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The Sophie Kerr Legacy

Sophie Kerr, a prolific and popular American writer of the early 20th century, has left an indelible literary mark at Washington College, where the gift she bequeathed 40 years ago enabled the College to bring to campus a succession of the nation’s top writers, editors and scholars.

Edward Albee, Joseph Brodsky, Gwendolyn Brooks, Mary Karr, Lucille Clifton, James McBride, Eamon Grennan, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Pinsky, Charles Simic and Jane Smiley are just a few of the other literary heavyweights who have inspired and instructed the next generation of American writers at Washington College.

In addition to the Sophie Kerr Series, the Sophie Kerr Gift provides scholarships for students who show literary promise, pays for library books, and supports various literary activities. The result is a wonderfully vibrant intellectual culture where the literary arts thrive. For more information about upcoming events, refer to Sophie Kerr Lecture Series Events page or find us on facebook.

The Sophie Kerr Prize is awarded each year to the graduating senior who has the best ability and promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavor. Valued at $63,537 in 2020, it is the nation’s largest literary prize awarded solely to undergraduate students.

In the past, the prize has been awarded for both creative and critical writing alike. Student winners are chosen for their literary excellence, regardless of genre.

Graduating Washington College seniors can learn more about preparing and submitting a portfolio for the Sophie Kerr Prize by clicking on “Portfolio Guidelines” under the Sophie Kerr Legacy heading.


Sophie Kerr Biography

2017 Sophie Kerr Prize Event