Paul Kalanithi Writing Award

Paul Kalanithi was a physician writer and neurosurgery resident at Stanford University. In the final years of his training, he was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer. His memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, beautifully chronicles his reflections on living with illness and the meaning of legacy. The Paul Kalanithi Writing Award was created in his memory. 

Please join us for our annual virtual prize reading on May 23 | 6PM PT REGISTER

This short documentary by Stanford videographer Mark Hanlon captures Paul Kalanithi’s shifting perception of time while living with terminal cancer.

Lucy Kalanithi often visits the gravesite of her husband, Paul Kalanithi, with the couple’s daughter, Cady, to picnic and leave flowers. (Photo by Timothy Archibald)

Prize Winners

2021 Prize Winners

First place: Sliding Down | Michael Rabow, MD

Second place: Silver | Hannah Joyner

Third place: Of Seeds | Rachael Peckham, PhD

Honorable Mention

How to Deal with Charon | Brian Smith, Medical Student

2019 Prize Winners

2016 Prize Winners

Submissions Open: November 1, 2021- February 1, 2022

Medicine & the Muse is pleased to announce a solicitation for unpublished short stories, essays or poetry addressing patients and providers facing chronic or life limiting illness. Fiction and non-fiction submissions are welcome. For submission guidelines and to submit, click here

Contest Guidelines
Short Stories/Essays: Less than 2500 words
Poems: Less than 50 lines

Dual submissions permitted, if they are in different genres. No more than two submissions.
Simultaneous submissions permitted, but please withdraw your piece if it gets published elsewhere. Collections of poems are permitted, but please adhere to the line limit. 

Open to all. Stanford affiliates encouraged to apply.

Submission Deadline: February 1, 2022
Winners announced: March 22, 2022

Judges include: Drs. Steve Asch and Lucy Kalanithi, Stanford physician writers, Dr. Jay Baruch, Brown University Alpert School of Medicine physician writer, Shannon Pufahl, Jones Lecturer in Creative Writing, Adam Johnson, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner and Stanford professor of English, and Executive Director of Stanford Medical Humanities & Arts program, Jacqueline Genovese

Total of 3 Winners: First place $500, Second place $250, Third place $250.
Honorarium made possible by the generosity of a Stanford Palliative Care benefactor.

2021 winners will be published in Anastomosis, Stanford University School of Medicine’s humanities and literary journal.