Submissions are now open for the annual writing contests of West Virginia Writers, Inc. with contests aimed at both adults and students, offering $5850 in total cash prizes.
Since 1982, WV Writers has held an annual writing contest for adults, accepting original, unpublished entries in a variety of themed writing categories. Traditional categories for the contest include: Children’s Books, Short Story, Short Nonfiction, Short Poetry, Long Poetry, Appalachian Writing, Book Length Prose/Young Adult, and the Emerging Writers categories for prose and poetry, for writers who have not previously won a cash prize in the WV Writers contest. The Emerging Writers Poetry category is named the F. Ethan Fischer Memorial Poetry Award, after a former WVW board member from the Martinsburg area who mentored many new poets.
For the past six years, WV Writers has featured a special category called the Pearl S. Buck Award for Writing for Social Change. This category seeks prose and poetry submissions on the theme of encouraging positive change in culture and society. The category is sponsored by the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation in Hillsboro, and is inspired by Buck’s tradition of writing with the intent of bringing about social change.
And while previous years have included a category for stage plays, this year’s Joe McCabe Memorial Script Award (named after the late beloved playwright and WVW member) will be a more specialized category called Short Plays, accepting stage play scripts of a length of 15 minutes or fewer. Short play festivals are a staple of theatre companies across the nation, so encouraging the creation of new short plays is always a good thing.
A returning category not featured since 2013 is Inspirational Writing. This category accepts writing of an inspirational or religious nature, which can take the form of poetry or prose, fiction or nonfiction.
And for 2017 West Virginia Writers is offering a specialty topic category called The Flood. Much like previous topic categories, such as Suvival and Animals, this one can be somewhat open to interpretation. However, it was itself inspired by the historic flooding that devastated over 1200 homes in our state this past summer, and cost over 20 people their lives. “You can’t go through that kind of tragedy and not have a story to tell,” says contest coordinator Eric Fritzius. “We wanted to help inspire people to tell those stories, and capture those emotions on the page.” The category is not limited to writing specifically about the flooding in West Virginia. It could be applied to similar disasters in other states or simply use the concept "the Flood" on a metaphorical level.
The adult contest is open to all residents of West Virginia as well as to any member of WV Writers, Inc. residing outside of the state. There is a $10 fee for each adult contest entry, and a $12 fee for the book-length category.
For students in grades 1-12, WV Writers again offers The New Mountain Voices Student Writing Contest. Students may choose from six suggested writing topics or they may make up their own story or poem. There are three age group categories in this contest (for grades 1-5, 6-8, and 9-12), each of which will have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes awarded. The New Mountain Voices contest is free to enter and is open only to student residents of West Virginia.
Submissions for both contests are accepted from January 2 through March 15 (with a late deadline of March 31). Winners will be announced June 10, 2017 at an awards ceremony during the annual West Virginia Writers Conference held at Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley, W.Va. The conference this year will celebrate the 40th anniversary of West Virginia Writers, Inc., which was founded in February 1977. All winners, including honorable mentions, will receive certificates suitable for framing, with cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each category.
Contest entry forms for both contests are attached to this email. Other info, such as contest judges, and the frequently asked contest questions list can be found at our contest webpage. Or email contest coordinator, Eric Fritzius, at email@example.com.