Two students work in lab

Welcome to the English Department

The ability to read and write effectively is invaluable in modern society. The WVC English Department seeks to engage students in thinking critically about writing, reading, researching and the ways those skills affect individuals, their communities and the world. Those skills are universal to every other discipline; therefore, students who complete courses in the English Department increase their chances of succeeding in all other areas.

The English Department offers General Education courses in Composition, Literature and Creative Writing in face-to-face and online modes. Those courses prepare students for completing an AA/AS degree, transferring to universities, life-long learning and enrichment, and meeting the demands of contemporary labor markets in diverse fields such as communication, publishing, law, social work, public relations, marketing, writing, politics, teaching and expanding opportunities in technology.

Best Essays Contest and Anthology

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.
Anais Nin

The Department of English sponsors an annual writing competition honoring West Valley College's best student writers enrolled in composition and literature courses. The winning essays are published in The West Valley College Best Essays hard copy and online anthology, and the top three winners may be awarded a cash prize.

The West Valley College Department of English privileges and supports effective writing, and that is why the contest and anthology are so important; they celebrate and illustrate that our students work diligently to understand and hone the skills that enable them to write perceptively and creatively.

Students can submit up to two essays written for any of their WVC English composition or literature courses taken within that academic year. The panel of judges consists of at least three English faculty members and at least one WVC student who intends to major in English. They read and rank the essays anonymously.

One piece of artwork is chosen for the front cover of the Anthology. Students in ARTS 55 are encouraged to submit artwork.

  1. The contestant must have written the essay for an English course at WVC during the academic year in which it was submitted.
  2. DEADLINE: Entries will be accepted until 11:59 PM on the first Friday in June.
  3. Entries will be submitted online in .doc format.
  4. Each entry must be original, previously unpublished work of the contestant.
  5. Contestants may not submit more than two (2) entries.
  6. The contestant and instructor’s name should only be printed on the entry form, not on the essay.
  7. The contestant’s WVC ID# and Essay Title should be placed at the top left corner of each page of the essay.
  8. If essays contain material from outside sources, they must include a Works Cited.
  9. The entry must be in MLA format typed in 12-point standard Times New Roman font and should be double-spaced.
  10. The decision of the judges is final. Judges reserve the right to disqualify an entry or deny an award if the entry does not meet guidelines.
  11. Entries will be read and winners selected over the summer by a panel of judges made up of instructors and students.
  12. Winners will be notified by email and/or phone and told of their award, if applicable. In addition, winners will be honored in a ceremony on campus, at which time copies of the anthology and any prizes will be distributed.

If you have any questions regarding this contest, please feel free to contact Cathy Jones at %20cathy.jonesFREEWEST_VALLEY or Nils Michals at nils.michalsFREEWEST_VALLEY

Submit an Essay

Voices: The Literary & Arts Journal of West Valley College

Voices is a literary and arts magazine that showcases the diverse voices of West Valley College. It is published each spring and is produced by the members of the WVC Voices Literary Club.

Current students, alumni, faculty and staff of West Valley College are invited to submit their work. We are looking for original fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and art.

Voices accepts submissions on a rolling basis.

  • Submit up to 3 stories with a maximum of 3000 words per fiction/non-fiction entry
  • Maximum of 3 poems per semester per author
  • Art of any form is welcome, but must be submitted in digital format
  • Please include the following in your email to Voices: name, contact information (phone and email), the title of your submission, and whether you are a current student, alumni, faculty or staff at West Valley College.

Submit entries via email:

  • Word format for fiction and poetry
  • JPG format for art
Last Updated 1/31/24