VCU Student Book Collecting Contest

Sponsored by the VCU Department of English, James Branch Cabell Library, and Black Swan Books


The VCU Student Book Collecting Contest recognizes currently enrolled VCU students who have developed thoughtful and purposeful collections of books, manuscripts, or other material textual works.


Submissions to the contest must include:


  1. Cover sheet with: name, email address, undergraduate or graduate, name of collection.
  2. A brief essay (2 pages) describing the nature, scope, and rationale of the collection.
  3. An annotated bibliography of up to 15 items from the collection (the bibliography must be formatted to MLA style and each item must be accompanied by a 4-6 sentence explanation of what it is and why it is a part of the collection).


Incomplete submissions will not be considered.


A panel of judges will select one undergraduate and one graduate winner. Judging will be based upon how well the collection has been developed, how well it is justified, and how significant or unique it is (monetary value or rarity of the items is irrelevant).


The winners will receive a cash prize, courtesy of Black Swan Books. In addition, selections from both collections may be put on temporary display at the Cabell Library.


The deadline for the 2017-2018 contest has passed. Be sure to check back on this page in fall 2018 for the 2018-2019 deadline.

2017-2018 Winners

Undergraduate Prize: Jessica Schuler, “Written in the Margins”

Undergraduate Runner-Up: Lauren Chartuk, “Educational Shakespeare”

Graduate Prize: Francesca Lyn, “Small Press and Autobiographical Comics”

Graduate Runner-Up: Ebony Lambert, “A Divine Force: Reflections on Black Love”

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