.

As a joint venture of the USSC and the University of Sydney, we take the University of Sydney’s 2020 Student Charter seriously. Submissions will be considered in line with the University’s commitments to ensuring a civic and robust discourse while maintaining the respect for members of the University community and beyond.

I am not a student at the University of Sydney but I am a registered student at another Australian tertiary institution, am I still eligible to enter the competition?

Unfortunately, no. The USSC 2020 Student-led Analysis Competition is exclusively reserved to students at the University of Sydney, this includes both full-time and part-time students.

However, if you are considering enrolling in American Studies courses in the future, we’d recommend visiting our website to learn more. We hope you can join our community and participate in future events.

Is there a limit to the number of submissions that I can make?

You can submit one submission in each category, for a total of two (2) submissions.

Can I submit or publish the work I have entered in this competition while awaiting notification of results?

No. All submissions must be original and specific to this competition. Publication of your submission elsewhere after submission will result in disqualification.

For the avoidance of doubt, publication encompasses, but is not limited to, publication in print/online (e.g. in a journal, magazine or a website). Publication on a personal blog/website/social media constitutes publication.

Can I co-author a piece with a friend?

No. Each submission can have a maximum of one (1) author.

Semester 2

There's still time to register for American Studies courses this semester, so you can be part of the action as the US presidential election unfolds. Registration closes 4 September 2020.