SURPRISE CONTEST: $25 award open to anyone registered. Details will be announced Friday morning. Winner announced at the Saturday Awards Banquet. You must be present to win.

Contest Chair for 2018

Chrissy Willis

512 Walnut Street

​Mount Vernon, IN 47620

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​1. ​  Showcase Award- 3 prizes $300/$100/$50

      Short story or essay. Limit 2,500 words.

      Sponsor-Ozark Creative Writers Board of Directors

2.   Oxbow Award in Memory of Dusty & Pat Richards-  3 Prizes of $200/             $100/$50. In early 2018 the writing community lost a great champion                   and mentor to many writers Dusty Richards. Dusty was a board                           member of OCW since 1988. His wife Pat was truly the 'wind beneath                 his wings.' The OCW Board of Directors and friends of Dusty & Pat would           like to honor their memory by giving this award for a western short story.​             3000 word limit.

      ​Sponsor- OCW Board & Friends of Dusty & Pat Richards    

3.  Poet Laureate Award in Memory of Arkansas Poet Laureate Peggy                Vining: 1 Prize of $150- ​Founding board member Peggy Vining died this            year and the board of directors would like to honor her. Poem  about                    nature- any style. Limit 24 lines.​

     Sponsor-Ozark Creative Writers Board of Directors.

4.  Mike Willis Award- 1 Prize $150- ​Tell me a funny story about growing up in        rural America. It can be true or it can be embellished just make me laugh!

     ​Sponsor- Chrissy Willis in memory of her late husband Mike Willis

Conference Awards  $50/$30/$20 

 5. Oghma Creative Media Award- Unpublished Manuscript Sponsored by Oghma           Creative Media.  Synopsis and first three chapters. 50 - 120k words. The first                 place winner will also receive a developmental edit. 

     Sponsor: Oghma Creative Media

 6. Jim Richardson Memorial Award- Short story, any genre. Limit 3000 words.

     Sponsor-Delois McGrew in memory of her son.

 7. Search for Excellence Award- Nonfiction memoir or essay. Limit 2500 words. 

     Sponsors-Leon and Dot Combs

8. Tell Me a Story- Any genre. Limit 2500 words. Sponsors-Erman and Nettie Sands

9.  Writing is a Blast!- Spark our interest. Thrill us with suspense. Light a fire and              runaway with our imagination. Fiction, 2000 word limit, 

     Sponsors: Jane & Mitch Hale (Hale Fireworks) 

10. Amphorae Publishing Group Award: First chapter of a Scifi novel. Build a world          and take us Away! Sponsor- Amphorae Publishing Group

Conference Awards  $25/$15/$10

11.  Pat Richards Romance Award- Given in memory of Pat Richards for a romantic          short story. 3000 word limit, Sponsors: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pen.

​12. Nursery Rhyme Crimes- ​Write a short story solving a nursery rhyme crime.

      (For example: How did Humpty Dumpty fall off the wall? or Who put the spider               next to Miss Muffet's tuffet?) Be creative! 1500 word limit

​       Sponsors: Coffee and Critique Writers

13Love is in the Air- Write a romantic short  story with a hint of suspense,             suitable for the Hallmark Channel. 3000 word limit

​      Sponsor- Chrissy Willis

14. Give Us the Best of Friends- ​Short story, any genre, about best friends. Must              include the words Arkansas and Tennessee. 1500 word limit.

      Sponsors Joni Cogbill & Betsy Gray

15. It Was a Dark and Stormy Night- Short story  words of your best melodramatic           prose using the opening sentence It was a dark and stormy night. For once a                 reward will come for 'cliched' overwriting. 500-1000 word limit

      Sponsor- Lonnie Whitaker.

16. Tell Me Why- Tell me why your favorite book is your favorite book. Why does it             affect you? 250 word limit

      Sponsor-Marcia Gaye

17. Middle Grade Fiction for Boys Ages 9-12- Fiction 1500-2500 words.                           Sponsor-Reneé LaViness

18. Flash Fiction- Limit 99 words. Must have beginning, middle, end.

      Sponsor-David Kirkland

19. Inspirational Essay- Inspirational essay. Sponsor-Clouse Literary Arts and                   Theater.

20. Space Journey- Science fiction genre in the style of 50’s Sci-Fi movies.

      2000 word limit.  Sponsor-Tahlequah Writers

21. Traditions Contest- Limit 300 words. Creative non-fiction essay on your favorite           family  traditions. Sponsor-Linda Apple

22. Travel Article- Limit 1500 words. Write it as if you were sending it to a reputable           magazine. No photos, please.Sponsor-Johnny D. Boggs

23. My Favorite Day in Nature- Up to 1200 word essay or short story. No hunting               stories please. Sponsor- Linda Sartin in memory of her husband Gary.

24. Things that go Bump in The Night! - Paranormal Short Story - Limit 3000 words.

       Sponsor- Ruth Weeks 

25. Hoot Owl Award- A humorous short story about ‘an animal’ or an encounter with          one. No talking animals please. Limit 3000 words. 

      Sponsor- Ebeneezer Longfellow

26. Milestones- Fiction piece with a theme of milestones. In addition to the cash            award, the winner will be published in the Saturday Writers annual anthology.               2018 word limit.Sponsored by Saturday Writers of St. Charles, Missouri.



 For a PDF of the contestsclick here.

52st Annual Grand Conference Awards

Contest Guidelines (You must register for the conference by August 25 to enter any contest)

For a PDF of the Contest Rules (CLICK HERE)

  1. Contest entrants must be registered for the conference to enter, and all entries must be postmarked by August 25, 2018. With the exception of "the on the spot contest" you do not have to be present to win. Awards will be presented at the Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday evening. If you are not present your awards will be mailed within two weeks.
  2. You may include a self-addressed, stamped, post card if you want to be notified that your entry was received.
  3. Only clear copies of entries will be accepted and entries will not be returned.
  4. First Place winners of 2017 contests may not enter that same contest in 2018 unless the contest description has been changed or the award amount has changed. You may enter all other contests.
  5. You may enter as many contests as you wish, but only one entry per contest, and do not send the same story, essay, or poem to more than one category.
  6. All material must be unpublished at the time of entry.
  7. All entries, except poetry, must be double spaced using customary manuscript format.
  8. A separate cover page must accompany each entry. Each cover page must include title of story, essay, or poem, title and number of category, author’s name, address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Any identifying information that is found on any page except the cover page will result in disqualification of that entry.
  9. Judges may not enter contests they are judging, but may enter all others. OCW Board members never enter any contests.
  10. Writers may not enter contests sponsored by their group or organization, but may enter all others.
  11. Contestants found in violation of any of the above will be disqualified. All decisions are final and judges’ names are confidential. Winners will be posted on Ozark Creative Writers’ website within two weeks after the end of the conference.
  12. Mail two copies of each entry and one cover sheet per contest to Chrissy Willis at the address below. 

For contest questions email:

​or call 336-407-9098.