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Showcase Awards (For a PDF click here) 

1. Grand Showcase Award - 3 Prizes ($200/$100/$50) 

  • Short story or essay about finding your muse.

  • Limit 2500 words. 

  • Sponsor: Ozark Creative Writers Board of Directors. 


2. Oxbow Award in Memory of Dusty & Pat Richards - 3 Prizes  ($200/$100/$50) 

  • Western short story. 

  • Limit: 2500 words. 

  • Sponsor: Ozark Creative Writers Board of Directors

3. Founding Member Award in Memory of Arkansas Poet Laureate Peggy Vining - 1 Prize ($100) 

  • Poem about change, any style. 

  • Limit: 24 lines. 

  • Sponsor: Ozark Creative Writers Board of Directors. 

4. Mike Willis Inspiration Award - 1 Prize ($100)

  • A humorous short story about a surprise party going awry.

  • Limit: 2000 words. 

  • Sponsor: Chrissy Willis, in memory of her late husband, Mike Willis

5. Velda Brotherton Memorial Contest - 1 Prize ($100) 

  • Short fiction, mystery with a strong female lead character.

  • Limit: 2500 words. 

  • Sponsor: Anthony Wood

6. Published Newspaper Column/Blog Award -1 Prize ($50) 

  • Best opinion essay or column published in a newspaper, online news outlet, or blog for the 12 months preceding August 1, 2023. Columns or blogs may be on any subject or theme, including reviews or humor.

  • Limit: 2500 words.

  • Sponsor: Max McCoy

Grand Conference Awards- 3 Prizes ($50/$30/$20)


7. Children's Book Award

  • Children's Book suitable for ages 3-8.

  • Limit 750-900 words.

  • Sponsors: Paperback Press & Solander Press 

8. Search for Excellence Award  

  • Nonfiction memoir or essay about someone who has influenced your life in a positive way.

  • Limit: 2500 words. 

  • Sponsor: Leon Combs  

9. Native American Short Story

  • Write a short story featuring a strong Native American character

  • Limit: 1500 word limit

  • Sponsor: Clouse Literary Arts and Theater

10. Flash Fiction

  • Must have a beginning, middle, and end.

  • Limit: 99 words. 

  • Sponsor: David Kirkland

11. Haiku Award

  • Write a haiku

  • Limit: Traditional 5-7-5 syllables

  • Sponsor: David Kirkland

12. A Fish Out of Water Tale

  • A short story that includes someone or something in unusual surroundings. Examples: A 12-year-old enrolls at Harvard, a wolf finds himself appointed king of a lost colony of highly intelligent rabbits, a car mechanic travels back or forward in time, a New Yorker is stranded at the Midland/Odessa airport, etc. Make it zany or believable but write to entertain.

  • Limit: 1000 words.

  • Sponsor: Micki Fuhrman

13. Point A to Point Z

  • Write a complete story in 26 sentences. Each complete sentence must begin with a sequential letter of the alphabet from A-Z.

  • The first sentence must begin with the word a or a word beginning with a. The second sentence must begin with a word beginning with the letter b and so on so that the 26th sentence begins with a word beginning with the letter Z.

  • Limit: 500 words.

  • Sponsor: Saturday Book Club

14. "Steamy" Romance Contest

  • Short Story Romance. Best friends fall in love. Make it humorous and steamy.

  • Limit: 1000-4000 words

  • Sponsor: Delicious Escape Publications

15.  Sleuths' Ink Contest 

  • Write a 750-word story using all four of the following words: Gumshoe, Corruption, Shame, Nightmare. 

  • The story must include a crime.

  • Sponsor: Sleuths' Ink, Springfield, Missouri

16. From Dusk To Dawn

  • Tell a spooky tale of a monster that prowls the night from dusk to dawn.

  • Limit: 2000 words

  • Sponsor: Homegrown Books

 17. Ozark Romance Authors Award 

  • Romantic Short Story

  • A man and his ex-wife end up sitting together on a flight from New York to Paris. The plane is full, and they can't trade seats with anyone. To complicate things, they have not spoken since the divorce was finalized three years ago.      Limit: 1000 words (Title does not count toward word count)

  • Sponsor: Ozark Romance Authors, Springfield, Missouri                                                                                               

Conference Awards- 3 Prizes ($25/$15/$10)

18.  Goddesses of Poetic License Challenge

  • Write a short story in any genre, including all the following words: destitute, munchkin, bizarre, wicked, and revenge.
  • Limit: 1000 words.

  • Sponsor: The Goddesses of Poetic License (Linda Apple, Chrissy Willis & Ruth Weeks)

19. Senior Moments​

  • Write a story, any genre, where the protagonist is over 50.

  • Limit: 1500 words.

  • Sponsor: Betsy Gray

20. Everything But The Kitchen Sink

  •  A Short Story, any genre. Give us your best short fiction

  • Limit: 1500 words.

  • Sponsor: Little Red Writing Hood

21. A Scream in the Night

  • A horror short story.

  • Limit: 3000 words.

  • Sponsor: Tahlequah Writers

22. Tail Tales

  • Write a fiction or nonfiction story about an animal with a tail. Can be domestic, woodland, farm, zoo, prehistoric, etc.-- as long as it has a tail. No violence, please! 

  • Limit 500 words

  • Sponsor: Coffee and Critique Writers of O’Fallon, MO

23. Historical Romance Contest

  • Historical Romance short story.

  • Limit: 3000 words.

  • Sponsors: The Deadline Dames (Joy Keeney & Rhonda Harvey)

24. Hometown Nostalgia  Column

  • Write a nostalgic article about the Ozarks that is suitable for a newspaper column. The article should have a headline (title) and give your column a name. Limit: 500-1000 words.

  • Sponsor: Lonnie Whitaker

25. Well That Went Sideways

  • Tell about a time you tried to impress someone, but plans went horribly, tragically, and/or probably hilariously, awry. Keep it real no pretending, no exaggeration.

  • Limit: 1100 words

  • Sponsor: Marcia Gaye

26. Space Journey

  • Science fiction genre in the style of 50’s Sci-Fi movies.

  • Limit: 2000 words.

  • Sponsor: Tahlequah Writers

27. Quotable Quote Blog

  • Choose a favorite quote and blog about it.

  • Limit: 500 words.

  • Sponsor: Linda Apple

28. ​Travel Article

  • Write it as if you were sending it to a reputable magazine. No photos, please. 

  • Limit: 1500 words.

  • Sponsor: Johnny D. Boggs

29. Things That Go Bump In The Night!

  • Paranormal short story (No Horror).

  • Limit: 3000 words.

  • Sponsor: Ruth Weeks

30. Best First Paragraph

  • Hook us with your best first paragraph from a novel or short story.

  • Sponsors: Margarite Stever and Bonnie Tesh

31. My Favorite Trip

  •  Tell us about your favorite trip. What made it special?  Give us details that make us feel like we were there too.

  •  Limit: 1000 words.

  •  Sponsors: Joni Cogbill and Betsy Gray

32. My Favorite Day in Nature

  • Free Verse Poem

  • Sponsor: Linda Sartin, in memory of her late husband, Gary

33. Middle-Grade Fiction

  • Fiction suitable for middle-grade readers (boys) ages 9-12

  • Limit: 2000 Words

  • Renee' LaViness



 On-The-Spot Contest- One Prize $25

  • Open only to those attending the OCW Conference in October

  • Details to be announced at the conference

  • Entries are due by noon Saturday

  • Must be present at Awards Banquet Saturday Evening to win

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