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Professional Writing

Gaylord College announces winner of inaugural 2017 William Foster Harris Prizes for Young Writers

The professional writing faculty at the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma proudly announces the winners of the first William Foster Harris Professional Writing Prize.

"Our faculty was very impressed with the quality of the stories submitted,” said Mary Anna Evans, assistant professor of professional writing, “but the two winners were standouts. Judging these young people's work was a pleasure."

The Foster Harris Prize was awarded to commemorate the sixty-fifth anniversary of Gaylord College’s professional writing program. It was given to two promising writers, one in high school and one in a college undergraduate program. to a promising writer in high school and an undergraduate student. Both winners received a $500 prize.

Mia Mamone, a Noble High School student, received the award for the high school student for her story “The Touch.”

Brandie McAllister, a student at Oklahoma City University, was named the undergraduate student winner for her story “Mother Says.”

The prize is named after William Foster Harris, longtime professional writing professor at the University of Oklahoma.

The University of Oklahoma’s Professional Writing Program offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees focused on creative writing for publication, including fantasy, horror, mystery, suspense, romance, and other popular fiction genres, as well as screenwriting and commercial nonfiction. The program focuses on building a writing career by learning the business of publishing while studying creative writing under award-winning, best-selling professors with long and successful publication histories.

Program overview

The Professional Writing program has a 65-year history of helping its majors develop the skills needed to succeed in the publishing industry. Those skills, which include the ability to communicate clearly, think logically, manage large-scale projects, and craft a compelling narrative, are critical to virtually all careers. They also prepare students for graduate work in writing-intensive fields that include creative writing, English, journalism, and the law.

Key contacts in the Professional Writing program

Professional Writing academic adviser
(405) 325-0918

Ralph Beliveau

Professional Writing Area Head
(405) 325-4169

Skills gained from a Gaylord Professional Writing degree

Career tracksPractical skillsSoft skills 

Novel writing


Nonfiction writing






Fiction and nonfiction

writing for publication

Narrative development



Grammar and style

Collaborative writing

Writing for digital and print outlets

Assessing traditional and independent publishing options

Understanding the business of writing

Creative thinking

Critical thinking and logic

Planning and time management

Execution of large-scale projects

Degree requirements for Professional Writing majors

A maximum of 50 hours of JMC will be counted in the 124 hours required for graduation. At least 80 hours must be completed outside of Gaylord College.

JMC Core

1013 Introduction to Mass Communication

2033 Writing for Mass Media

4813 Mass Communication Law

Professional Writing Core

3011 Practicum (three hours)

3504 Introduction to Professional Writing

4514 Writing the Novel

4524 Writing the Short Story

4563 Category Fiction

4573 Theories of Professional Writing

4603 Business of Professional Writing (capstone)

Major Requirements

Completion of a minor outside of Gaylord College

(15-21 hours)

Electives to bring credit total to 124, including 48 upper-division hours