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SWW’s 2024 Writing Contest Opens June 1

The annual SouthWest Writers (SWW) writing competition opens for submissions on June 1, 2024.

The contest is open to new and experienced writers. Contestants don’t have to be members of SWW or live in the Southwest to enter. Winners have the opportunity to publish their entries in this year’s contest anthology.

The 2024 competition offers five main contest categories divided into a total of twenty-five subcategories of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry as well as interior and cover art for the anthology. New this year are categories for Young Readers and Young Adult. Subcategories include opening pages of a novel or memoir (published or unpublished), essay/article, flash fiction, and short story.

All entries that meet the rules for submission will be judged by a panel of experienced writers and/or experts in the specific genre. First, second, and third monetary prizes will be awarded in each category that receives enough entries for judging.

For details about the categories and a complete list of rules, please see the Contest Page.

SouthWest Writers is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to helping both published and unpublished writers improve their craft and further their careers. In 2024, SWW will celebrate forty years dedicated to this goal.




2023 Call for Submissions: SWW Annual Writing Contest

SouthWest Writers’ annual writing competition is open for submissions.

The theme of this year’s contest is Woven Pathways. The SouthWest Writers members’ love of all things writing weaves us together into an inclusive, supportive community regardless of our culture or background. We would like entries and participants that reflect our inclusiveness.

The contest includes twenty writing categories and two art categories with cash prizes in all and the opportunity to be published. Winning entries will be included in the SouthWest Writers’ 2023 Anthology to be released in the fall of 2023. Winners will be announced at the same time the anthology becomes available.

All but one contest category focuses on unpublished writing with the hope of encouraging aspiring authors to participate. A contestant does not have to be a member of SouthWest Writers to enter.

Main Contest Categories:

  • Cover and Interior Artwork
  • Fiction Opening Pages of both published and unpublished works (3000 words or less)
  • Flash Fiction (1000 words or less)
  • Short Story (3000 words or less)
  • Nonfiction Memoir (General, Pets, or Travel; 3000 words or less)
  • Poetry Free Verse (Nature, Spiritual, or Relationships; 1500 words or less)
  • Limericks

Sub-categories within Unpublished Opening Pages and Short Story:

  • General Fiction
  • Mystery/Crime/Thrillers
  • Romance/Rom-Com
  • SciFi/Fantasy
  • Westerns
  • Humor (Short Story only)

Contest Submission Period: April 8 – May 20. Fees vary depending on submission date.

Go to the contest page for more details and to enter the contest.

Good luck!




2022 Call for Submissions: SWW Annual Writing Contest


SouthWest Writers’ annual writing competition is now open for submissions.

This year’s contest offers five main categories divided into a total of eighteen sub-categories:

  • 2 categories of Art/Photography
  • 6 Book Related categories
  • 4 categories of Poetry
  • 4 categories of Prose/Stories
  • 2 categories of Travel & Memoir

First-, second-, and third-place winners will be awarded cash prizes and a publication opportunity in our annual contest anthology.

All entries must be original, in English, and submitted online only. You do not have to be a member of SouthWest Writers to enter.

The contest accepts work previously published from 2019 to 2022, but submissions can not have won a previous SWW contest. It is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure that a submission does not conflict with their agreements concerning rights with any other publishing entity.

Contest Submission Period: March 15 – May 15. Fees vary depending on entry type and submission date.

Go to the SWW contest page for more details and to enter the contest.

Good luck!




2021 Call for Submissions: SWW Annual Writing Contest


The SouthWest Writers 2021 Annual Writing Contest is open for submissions. The competition encourages first-time writers as well as seasoned professionals. You do not have to be a member of SouthWest Writers to enter.

First-, second-, and third-place winners will be awarded in twelve categories for fiction/nonfiction prose and eight categories for poetry.

Deadline: Midnight May 31, 2021 (Mountain Time).
Fee: $10 for each entry.
Submission: Online only.
Awards: First place, $50. Second place, $25. Third place, $10. Winners in each category have the option to be published in the next SWW contest anthology.

CONTEST RULES

  • Each entry must be an original work, in English, not published electronically or in print anywhere.
  • No limit on number of entries per person. The same piece can be entered in more than one category but will cost $10 for each entry/category.
  • All entries must be submitted electronically via the SWW website, using .doc or docx file format. NO mailed entries accepted.
  • Prose: Limited to 3,500 words.
  • Poetry: Limited to 250 lines.

Go to the SouthWest Writers contest page for more details and to enter the contest. Good luck!




2020 Call for Submissions: SWW Annual Writing Contest

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Hurry! Deadline is May 15th.

The SouthWest Writers 2020 Annual Writing Contest—SEEING the WORLD in 20/20—encourages first-time writers as well as seasoned professionals. You do not have to be a member of SouthWest Writers to enter.

First-, second-, and third-place winners will be awarded in twenty-two categories (eleven categories for both prose and poetry).

Deadline: Midnight May 15, 2020 (Mountain Time).
Entry fees: $10 for each entry.
Submission: Online only.
Prizes: First place, $50. Second place, $25. First through third places also receive medals. Top three winners in each category have the option to be published in the next SWW Winners Anthology.

CONTEST RULES

  • Each entry must be an original work, in English, not published electronically or in print anywhere, or submitted previously to an SWW writing contest.
  • No limit on number of entries per person. The same piece can be entered in more than one category but will cost $10 for each entry/category.
  • All entries must be submitted electronically via the SWW website. NO mailed entries accepted.
  • Entries must be submitted in Times New Roman, 12 pt with double spacing. Acceptable files: .doc, .docx, or .pdf.
  • Author’s name cannot appear on the submission.
  • Prose: Limited to 3,500 words, including the title.
  • Poetry: Limited to 250 lines, including the title.

Go to the SouthWest Writers contest page for more details and to enter the contest. Good luck!




Call for Submissions: 2019 Prose & Poetry Contest

SouthWest Writers is proud to announce a Call for Submissions to the 2019 Short Prose & Poetry Contest.

This competition encourages first-time writers as well as seasoned professionals. You do not have to be a member of SouthWest Writers to enter.

First-, second-, and third-place winners will be awarded in sixteen categories: 7 fiction, 8 nonfiction, and 1 poetry. All entries must be original, unpublished, and in English.

Deadline: Contest entries may be submitted through midnight April 30, 2019 (Mountain Time).
Entry fees: $10 for each entry submitted through April 1, 2019. $15 fee applies for each entry submitted April 2-April 30, 2019.
Submission: Online submissions only. Acceptable files: doc, docx, or pdf.

CONTEST RULES

Prose: Limited to 3,500 words. For nonfiction categories, footnotes are not part of the word limit. The body of the submission should be in 12 pt. Times New Roman, Ariel, or Courier, with the title in 14 pt. Submission should be double-spaced and have one-inch margins.

Poetry: Limited to 250 lines. The submission should be in Times New Roman, Ariel, or Courier. Font sizes can range from 12-18 pt. Spacing is at the author’s discretion. Poem form/style (freeform, haiku, etc.) must be included in the manuscript above the title.

Other:
A total of three entries allowed per author. The three-entry limit can be in one category or a combination of categories. First-place manuscripts from previous SWW Contests are ineligible.

Go to the SouthWest Writers contest page for more details and to enter the contest.




SWW 2014 Contest Statistics

Entries to our 32nd International Writing Contest are now being judged and winners will be announced on August 1.

This year’s contest drew entries from 38 states plus the District of Columbia and Abu Dhabi, Canada, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Uganda.

The Mystery/Suspense/Thriller/Adventure category once again drew the most entries at 18% of the total followed by Mainstream/Literary Short Story at 14%, Poetry at 13% , Children’s Picture Book at 11% and Mainstream/Literary Novel at 10%.

The remaining one-third of the entries came in the Juvenile/Young Adult Novel, Creative Nonfiction/Memoir, Nonfiction Essay, Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Short Story, and Women’s Fiction categories.

More than 60% of the total entries came from outside New Mexico, and many from far beyond the Southwest.

Of the 432 entries, approximately one third requested a critique.




2013 Winners

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2013 SouthWest Writers Annual Writing Competition

2013 Storyteller Award Goes To

Laura Keller
Making Sense of Us

Laura Keller won the $1500 grand prize Storyteller Award, as well as first place in the Juvenile/Young Adult Novel category for her entry.

The following is a list of winners by category and place standing.

1. Mainstream/Literary Novel

1st Place: Norma Libman, Placitas, NM   Lonely River Village

2nd Place: John White, Merritt Island, FL   Nisei

3rd Place: Tom Moore, Bellingham, WA   The Heifer Girl

Judge: Nicole LaBombard, Rees Literary Agency, Boston, MA

2. Mystery/Suspense/Thriller/Adventure Novel

1st Place: Kevin Dyer, Antrim, Northern Ireland   Deadtown

2nd Place: Dennis Jung, Santa Fe, NM   Jack of All Trades

3rd Place: Bill Brier, Thousand Oaks, CA   The Killer Who Hated Soup

Judge: Paul Fedorko, N.S. Bienstock, Inc., New York, NY

3. Juvenile/Young Adult Novel

1st Place: Laura Keller, Overland Park, KS   Making Sense of Us

2nd Place: Stephanie Kroepfl, Grand Lake, CO   I Hear You

3rd Place: Amanda Searcy, Albuquerque, NM   A Boy and His Frog

Judge: Gemma Cooper, The Bent Agency, Brooklyn, NY

4. Historical/Western Novel

1st Place: Donavon Day, Sacramento, CA   A Lumber Baron’s Fury

2nd Place: James Scarantino, Albuquerque, NM   The Bone Pile

3rd Place: Mark Warren, Dahlonega, GA   Adobe Moon

Judge: Bridget Smith, Dunham Literary, Inc., New York, NY

5. Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Short Story

1st Place: K. Eisert, Placitas, NM   “Primus V. Secundus”

2nd Place: KL Wagoner, Albuquerque, NM   “Wishling”

3rd Place: Marian Meyer, Albuquerque, NM   “Another Jennifer Day”

Judge: Kristopher O’Higgins, The Scribe Agency, Madison, WI

6. Mainstream/Literary Short Story

1st Place: Ben Wuamett, Albuquerque, NM   “Ben’s Story”

2nd Place: Gary Smith, Rio Rancho, NM   “Cattle Call”

3rd Place: Tucker Brown, Las Cruces, NM   “The Trees Do Bear Witness”

Judge: Phong Nguyen, Editor, Pleaides, University of Central Missouri

7. Nonfiction Book Proposal

1st Place: Roger Bunch, Santa Cruz, CA   Wenceslao

2nd Place: Larry Greenly, Albuquerque, NM   Snake Island

3rd Place: Marguerite Kearns, Santa Fe, NM   More Than Tea and Talk

Judge: Gina Panettieri, Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC, Milford, CT

8. Memoir

1st Place: Stella Pevsner, Albuquerque, NM   Roommates With a View

2nd Place: Joan Kraft, La Mesa, CA   Untwined

3rd Place: Val Valentine, Pagosah, CO   Through His Eyes

Judge: Lindsay Edgecombe, Levine|Greenberg Literary Agency, New York, NY

9. Essay

1st Place: Heather Gemmen Wilson, Markleville, IN   “Her World, So Big”

2nd Place: Hillary Fields, Santa Fe, NM   “A Horse Named Pockets”

3rd Place: KL Wagoner, Albuquerque, NM   “Dressing the Dead”

Judge: Tim McKee, Managing Editor, The Sun, Chapel Hill, NC

10. Children’s Picture Book

1st Place: Linda Tripp, Albuquerque, NM   Old Mama Crocodile

2nd Place: Monica Harris, Kalamazoo, MI   Grapevine Zoo

3rd Place: Randi Mrvos, Lexington, KY   Cholla, the True Story of an Artsy Horse

Judge: Stephanie Hedlund, Editorial Director, ABDO Publishing Group, Edina, MN

11. Screenplay

1st Place: Kimberly Kiegel, Albuquerque, NM   The Fortune

2nd Place: Briley Webb, Scottsdale, AZ   Casa in the Desert

3rd Place: Kate McCusker, Wickenburg, AZ   Guadalupe Night

Judge: Douglas Eboch, screenwriter, Los Angeles, CA

12. Poetry

1st Place: Carolyn Madero, Stamford, CT   “Would You Like to Hear My Poem?”

2nd Place: Catherine Ferguson, Galisteo, NM   “Breaking Down in the Desert”

3rd Place: Ellen Seusy, Columbus, OH   “Preparing the New Teacher: Letter from an Urban District”

Judge: Timothy Green, Editor, Rattle, Studio City, CA




2012 Winners

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2012 SouthWest Writers Annual Writing Competition

Winners of the SWW Annual Writing Contest were announced at the awards banquet on September 15. Below is a listing of the winners by category and place standing.

2012 Storyteller Award Goes To

Rachel Wierick
Things We’ll Ask God

Rachel Wierick won the $1500 grand prize Storyteller Award, as well as first place in the Juvenile/Young Adult Novel category for her entry.

1. Mainstream or Literary Novel

1st Place: Susan Salom Gay, Albuquerque, NM   Madame Thunderbolt

2nd Place: Karima Alavi, Abiquiu, NM   In the Shadow of the Tombs

3rd Place: James Brooks, Abilene, TX   Discovering Maggie

Judge: Chelsea M. Gilmore, Literary Agent, Maria Carvainis Agency

2. Mystery/Suspense/Thriller/Adventure Novel

1st Place: David L. Brown, Rio Rancho, NM   Retirement Man

2nd Place: Sue Anne Hodge, Pocatello, ID   Never Touch a Dead Body

3rd Place: George Snyder, Seal Beach, CA   The Farewell Heist

Judge: Thomas Colgan, Executive Editor, Penguin Books

3. Juvenile/Young Adult Novel

1st Place: Rachel Wierick, S. Pasadena, CA   Things We’ll Ask God

2nd Place: Kathleen Cherry, Kitimat, BC  The Funny Money Mystery

3rd Place: Marylin N. Warner, Manitou Spgs, CO   The Sister System

Judge: Katherine R. Harrison, Ass’t Editor, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

4. Historical/Western Novel

1st Place: Elizabeth Rose, Galisteo, NM   Poet Under A Soldier’s Hat

2nd Place: David Connell, Severna Park, MO   Last Leaf To Fall

3rd Place: Donna M. Vesely, Anthony, NM   Destinies Entwined Like Eagles Falling Out of the Sky

Judge: Mike Harris, Publisher, La Frontera Publishing

5. Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Short Story

1st Place: K. Eisert, Placitas, NM   “To Err is Human”

2nd Place: Edward D. Anderson, Gainsville, FL   “The Switchback”

3rd Place: K. Eisert, Placitas, NM   “Parades”

Judge: Michelle Vega, Berkley Editorial, Berkley Publishing Group

6. Mainstream/Literary Short Story

1st Place: Karima Alavi, Abiquiu, NM   “Bangkok Ghosts”

2nd Place: Martha Dudley, Staunton, VA   “Johnny Liem”

3rd Place: Jan Smith, Taos, NM   “Breasts”

Judge: Sarah Marshall, Editor-in-Chief, The Portland Review

7. Nonfiction Book Proposal

1st Place: Todd Griffin,Cedar Crest, NM   The Model You

2nd Place: Jonathan Miller, Albuquerque, NM   Law, Lust and Love

3rd Place: David L. Brown, Rio Rancho, NM   How to be Safe in a Dangerous World

Judge: Sheree Bykofsky, Sheree Bykofsky Assoc. Literary Agency

8. Memoir

1st Place: Christine Dodd, Akron, OH   Smoke Drink F**k

2nd Place: Gina Troisi, Dover, NH   Shadows on the Sidewalk

3rd Place: R. C. Schenck, Jr, Albuquerque, NM   Roaring Fork: A Memoir

Judge: Paul Rhetts, LPD Press, Rio Grande Books

9. Nonfiction Essay

1st Place: Ramona Gault, Seattle, WA   “The Arroyo”

2nd Place: R.C. Schenck, Jr, Albuquerque, NM   “Billy Graham and the Ice Cream Man”

3rd Place: Elizabeth Rose, Galisteo, NM   “Lisa’s Road Lesson”

Judge: Leigh Ann Henion, Editor, Cold Mountain Review

10. Children’s Fiction or Nonfiction Picture Book

1st Place: Amanda Huneke, New Bern, NC   How to Play on a Windy Day

2nd Place: Jacqueline Robison, Albuquerque, NM   Teensy Tiny and the Magnificent Spinning All-Seeing Hat

3rd Place: Rebecca Colby, Harrogate, UK   Broomstick Rodeo

Judge: Sara Sargent, Ass’t Editor, Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins Children’s Books

11. Screenplay

1st Place: Amy Lanasa, Las Cruces, NM   When You Marry the Man…

2nd Place: Chip Casner, Flagstaff, AZ   Easter Island

3rd Place: Briley Webb, Scottsdale, AZ   A Picture is Worth

Judge: Greg Gertmenian, General Manager, Abbot Entertainment

12. Poetry

1st Place: Phyllis Hoge, Albuquerque, NM   “Peacetime”

2nd Place: Darrell L. Gasaway, Alto, NM   “Stew for Two”

3rd Place: Phyllis Hoge, Albuquerque, NM   “Surfaces”

Judge: Lisa Lewis, Cimarron Review




2011 Winners

2011 Storyteller Award Goes To

Luise Putcamp, Jr., Salt Lake City UT, Confessions of a Card-Carrying Cadaver
Won first place in the Personal Essay/Column category
Judge: Sharen Marten-Brown, Art and Editorial Director, Ampichellis E-Books. 

1. Mainstream or Literary Novel

1st Place: Holly S. Warah, Dubai UAE  Married to the Mansours

2nd Place: Colleen M. Story, Idaho Falls ID   Loreena’s Gift

3rd Place: Robert Schladale, Sacramento CA   A Place in the Land

Judge: Diana Finch, Diana Finch Literary Agency

2. Mystery/Suspense/Thriller/Adventure Novel

1st Place: Dennis Jang, Santa Fe NM   Still Life in a Red Dress

2nd Place: Thomas J. Zuzich, Chicago IL   The Voices

3rd Place: Anne E. Kyle, Tulsa OK   Exile

Judge: Robert Brown, Ampichellis Ebooks

3. Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Novel

1st Place: Jennifer C. Martin, Peoria IL  Out of Order

2nd Place: Kevin Wolf, Littleton CO  A Town Called Vengeance

3rd Place: William Moore, Bellingham WA   These Sunken Eyes

Judge: Danielle Stockley, Penguin Group

4. Historical Novel

1st Place: Lorena Hughes, Albuquerque NM   The Black Letter

2nd Place: Michelle Sauceda-Halliday, Albuquerque NM   The Sofer’s Pen

3rd Place: Kathleen Cherry, Kitimat, B.C., Canada   To Marry an Earl

Judge: Katherine Pelz, Penguin Group

5. Middle Grade/Young Adult Novel

1st Place: R. E. Steedman, Canandaigua NY   Falling

2nd Place: Sara Bautista, Albuquerque NM   To Jocelyn With Love

3rd Place: Beth Christopher, Broomfield CO   Disappear

Judge: Rachel Abrams, HarperCollins Children’s Books

6. Mainstream or Literary Short Story

1st Place: Holly S. Warah, Dubai, UAE   “My Brother’s Wife”

2nd Place: Debra Border, Lawton OK   “One Night in Abilene”

3rd Place: Holly S. Warah, Dubai, UAE   “Bride Price”

Judge: Phong Nguyen, Editor, Pleiades

7. Memoir Book

1st Place: Bonnie Lee Black, Taos NM   Patchwork: A Memoir of Mali

2nd Place: Donald E. Moss, Clark CO   Phoenix of the Mind

3rd Place: Desiree Perriguey, Albuquerque NM   The Struggle

Judge: Patricia Moosbrugger, Literary Agency

8. Memoir Article

1st Place: Kristin Barendsen, Santa Fe NM   “Marilena”

2nd Place: Gabriella P. Savarese, Tijeras NM   “Necklaces in the Eucalyptus Tree”

3rd Place: Kristin Barendsen, Santa Fe NM   “Sacrificial Man”

Judge: Tim McKee, The Sun Magazine

9. Nonfiction Essay or Article

1st Place: Shanti E. Bannwart, Santa Fe NM   “Solitude”

2nd Place: Mary E. Kienholz, Spokane WA   “Fannie’s Mea Culpa”

3rd Place: Robert C. Schenck, Jr., Corrales NM   “The Ghost of Chris LeDoux”

Judge: Ashley Biggers, New Mexico Magazine

10. Personal Essay/Column

1st Place: Luise Putcamp, Jr., Salt Lake City UT   “Confessions of a Card-Carrying Cadaver”

2nd Place: Elizabeth Rose, Galisteo NM   “Lies Streaming”

3rd Place: Mary Kay Chapman, Albuquerque NM   “I’m Not Scared of Dying, But”

Judge: Stephanie Hainsfurther, abqARTS Magazine

11. Nonfiction Book

1st Place: Shanti E. Bannwart, Santa Fe NM   Dancing on One Foot

2nd Place: James Thompson, Rio Rancho NM   The Ethics of Chaos

3rd Place: Scott Tyson, Albuquerque, NM   The Unobservable Universe

Judge: Brandi Bowles, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency, Inc.

12. Children’s Fiction or Nonfiction Picture Book

1st Place: Linda Tripp, Albuquerque NM   Who’s My Momma?

2nd Place: Jennifer Buchet, Germantown MD   An Extraordinary Talent for Jumping

3rd Place: Marijanet Doonan, Pinehurst NC   The Ayudante

Judge: Jayne Carapezzi, HarperCollins Children’s Books

13. Screenplay

1st Place: Helen S. Brodeur, Albuquerque NM   Las Tres Madrinas

2nd Place: Eric Schneider, La Junta CO   1793

3rd Place: Phaedra Greenwood, Arroyo Hondo NM   Devil Weeds

Judge: Michael David Jensen, www.TopFilmFestivals.com

14. Poetry

1st Place: Katherine Seluja, Santa Fe NM   Of Calamine and Honey

2nd Place: Larry Greenly, Albuquerque NM   The Promise

3rd Place: Susan Switzer, Albuquerque NM   Contemplating the Crepuscular

Judge: Ruth Moose, The Rambler Magazine




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