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Contest Guidelines 

2024 Contest Deadline August 28, 2024  

Contest Guidelines:

  • You must register for the conference to enter any contest. However, you may send in your entries and then register for the conference before the August 28 deadline.

  • All submissions for 2024 must be electronic. A pdf of the contest guidelines can be downloaded by clicking here.


  • Contest entrants must be registered for the conference by August 28 to enter, and all entries must be received electronically by August 28, 2024, at 11:59 pm.

  • Send electronic manuscripts in either a pdf. or doc or docx format. DO NOT SEND THEM VIA GOOGLE DOCS, or any other cloud-based platform. Send them to:

  • DO NOT WRITE-PROTECT YOUR DOCUMENTS or make them read-only.

  • In the body of the email (NOT THE MANUSCRIPT) put your name and address as well as which contest(s) you are attaching an entry for and its manuscript title.  Example: Sue Smith, 123 Dogwood Lane, Columbus, Ohio Contest 1 (title), 2(title), and 17 (title). You may send them in one email or individual emails.

  • First Place winners of 2023 contests may not enter that same contest in 2024 unless the contest description has been changed, the award amount has changed or the contest sponsor has been changed. Please note that many of our 2024 contests have changed so read carefully.

  • You may enter as many contests as you wish, but only one entry per contest. That means that you can only enter one manuscript in each contest.

  • You may not send the same entry to more than one contest. For example, if you enter the story “The Birds and the Bees” in Contest 1 you can’t enter the same story “The Birds and the Bees” in Contest 16 (But you could enter another story in that contest).

  • All material must be unpublished at the time of entry with the exception of contest #6.

  • All entries, except poetry, must be double-spaced using one-inch margins.

  • DO NOT ATTACH A COVER PAGE TO YOUR MANUSCRIPT. Put the cover page information in your email. You may send all your contests at once or individually it does not matter. Judges may not enter contests they are judging but may enter all others. OCW Board members never enter any contests. 

  • Writers may not enter contests sponsored by their group or organization but may enter all others.

  • 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 the Ozarks Creative Writers’ website within two weeks after the end of the conference.

  • At the discretion of the OCW Board contestants found in violation of any of these rules will be disqualified. In the event of a serious violation such as sending in previously published works written by you or anyone else, you will be barred from this and any future OCW contests. OCW will ban anyone who uses AI to write their entries. This is cheating and defies the purpose of a creative writing contest.

  • You may email your contests all at one time or at separate times as long as they are sent by August 28, 2024, at 11:59 pm

  • Email your entries to: You will receive an automatic reply telling you this email is for contests only. Within 3 business days, you will also receive a confirmation email.

  • Do not put your name or any other identification on the contest entry. At the top of the page, preferably as a header put the name of the contest and the number of the contest you are entering. You will be disqualified if you put your name or any other personal identifiers on the manuscript.

Please direct any questions to
All contest entries must be sent to
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