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Creative Writing Competitions

Student presenter at 2022 conference

 

2024 Contests

High School Competition

High school students in North Carolina are encouraged to submit their creative writing for a chance to win a cash prize and read at the 22nd annual Spring Literary Festival.  To submit your work, email your submission to "writingcontest@wcu.edu," along with the following information: submission title, genre, and name of your high school. (Submissions in multiple genres allowed.)

Deadline March 3, 2024

Prize in Fiction

1st place - $250
2nd place - $100
3rd place - $50

Submit a short story of up to 2000 words.

Judged by WCU English Studies faculty.

 


Prize in Nonfiction

1st place - $250
2nd place - $100
3rd place - $50

Submit a creative/literary essay of up to 2000 words. 

Judged by WCU English Studies faculty.

 


Prize in Poetry

1st place - $250
2nd place - $100
3rd place - $50

Submit up to three poems.

Judged by WCU English Studies faculty

 


Litfest Creative Writing Competition

Undergraduate students at WCU may submit fiction, poetry, and/or nonfiction to the Litfest Creative Writing competition (submissions in multiple genres allowed). Winners will receive a cash prize, publication in The Nomad, and a chance to read at the 22nd annual Spring Literary Festival. To submit your work, email thenomad@wcu.edu and include the title and genre in the body of the email. 

Deadline February 19, 2024.

Kathryn Stripling Byer Prize in Poetry

Submit up to three poems.

Winner - $250

Runner-up - $100

Judged by Amy Alvarez, author of the poetry collection Makeshift Altar (2024) and the co-editor of Essential Voices: A COVID-19 Anthology (2023). 

 


Prize in Fiction

Submit a short story of up 2000 words. 

Winner - $250

Runner-up - $100

Judged by Carter Sickels, author of the novel The Prettiest Star, winner of the 2021 Southern Book Prize and the Weatherford Award, and The Evening Hour, which was adapted into a feature film by the same name in 2020.


Prize in Literary Nonfiction

Winner - $250

Runner-up - $100

Submit up a literary/creative essay of up to 2000 words. 

Judged by Sarah Viren, contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and author of two books of narrative nonfiction: To Name the Bigger Lie (2023) and Mine (2018).  


Grad Lit Competition 

Graduate students at WCU may submit their fiction, poetry, and/or nonfiction to the Grad Lit Contest (submissions in multiple genres allowed). Winners will receive a cash prize, publication in Yonder, and a chance to read at the 22nd annual Spring Literary Festival.  To submit your work, email yonderwcu@gmail.com and include the title and genre in the body of the email. 

Deadline February 19, 2024.

Prize in Fiction

Winner - $250

Runner-up - $100

Submit up to three short stories of no more than 3000 words each. 

Judged by Maurice Carlos Ruffin, author of two novels--American Daughters (2024) and We Cast a Shadow (2019)--and the New York Times Editor’s Choice short story collection The Ones Who Don't Say They Love You (2021). 


Prize in Poetry

Winner - $250

Runner-up - $100

Submit up to three poems.

Judged by Ariel Francisco, author of All the Places We Love Have Been Left in Ruins (2024), Under Capitalism If Your Head Aches They Just Yank Off Your Head (2022), A Sinking Ship is Still a Ship (2020), and All My Heroes Are Broke (2017). 


Prize in Nonfiction

Winner - $250

Runner-up - $100

Submit up to three essays of no more than 3000 words each. 

Judged by Lyz Lenz, author of the nonfiction books This American Ex Wife (2024), Belabored (2020), and God Land(2021), as well as the newsletter Men Yell At Me, where she explores the intersection of politics and our bodies in red state America. 

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