top of page

The Amistad is excited to host a creative writing contest - the May Miller Creative Writing Award.


Born in 1889 and active during the Harlem Renaissance, May Miller was a playwright, poet, and teacher. The child of Howard professor Kelly Miller and later a Howard graduate herself, Miller came of age on Howard’s campus. After graduation in 1920, Miller’s prizewinning play, The Bog Guide helped establish her in the black cultural scene. Subsequent publications, including Scratches (1929), Stragglers in the Dust (1930), Nails and Thorns (1933), among others, cemented Miller as the most widely published woman playwright of the Harlem Renaissance. Miller went on to study poetry at American University and Columbia University, ultimately publishing over a half dozen poetry collections, including Halfway to the Sun (1981) and Collected Poems (1989). A devoted community advocate, Miller also maintained a lengthy and successful teaching career at Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore, Maryland.


May Miller devoted her life to writing and education and, at every turn, prioritized the value of Black lives and stories. Her life’s work speaks to the very heart of our literary arts journal. We are proud to honor May Miller’s legacy with an award catered to Howard University students.


The May Miller Creative Writing Award is open to current Howard University undergraduate,  graduate, transfer, and former students as well as alumni. While there are no thematic criteria surrounding content, we are looking for work that speaks to the journal’s mission statement. Writers can submit two pieces of poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction. One winner will receive $200 and will be published in the spring edition of The Amistad.


Each year, the contest is blindly judged by a prominent author. We’re thrilled to have Callaloo Fellow, Pushcart finalist, and Howard English instructor, Kimberly Collins serve as our judge.


This contest is funded by the Howard University Office of the Dean, College of Arts and Science and sponsored by the Department of English.

The contest is open annually from November 1st - February 12th. All writers will be notified of their work by the end of March.



  • Writers can submit two (2) pieces of either poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction

  • Additional submissions will not be judged

  • Each submission must be uploaded separately

  • Current undergraduate and graduate students as well as transfer and non-graduates are welcome

  • Open to all majors

  • Proof of Howard affiliation may be required

Submit at ( or by clicking the link below:


bottom of page