Category Archives: WVW Annual Writing Contest


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.

WV Writers Contest Entry Form 2010Since 1982, WV Writers has held an annual writing contest for adults, accepting original, unpublished entries in a variety of themed writing categories.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.

More categoriesFor 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

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WVW Contest Judge Bios 2015 – Stephanie Kadel Taras (Short Nonfiction)

Concluding our series of bios for the judges of the 2015 West Virginia Writers Annual Writing Contests.  


Stephanie Kadel Taras wrote a book about her grandmother seventeen years ago and has been writing people’s life stories ever since. Through her Ann Arbor, Michigan, company, TimePieces Personal Biographies, she has used her skill as an interviewer and storyteller to write more than 50 full-length, privately published biographies and institutional histories. She has interviewed hundreds of people about their lives and work, including parents, teachers, farmers, business owners, community leaders, lawyers, musicians, factory workers, and even a Great Lakes ship captain. Her book On Solid Rock, about the founding of Eckerd College, won an Independent Publishers book award.

Stephanie grew up in Elkins, West Virginia. In 2013, she published a book about her own life called Mountain Girls. The combination memoir and social history features the lifelong friendship of two girls whose resilience, humor, and creativity shape unexpected lives. Inspired by stories from other West Virginia women, they learn what generations of Appalachians have long known—it’s up to you to make the life you want. Mountain Girls won a West Virginia Writers, Inc., book award while still in production and has been praised by scholars of Appalachian history and culture as an important new work in the field.

Stephanie has a B.A. from Eckerd College, a Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in sociology and education from Syracuse University. She is a leader in the Ann Arbor community, where she is currently president of the Ann Arbor City Club’s board of directors. She is also a leader in her profession, having served as vice president of the international Association of Personal Historians, where she is considered the go-to teacher of business development skills to others who want to start a career writing life stories.

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WV Writers 2011 Annual Writing Contest Now Accepting Submissions!

The title says it all. West Virginia Writers is now accepting submissions for the 2011 Writers Contest. Find out all necessary details at the WV Writers 2011 Annual Writing Contest webpage. You can also listen to our ContestCast 2011 Podcast to help explain some of the new categories.

Download Contest Entry Forms below

Entry Form (.doc) Entry Form (.pdf)

Student Entry Form (.doc) Student Entry Form (.pdf)

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Greetings, from Contest Central,

The WVW Board of Directors and I have been busy readying the West Virginia Writers 2010 Annual Writing Competition, and I want to take this opportunity to update everyone on a few changes for this year, and to encourage you to start thinking about your entries for this year's contest.

Last year was my first as the Contest Coordinator and I really enjoyed interacting with so many of you throughout the contest period. It was an honor to be part of such an established and important writing competition. Here's a few facts about the contest you may not know:


Established in 1982
The state's largest writing competition.
Open to West Virginia residents and members of WV Writers, Inc., adult or college-level.
New Mountain Voices Student Writing Contest (with different writing categories for grades 1-5, 6-8 and 9-12)
Over $105, 000.00 in prize money awarded since 1982.

You may have noticed in that "fact list" that our Youth Competition has had a name change, that comes with an exciting make-over as well.

This year our contest for students in grades 1 -12 will become The New Mountain Voices Student Writing Contest. In an effort to get more students to enter, this year there will be no entry fee. Let me say that again, for the STUDENT competition this year, there will be no entry fee, yet the prize purse remains the same. First place $100; second place $50; and third place $25.

In addition, we have provided students with a series of writing prompts to give them some direction and provide them with a fun challenge. I think students, parents and teachers alike will find the changes we have made make this a student competition with a little sizzle.

Please check our web site for details.

Meanwhile back at the ADULT competition, we have added a new category for this year, simply entitled "Inspiration". You can enter either poetry or prose in this category, and because of the variety of writing that can fall under the "inspirational" heading we have purposefully not been to specific as to what can fit this category.

All of our other categories are back this year; and our cash prize purse remains the same. First place $250; second place $125; and third place $75.

Let me give you a few tips on entering, that come from my perspective as contest coordinator:

* Follow The Instructions Closely: This may seem obvious, but believe me some people spend a great amount of time crafting and editing their work, and then forget to slow down and fill in the entry form as required. Don't disqualify yourself by not reading the Contest Rules. If you've got a question, my email address is on the form and on our web site. We will work with you (as many of you can verify from last year); so just double check everything before you mail.

Is your check signed? Is it for the right amount? Is your word count correct? Did you remember to NOT put your name on your work? Did you mark the correct categories you intended to enter? Pay attention to the deadlines. Etc.

When I get your entries I use our coding system so that the judges just see a little code number on your piece, along with the title you supplied. They then let me know what pieces they have selected as winners by title and code number, and then I track it back to YOU on my spreadsheets.

* Don't Be Afraid To Enter Pieces You Entered Last Year: Every year we have new judges for each category. Just like in school, where one teacher loved your work and the other didn't "get" it, something you sent last year, that you know was unjustly ignored, might just sing to the new judge on the job.

* Try Entering a Piece in More Than One Category: Some of you already do this, but for others, it will increase your chances of winning without writing a new piece. Yes, if you enter one piece in three categories it is three entry fees; but you also now have three judges considering your work, rather than just one.

The contest opens January 2, 2010, with a deadline of March 15, 2010. As always we have an extended and final deadline of March 31, 2010, but there is $2.00 late fee PER entry after March 15. Here again, pay attention...if it's late, and you send no late fee(s), it doesn't get entered.

And finally, because we hope to see the New Mountain Voices student contest really take off, those entries will be handled by Nadine McKinney. Check the web site for all contest rules, mailing instructions and contact information.

Please note that there are some changes to the rules and format of the student contest.

Entry Form (.doc) Entry Form (.pdf)

Student Entry Form (.doc) Student Entry Form (.pdf)

Good luck,

Steve Goff
WVW Contest Coordinator

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