The Neal Cassady Award (for Young Writers of the Human Soul)


As we prepare to celebrate the Neal Cassady Birthday Bash Weekend in Denver on February 8th and 9th, 2019, we think Neal would be as eager as ever to see what’s up ahead.  And these troubled times are certainly in need of a little more Neal and his life-digging spirit.

Are you a young writer who is living a genuine first person life with a point of view that is not downloaded from the App Store?  Then please send us something…  Creative…  Original writing, any format (prose, poetry, etc.) that is infused with the spirit of Neal Cassady, the Beats, and/or the Merry Pranksters.

Neal Cassady

  • Your submission must be 1,500 words maximum, in English (multiple poems and/or pieces of prose are acceptable, within the word limit)
  • You must be between the ages of 18 and 30, as of 15 December 2018
  • Deadline is 15 December 2018


  • Win $125
  • Place $75
  • Show $50

Here’s how we’ll evaluate the submissions:

  • Is it fresh?
  • Does it move?
  • Would Neal dig it?

If you’re not sure what Neal might dig, then post-haste a copy of On the Road (Jack Kerouac), The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (Tom Wolfe), and/or The First Third (Neal Cassady).

Or start right here:

Now you just dig them in front.  They have worries, they’re counting the miles, they’re thinking about where to sleep tonight, how much money for gas, the weather, how they’ll get there – and all the time they’ll get there anyway, you see.  But they need to worry and betray time with urgencies false and otherwise, purely anxious and whiny, their souls really won’t be at peace unless they can latch on to an established and proven worry and having once found it they assume facial expressions to fit and go with it, which is, you see, unhappiness, and all the time it all flies by them and they know it and that too worries them no end.

~ Neal Cassady letter to Jack Kerouac


Celebrating the life of Denver’s self-described “unnatural son"