University of Pittsburgh



The generosity of our friends has made the below awards possible. See the undergraduate awards page or the graduate awards page for contest details.

The Turow-Kinder Prize in Fiction

An annual award of $300 is provided by Chuck Kinder and Scott Turow for the best piece of fiction by a graduate student in the Writing Program. The deadline for submissions is usually in the spring term. The prize is judged by a nationally known fiction writer from outside the department.

Brown Award

The Fred R. Brown Literary Award recognizes the accomplishments of talented fiction writers, usually emerging novelists. This award was made possible by Fred Brown (CAS ’71) and Melanie Brown (CGS ’86, KGSB ’90, KGSB ’93), who are life-long residents of Western Pennsylvania and alumni of the University of Pittsburgh. Between them they hold a Bachelor of Science, a Masters of Science, an MBA, and a PhD in Physical Chemistry from Pitt. They have spent most of their professional careers at the US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory located in South Park. During their very busy and accomplished professional and intellectual careers the Browns have had, as one of their primary personal interests, book collecting. They have a collection of over 3,000 books—over half of which are signed and which contain winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and Pen/Faulkner Award. The Browns' generous award allows us to bring notable writers to campus who read from their work and interact in a variety of ways with our graduate and undergraduate students.

Past Brown Award writers include the following:

  • 2007-2008 Don Lee
  • 2008-2009 Sabina Murray
  • 2009-2010 Aleksandar Hemon
  • 2010-2011 Michael Thomas
  • 2011-2012 Wells Tower
  • 2012-2013 Justin Torres
  • 2013-2014 Charles Bock
  • 2014-2015 Noviolet Bulawayo  


Block Award

 The William Block Sr. Award was founded by the same family who owns the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper.

Bill Block Sr., the late publisher of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, whose outstanding leadership of the newspaper for nearly 60 years was nationally recognized and locally esteemed, was most of all a lover of the written word—its power, its responsibility, and its beauty. Although he grew up as the son of Paul Block, one of the publishing world’s flamboyant pioneers, and as a boy found himself playing at the Hearst Castle and accompanying his father around the world to confer with heads of state, Bill was himself a humble, self-effacing man whose belief in the autonomy of his newsroom and his compassion for all people made him both the perfect publisher and the ideal citizen. His appreciation for the writing of his staff often led to a handwritten note slipped quietly on the desk of the writer, whether of a Pulitzer-Prize-winning story or an obituary of a homeless woman. The essence of the note would be the same, thanking the writer for making the words transform him. Bill died in 2005 at the age of 89.

The award is granted to senior and distinguished fiction writers, nonfiction writers, and poets.

Past William Block Sr. Writers include the following:

  • 2001-2002 Richard Ford
  • 2002-2003 Terry Tempest Williams
  • 2003-2004 Richard Rodriguez
  • 2004-2005 ZZ Packer
  • 2005-2006 Michael Ondaatje
  • 2006-2007 Patrick McCabe
  • 2007-2008 Philip Gourevitch
  • 2008-2009 Paul Muldoon
  • 2009-2010 Sven Birkerts
  • 2010-2011 Paul Kurlansky
  • 2011-2012 Terrance Hayes
  • 2012-2013 Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts
  • 2013-2014 Peter Hessler


Melissa Difatta Undergraduate Award in Creative Nonfiction 

Debra Difatta named this award in memory of her daughter, Melissa, who passed away on August 9, 2010 after battling Hodgkin's disease for six years. Melissa won an undergraduate award in creative nonfiction in 2009 for her essay, "The Bone Marrow Queen." Today, Debra loves to see the number of reads this memoir gets. With more than 20,000 reads in four years, it is Debra's hope that Melissa's writing continues to touch lives. Debra believes that Melissa is happy that she is remembered by her teachers, friends, and young writers at Pitt.

Myron Taube Award for Fiction Writing

Established by Marion Taube in honor of her husband's retirement in 1995, this fund honors Myron "Mike" Taube who taught creative writing for 30 years. A $500 prize is awarded to an undergraduate junior or senior for excellence in creative writing.

Revised 09/21/2022
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