March 2, 2017 – West Virginia Writers, Inc., is entering into the home stretch for the annual writing competitions it sponsors, offering over $6000 in cash prizes. Submissions are accepted from January 2 through March 15 each year, which means there are only days left to get entries in without a late fee.
Since 1982, WV Writers has held an annual writing contest for adults, accepting original, unpublished entries in a variety of themed writing categories.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. But there are other categories to be found.
For the first time, the contest is featuring a category called Short Plays, accepting stage play scripts of a length of 15 minutes or fewer. The short play—particularly the ten minute play—has become a popular form across the world, due to the ability of theatres to showcase several in a single evening. Their limitations can make them challenging to write, which was what inspired West Virginia Writers to feature the form as a category in this year’s contest.
A returning category not featured since 2013 is Inspirational Writing. This category accepts poetry or prose or a spiritual nature. Such writing could take the form of faith-based fiction, non-fiction essay, or poetry, provided the writing is designed to inspire.
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 this year West Virginia Writers is offering a specialty topic category called The Flood, which is intended for prose or poetry inspired by the historic flooding that devastated over 1200 homes in West Virginia this past summer. The writing can also be about floods in other states, or flood as a concept, but it was inspired by the tragedy so many experienced in our state. There are thousands of stories that could be told that came from the flood and West Virginia Writers wants to encourage those stories to be recorded.
The adult writing contest is open to all residents of West Virginia as well as to any out-of-state member of WV Writers, Inc. There is a $10 fee for each adult contest entry, and a $12 fee for the book-length category. After the March 15 deadline, submissions can still be sent through March 31, but will require a $2 per entry late fee. It’s best to get entries in by the March 15 deadline. Prize amounts for the adult contest include $250 for 1st Place, $125 for 2nd Place and $75 for 3rd Place.
For students in grades 1-12, WV Writers offers a separate contest called The New Mountain Voices Student Writing Contest. There are six suggested writing topics for this contest, but students are welcome to make up their own story or poem. The New Mountain Voices Student Contest is free to enter and is only open to student residents of West Virginia. Prize amounts for the student contest are $100 for 1st Place, $50 for 2nd Place and $25 for 3rd Place. Winners will be announced June 10, 2017 in an awards ceremony during West Virginia Writers Annual Writers Conference, held at Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley, W.Va. All winners, including honorable mentions, will receive certificates suitable for framing. Entries submitted after March 15 will require a $1 per entry late fee.
For official contest entry forms, contest rules, the Frequently Asked Questions List concerning the contest, bios for the 2017 contest judges, and a contest checklist for entering, please visit the contest webpage at wvwriters.org/contest.html. Or email contest coordinator, Eric Fritzius, at email@example.com.
West Virginia Writers, the largest writers’ organization in the state celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year.