Thornton Wilder Writing Competition

This is the twenty-sixth year of the Thornton Wilder Writing Competition. It was established in 1987 by the Friends of the Hamden Library to honor long-time Hamden resident and Pulitzer Prize winning author and playwright, Thornton Wilder.  The competition is open to all Connecticut public, private and parochial school students.  Last year we had nearly 200 entries from many area high schools.  We have awarded cash prizes to approximately 90 students for their creative writing efforts and we hope to encourage students from your school to take advantage of this opportunity.

The entries for the competition may be short stories, essays, poetry, television scripts, one -act plays, or selections from longer works.  Entries are limited to one prose and one poetry piece per student.  An application form plus four typed copies of each entry should be mailed or delivered to:

Thornton Wilder Writing Competition, c/o Friends of the Hamden Library, 2901 Dixwell Avenue, Hamden, CT06518, and must be received by Wednesday, February 1, 2012.

2012 Application Form

The prizes are:
First Prize, Prose $600               Second Prize, Prose $400
First Prize, Poetry $600              Second Prize, Poetry $400

The awards will be presented on the evening of Wednesday, April 11, 2012 in the Thornton Wilder Hall at the Miller Library Complex.  Winning entries will be read to the audience.  A reception will follow the presentations.  Teachers, families, and the public are encouraged to attend.

We look forward to your participation in 2012.  GOOD LUCK!

About Thornton Wilder

Thornton Wilder was born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1897. He studied at Oberlin College and Yale University and later became a teacher of literature and creative writing. Both a novelist and a playwright, he is considered one of the most important American writers. He won three Pulitzer Prizes: for the novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927), and for two plays, Our Town (1938), and The Skin of Our Teeth (1943). Another play, The Merchant of Yonkers (1939), which he rewrote as The Matchmaker, became the basis for the popular musical Hello, Dolly.

Wilder is not only an internationally known and respected author. Because he lived in Hamden from 1929 until his death in 1975, Hamden also claims him as one of its most noted residents. He is the inspiration for the annual Hamden writing competition for high school students, begun in 1986 by Augusta Thomas and the Friends of the Hamden Library. The prizes that are awarded each year have been made possible by a generous endowment from Thornton Wilder’s sister, Isabel Wilder, who resided in Hamden until her death in 1995.

Thornton Wilder Writing Competition


2012 Application

2011 Winners

Past Winners