Contests

Need a nudge to jump-start your writing? Enter the Poem or Page Contest or the WRAP Writing Contest.


Poem or Page Contest

 

You provide the creativity and craft; we’ll provide the accolades and prizes

Deadline: February 25, 2020

 

As a contest winner there’s an extra added benefit:

All winning poem and page submissions will receive accolades and prizes. Do not hesitate to submit your work. Your pages will be on display throughout the weekend for conference attendees to read.

What are we looking for?

What are our criteria for a winning poem or page? Hook us! We’re looking for the same thing agents and editors look for when you submit material to them — that instant good impression showing attention to craft. Any agent or editor is also looking for that “something extra” and so are we. It might be a wondrous word choice or line of words, a great “voice” on the page, a piece of action that’s riveting, a fact that wows the reader, a piece of imagery, or any other number of things. Give us something credible, yet original. Make us worry or wonder. Startle us.

Who may enter?

Contest open only to those attending the 31st Annual Writers’ Institute, March 26–29, 2020.

Submission categories

  1. Poetry: 1 poem, single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman or Courier
  2. Mainstream/literary fiction: submit first page of your work
  3. Genre fiction (mystery, romance, horror, etc.): submit first page of your work
  4. Young adult fiction: submit first page of your work
  5. Nonfiction books or articles: submit first page of your work
  6. Flash fiction: 1 page using format rules outlined below

For categories 2-5, if you have a prologue, submit the prologue’s first page because that’s the first page of your work.

Format rules for fiction/nonfiction categories

Please use 12-point Courier or Times New Roman typeface, with 1-inch margins on all four sides. Please double-space; 1.5 spacing will be disqualified. Please list your category on the entry, front or back. Put your name and address on the back side of the page; do not put your name on the front. You may fill up the page, though please keep 1-inch margins on all four sides.

Entry fee

$15 per entry, all categories. Please pay through our Registration Office, 608-262-2451. No submissions will be accepted after February 25, 2020, midnight Central Time.

Deadline and where to send entries

Entries must be postmarked by February 25, 2020. Send your entries labeled as POEM OR PAGE CONTEST ENTRY to:

Writers’ Institute Contest
21 N. Park St. Rm. 7362
Madison, WI 53715

If you wish to be notified that we’ve received your entry, enclose a Self-Addressed Stamped Postcard (SASP). Postcards will be mailed after February 25, 2020. We regret that we are unable to return any of your material.

Prizes

Enter as many categories and as many times as you wish. Prizes will be awarded. Winners and runners-up will be announced at the conference and celebrated this year at our Contest Awards Luncheon, and their writing will be displayed at the conference.


New this year: WRAP Writing Contest

Deadline: February 25, 2020

The Wisconsin Regional Art Program (WRAP) was founded in 1936 to expand the cultural growth and knowledge of rural Wisconsin. Initially known as the Rural Art Program, an arts-based outreach program of the College of Agriculture, the initiative’s first adult, noncredit students were a group of largely self-taught artists — teachers, mail carriers, blacksmiths, farmers, and homemakers residing in various small communities.

A WRAP permanent collection was built up over the years and today includes more than 110 works of art.

On display at this year’s Writers’ Institute will be five selections from the WRAP permanent collection. We are posting the selections online ahead of the conference and we’re asking you to describe what’s happening in these paintings (a practice known as ekphrasis, from the Greek word for “describe”). Please select one or two or all of the paintings and write a one-page description — single-spaced, 12-point font (see format rules below) — for how you interpret the content. Our judges will choose the most creative descriptions and award first, second, and third place winners.

These WRAP selections will be on display Friday and Saturday during the conference. You are welcome to view them at that time to explore your own ekphrasis experience.

Here are the WRAP selections, (click to enlarge):

Image 1: shabby wood-slat house.

Image 1

Image 2: Man with cane gives speech outside of a barn.

Image 2

Image 3: people make their way through the snowy streets of a town.

Image 3

 
Image 4: horses graze on a grassy hill near a farm.

Image 4

Image 5: a herd of cows making their way up a grassy green hill on a farm.

Image 5

 

Who may enter?

Contest open only to those attending the 31st Annual Writers’ Institute, March 26–29, 2020.

Format rules for ekphrasis descriptions

Please use 12-point Courier or Times New Roman typeface, with 1-inch margins on all four sides. Please double-space; 1.5 spacing will be disqualified. Please list your WRAP selection number on the entry, front or back. Put your name and address on the back side of the page; do not put your name on the front. You may fill up the page, though please keep 1-inch margins on all four sides.

Entry fee

$15 per entry for each description of the WRAP painting of your choice. Please pay through our Registration Office, 608-262-2451. No submissions will be accepted after February 25, 2020, midnight Central Time.

Deadline and where to send entries

Entries must be postmarked by February 25, 2020. Send your entries labeled as WRAP CONTEST ENTRY to:

Writers’ Institute Contest
21 N. Park St. Rm. 7362
Madison, WI 53715

If you wish to be notified that we’ve received your entry, enclose a Self-Addressed Stamped Postcard (SASP). Postcards will be mailed after February 25, 2020. We regret that we are unable to return any of your material.

Prizes

Select one or two or all of the paintings. Prizes will be awarded. Winners and runners-up will be announced at the conference and celebrated this year at our Contest Awards Luncheon, and their writing will be displayed at the conference.


Questions?

Contact director Laurie Scheer, 608-265-3972, laurie.scheer@wisc.edu or Laura Kahl, 608-262-3982, laura.kahl@wisc.edu.