Poem or Page Contest

Need a nudge to jump-start your writing? Enter the “Poem or Page Contest”


You provide the creativity and craft; we’ll provide the accolades and prizesPoem or Page Contest—deadline March 5, 2019


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

All First-Place 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 number of things of your choosing. Give us something credible, yet original. Make us worry or wonder. Startle us.

Who may enter?

Contest open ONLY to those attending the Writers’ Institute, April 4-7, 2019.


Submission categories

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

Entry fee

$15 per entry, all categories. Please pay through our Registration Office, 608-262-2451.

Deadline and where to send entries

Entries must be postmarked by March 5, 2019. 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 March 5, 2019. We regret that we are unable to return any of your material.


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 Poem or Page Luncheon, and we will have their material displayed at the conference.