Jan. 2 marked the opening day for the submission period for the annual writing contests of West Virginia Writers Inc. offering over $6,000 in total cash prizes for the adult and student categories.
Since 1982, WV Writers has held an annual adult writing contest, accepting original, unpublished entries in a variety of writing categories. Traditional writing categories for the contest include: Children’s Books, Short Story, Short Nonfiction, Short Poetry, Long Poetry, Appalachian Writing, and Book Length Prose (accepting book-length fiction, nonfiction and young adult entries). A returning category for 2016 is Stage Play, accepting original unproduced theatrical scripts.
Two new categories for 2016 include the theme category the T.W. McNemar Memorial Humor Category accepting poetry and prose entries that tickle the funny bone. This category is named in honor of the dearly missed Terry McNemar, former West Virginia Writers Inc. president and active supporter of writing throughout West Virginia and Appalachia. The second new category is Poetry Collection, for poets wishing to submit multiple unpublished poems,forming a collection of up to a total of 7,500 words.
Writers who have not previously won a cash prize in the West Virginia Writers contest may enter the Emerging Writers Prose and Emerging Writers Poetry categories. Lastly, West Virginia Writers is offering the Pearl S. Buck Award for Writing for Social Change. In its fifth year, this category seeks prose and poetry submissions on the theme of encouraging societal improvement. This category is co-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.
The adult contest is open to all residents of West Virginia as well as to any out-of-state member of West Virginia Writers Inc. There is a $10 fee for each adult contest entry, and a $12 fee for the book-length prose and Poetry Collection categories. Prize amounts for the adult contest include $250 for 1st Place, $125 for 2nd Place and $75 for 3rd Place, for each of the three different age-groups covered in the contest (grade 1-5, 6-8 and 9-12).
For students in grade 1-12, West Virginia 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 create their own original 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.
Submissions for both contests are accepted from Jan. 2 through Mar. 15 (with a late deadline of Mar. 31). Winners will be announced June 11 in an awards ceremony during West Virginia Writers Annual Writers Conference, held at Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley. All winners, including honorable mentions, will receive certificates suitable for framing.
For official contest entry forms, contest rules, the Frequently Asked Questions List concerning the contest, and a free podcast explaining the contest, visit the contest webpage at wvwriters.org/contest.html or email contest coordinator, Brittney Cassity, at email@example.com.
West Virginia Writers, the largest writers’ organization in the state will celebrate its 39th Anniversary in February of 2016.