Contest Judge Rollout: Kelly Sundberg (Nonfiction)

(WV Writers is rolling out the names and bios of our contest judges for 2018.  For the full collection of judge bios click THIS LINK or read the 2018 JUDGES LIST.)

Kelly Sundberg's essays have appeared in Guernica, Gulf Coast, Denver Quarterly, Slice, The Mid-American Review, and elsewhere. Her essay "It Will Look Like a Sunset" was anthologized in Best American Essays 2015, and other essays were listed as notables in Best American Essays 2013 and 2016. Her debut memoir Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival is forthcoming from HarperCollins on June 5, 2018, and it will also be released by PiperVerlag in Germany. She has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from West Virginia University, and she is currently completing her PhD in Creative Nonfiction at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio where she lives with her twelve-year-old son.

Contest Judge Rollout: Wendy Oleson (Emerging Writers Prose)

(WV Writers is rolling out the names and bios of our contest judges for 2018.  For the full collection of judge bios click THIS LINK or read the 2018 JUDGES LIST.)

Wendy Oleson is the author of Please Find Us (winner of the Gertrude Press 2017 Fiction Chapbook Contest) and Our Daughter and Other Stories (winner of the Map Literary 2016 Rachel Wetzsteon Chapbook Award). Her stories, poems, and hybrid work have appeared recently in Cimarron Review, Calyx, and Copper Nickel. Wendy teaches for the Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension and Washington State at Tri-Cities and serves as an associate editor for Fairy Tale Review and Memorious Magazine. She lives in Walla Walla, Washington with her wife and a hiccup-prone dog named Winston.

WV Writers Contest Reminder Checklist 2018

West Virginia Writers Annual Writing Contests are currently accepting submissions for 2018.

To help things run smoothly for both entrants and our contest coordinator,  here’s a handy checklist that you should go over before sending in your entries.


1) Have you read the contest rules to make sure you’re complying with them? Even if you’ve entered a dozen times in the past, please don’t assume you know the rules by heart. Mistakes happen, so please read the rules again. The CONTEST GUIDELINES are guidelines, not merely suggestions. Follow them and you cannot go wrong.

2) Is your contest category and the word count for your entry printed in the top right corner of your entry? The word count means the actual number of words in your entry. (You don't need word count for poetry entries. You DO for all prose entries.) Your word processing program will be able to tell you this. Please do not estimate. For Book Length Prose, this means the word count of your submitted excerpt, not of the overall novel.

3) Have you filled out your entry form correctly and marked which categories you’re entering? Not filling out the category section would be okay if you’re sending only one entry and its category is noted on the entry itself, but in the case of multiple prose entries it can be important to have it in both places.

4) Have you double and triple checked that your name and/or address is NOT printed on your actual story or poem? This contest is blindly judged; meaning, the judges may not know the names or identities of the writers.  The ONLY place your name should appear is on your contest entry form.  (We assign each story a code corresponding with that author’s entry in our contest database, where the author’s name and their story are recorded. This way our judges have no idea who has written a given piece.)

5) If your entry requires a one-page synopsis (Book Length Prose, Middle Grade Children's Book) have you included it?  In order for the judges to be able to see the plan for your entire work, the synopsis must be included.

6) Have you double-checked to make sure you included all of your entries in your envelope? In the past, we’ve received a few envelopes that are a story or poem short of the intended amount. (In fact, we once received an envelope that only had an entry form and no submission at all.) We always contact entrants to make sure of their intentions. But the more careful you are in submitting the easier it is on me. Which brings us to…

7) Have you included accurate contact information for yourself? Every year people send entries in that require followup to correct an error or two, and every year many of those emails sent bounce back because they are incorrectly written on the form. (Sometimes, handwriting interpretation on our part may be at fault.) Please legibly print your contact info, especially your email address, and make sure it’s all correct.  Better yet, download and use the fill-in-the-blank contest entry forms we have available this year.

8) Have you addressed your envelope with the correct address of our contest coordinator?  The mailing address to send your entries to is different than in years past.  Be sure your form says 2018 and don't use a form from a previous year.

9) If you live in a state other than West Virginia, have you made certain your membership dues in WV Writers are paid in full?  Out-of-state members may absolutely enter the contest, but they do need to be current members.  You can check with WV Writers secretary at

Dos and Don'ts.

  • DO staple your individual entries if they have multiple pages. (You can also paperclip them, but I'm just going to remove the paperclip and staple them again for added stability in transit to the judges.)
  • DON'T staple all of your entries together in one big stapled document. You may use a paperclip to hold multiple entries together, but stapling them all together does not help and may actually hurt. (I've received several stabbings while trying to remove such staples.)
  • DO write legibly on your entry form.
  • DON'T forget to include your zip code on the contest entry form. We don't know the zip code for every town in the state and having to find your envelope to double check the return address, or look it up online, slows down the process.

If you have questions feel free to send them to us at Do know, though, that many of the answers to questions we have received about the contest are found at our Frequently Asked Questions list.

Contest Judge Rollout: Sarah Lowther Hensley (New Mountain Voices Middle School)

(WV Writers is rolling out the names and bios of our contest judges for 2018.  For the full collection of judge bios click THIS LINK or read the 2018 JUDGES LIST.)

Sarah Lowther Hensley is a writer living in Fairmont, WV. Ms. Hensley’s experience includes more than a decade as a public broadcasting journalist in the U.S. and Europe; a stint working in higher education administration--focusing on public relations, marketing, communications, and community relations; and working as a technical writer for a federal government contractor. As a volunteer, she has provided web and social media support to several non-profits. Ms. Hensley also writes a personal blog, is a voracious reader, and enjoys staying informed. She holds a B.A. in International Studies from West Virginia Wesleyan College, M.A. in German from Middlebury College, and is a 1998 graduate of Leadership West Virginia.

Contest Judge Rollout: Donna Meredith (Book Length Prose)

(WV Writers is rolling out the names and bios of our contest judges for 2018.  For the full collection of judge bios click THIS LINK or read the 2018 JUDGES LIST.)

Donna Meredith’s award-winning books include The Glass Madonna, The Color of Lies, Wet Work, Fraccidental Death and Magic in the Mountains. A retired teacher and past president of the Tallahassee Writers Association, she holds degrees from Fairmont State, West Virginia University, and Nova Southeastern. She has presented numerous workshops on writing and literature for writers associations, libraries, and civic groups. She serves as associate editor of the Southern Literary Review.

Contest Judge Rollout: Tim Minear (Screenplay)

(WV Writers is rolling out the names and bios of our contest judges for 2018.  For the full collection of judge bios click THIS LINK or read the 2018 JUDGES LIST.)

American Horror Story Season 4, Production Headshots, Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FX

Tim Minear is well known among genre television fans for his work on such shows as The X-Files, Angel, Dollhouse and Firefly. He has been with Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s American Horror Story since its first installment, Murder House. Recently Tim served as co-showrunner on the first season of the critically acclaimed limited series Feud. Minear is currently working on Fox's 911 as both co-creator and showrunner.

WV Writers Contest F.A.Q. #52

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION: Is there an address where one can send the submission fees? Don’t have a credit card or use of Pay-pal, but would like to enter several of the contests. How do I pay the fees?

ANSWER: If you enter the contest by mail, you can send a check for submission fees. Just download the contest entry form you need from our CONTEST PAGE (either the Adult Contest Form or New Mountain Voices Student Contest form) and follow the instructions.  The address to send submissions to is on each form. And the  forms are fillable, so you can type in all the info and print them out. Find them at...


Judges List for 2018

The following is the list of judges for the 2018 West Virginia Writers Writing Contests.  Click on each linked judge name for their bio.

Book Length Prose - Donna Meredith

Emerging Writers Prose - Wendy Oleson

Emerging Writers Poetry - Molly Fuller

Social Change (PSB) - Jerri Bell

Children's Books - Jerrie Howard

Middle Grade/YA - Julia Watts

Humor - Adam Booth

Nonfiction - Kelly Sundberg

Mystery - Tamara Woods

Screenplay - Tim Minear

Short Poetry - Ron Houchin

Long Poetry - Jeff Mann

Short Story - Yehudit Hannah Cohn

NMV Elementary - Michelle Lipscomb

NMV Middle School - Sarah Lowther Hensley

NMV High School - Andria Amodt Ho


Contest Judge Rollout: Yehudit Hannah (Short Story)

(WV Writers is rolling out the names and bios of our contest judges for 2018.  For the full collection of judge bios click THIS LINK or read the 2018 JUDGES LIST.)

Yehudit Hannah (née Judith Ann) Cohn lived in several states before finding herself in West Virginia in 1989; she soon settled in, and called Charleston “home” for the next dozen years. In that time she participated at Temple B’nai Israel and B’nai Jacob Synagogue, was on the art crew for a Danny Boyd film, worked for Michael Lipton at Graffiti, and saw They Might Be Giants twice on Mountain Stage.

She also earned a Master of Arts degree in Humanities Studies: Storytelling from then-West Virginia Graduate College, under Dean Joyce East and mentor Denise Giardina, after which she taught English for then-West Virginia State College. Ms. Cohn is also a former Director and Professor of Humanities Studies at that institution, where she learned fascinating things from her students.

In the fall of 2000, since she left for a year’s sabbatical to participate in a post-graduate writing program, the Arad Arts Program with Amos Oz, she has lived in Jerusalem, Israel, where she continues to teach and write*.
*As she writes this, she has learned that an essay of hers was accepted for the twentieth anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the Winter/Spring 2018 issue of Slayage!

Contest Judge Rollout: Andria Amodt Ho (New Mountain Voices High School)

(WV Writers is rolling out the names and bios of our contest judges for 2018.  For the full collection of judge bios click THIS LINK or read the 2018 JUDGES LIST.)

Andria Amodt Ho is a teacher librarian in San Antonio, Texas.  She loves reading (YA lit. is the best!), crocheting, and desperately needs to get back to writing.  This is only her second year as a librarian, and librarianship has brought many new interests her way, including coding, robotics, and lots of papercrafts.  When she isn't busy in the library, you will probably find her on the computer working out details for new library programs, searching Pinterest for fresh ideas, or at a meeting planning one of several school district literary events.  At home, it isn't unusual to find her curled up in a comfy chair with one of several crazy doggies spread out near her feet, binge watching a tv series she completely missed while finishing her master's degree.