MD Program

Contact the Writing and Humanities Program

1193 MERF
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2600
Phone:(319) 335-8058
Fax: (319) 335-8643

  • Carol A. Bowman Creative Writing Contest

    Established by Richard Caplan, M.D.

    Sponsored by the UI Carver College of Medicine Program in Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities

    Co-sponsored by the UI Carver College of Medicine's Writing and Humanities Program.

    Carol A. Bowman Contest Winners 2014

    Honorable mentions

    About our judge for 2014: 

    Kevin González: I teach courses in fiction and poetry. I'm the author of a collection of poems, Cultural Studies, and am currently at work on a novel, excerpts of which have appeared in Playboy, Narrative Magazine, Best New American Voices, and Best American Nonrequired Reading. In addition to teaching and writing, I edit the literary magazine jubilat, and, along with Lauren Shapiro, I co-edited an anthology of American poetry titled The New Census (Rescue Press, 2013). I received a BA in Creative Writing and International Relations from Carnegie Mellon, an MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. 

    See Previous Years' entries and results.

    Contest Guidelines

    A Message from Dr. Richard Caplan, M.D.

    I established the Carol A. Bowman Creative Writing Contest after the death of Dr. Bowman, who had just received her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in Medical Humanities, although for several years I had been sponsor of such an effort in cooperation with Vital Signs. The purpose was to encourage medical students to reflect on their new experiences in the world of medicine and to encourage the process and discipline of putting words on paper effectively, and to enjoy the satisfactions of creative effort.

    The Program in Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities in conjunction with the Writing and Humanities Program is pleased to announce this creative writing contest for medical students. Entries may be of any length or literary genre (fiction, essay, poetry, drama, memoir). The purpose of the contest is to stimulate student writing and thoughtful expression of the many and new experiences students encounter while in medical school.

    2014 Prizes

    • 1st: $200
    • 2nd: $125
    • 3rd: $75

    The winning submissions will be published with author approval to be distributed (gratis) online and in The Examined Life Journal. Entries may be published with the author's permission on our website or in printed form.

    Copies of winning submissions from prior contests are available from the links above. Submissions may be made at any time to https://examinedlife.wufoo.com/forms/carol-a-bowman-creative-writing-contest/ before the submission deadline of 5:00 p.m. Monday, March 31, 2014. Only medical students of the UI Carver College of Medicine are eligible to enter this contest.

    Winners will be announced in April, 2014.

    Questions? Visit, email, or call Jason T. Lewis at 335-8051, 1193A MERF.

    About the Contest

    Carol Bowman received a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in the Medical Humanities in May 1992. Soon after, she was found to have a malignancy from which she died in July 1993 after a valiant, difficult struggle. She had been a successful writer herself, a counselor regarding substance abuse, as well as an enthusiastic teacher of high school and medical students. This contest is meant as a memorial to her concern for the humane treatment of patients and students.