Spencer B. King, Jr. Creative Writing Scholarship Competition

Open to high school juniors selected as finalists of the Spencer B. King, Jr. Creative Writing Scholarship Competition, this special day will feature an opportunity to:

  • Tour campus
  • Learn more about Mercer and the creative writing program
  • Participate in a reading from the Robinson Prize winner, Barbara Kingsolver
Spencer B King, Jr. Creative Writing Scholarship


Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), masks will be required for all campus visitors while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. The Spencer B. King, Jr. Creative Writing Scholarship Competition will be limited to one student and one guest per family.


The Spencer B. King Jr. Center for Southern Studies fosters critical discussions about the many meanings of the South. As the only center for southern studies in the United States dedicated to the education and enrichment of undergraduate students, the Center’s primary purpose is to examine the region’s complex history and culture through courses, conversations, and events that are open, honest, and accessible.


About the Thomas Robinson Prize

The Thomas Robinson Prize for Southern Literature, previously known as the Sidney Lanier Prize, was first awarded in 2012. The prize recognizes writers who have engaged and extended the long, often complicated, tradition of writing about the South. Past winners include Ernest Gaines (2012), Lee Smith (2013), Elizabeth Spencer (2014), Yusef Komunyakaa (2015), Wendell Berry (2016), Ellen Gilchrist (2017), Natasha Trethewey (2018), Fred Chappell (2019), and Ron Rash (2020).

Mercer University’s Spencer B. King Jr. Center for Southern Studies will award the 2021 Thomas Robinson Prize for Southern Literature to novelist, essayist, and poet Barbara Kingsolver.

Kingsolver is the author of 15 books translated into more than two dozen languages and adopted into the core literature curriculum in high schools and colleges throughout the nation. She served as editor for Best American Short Stories 2001, contributed to more than 50 literary anthologies, and her reviews and articles have appeared in most major U.S. newspapers and magazines.

Kingsolver was named one the most important writers of the 20th century by Writers Digest. In 2000, she received the National Humanities Medal, the nation’s highest honor for service through the arts. She has received multiple awards from the American Booksellers Association and the American Library Association, among many others. In 2011, she was awarded the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bring guests?

Absolutely! Each student may bring one guest. If another student is planning to attend with you, we ask that they register as well.

What should I wear?

You will be walking around campus throughout the day, so we recommend comfortable shoes and casual clothes. Since you will be inside and outside, please check the weather before you come.

Where should I park?

Parking will vary for each event, so check your email leading up to the event for detailed parking information. Also, when you arrive on campus, our student staff will be in orange polos and will direct you to your parking destination.

What will I see on the tour?

The campus tour gives you a student's perspective on life at Mercer. You'll see everything from our dining facilities to the fitness center, our historic Quad, Mercer Village, Cruz Plaza, and the new science center.