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53rd Annual Ozark Creative Writing Contests


Show Case Awards 

(For more information regarding rules and submission requirements, please visit the contest guidelines page here.)


1.) Showcase Award - 3 Prizes ($300/$100/$50)

  • Short story or essay.

  • 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: 3000 words. 

  • Sponsor: OGHMA Creative Media


3.) Founding Member Award in Memory of Arkansas Poet Laureate Peggy Vining - 1 Prize ($150)

  • Poem about nature, any style.

  • Limit: 24 lines.

  • Sponsor: Ozark Creative Writers Board of Directors.


4.) Mike Willis Memorial Award - 1 Prize ($150)

  • Tell me a funny story about family life in America, past or present. It can be true, or it can be embellished just make me laugh!

  • Limit: 2000 words.

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


Grand Conference Awards


5.) Jim Richardson Memorial Award - 3 Prizes ($50/$30/$20)

  • Short story, any genre.

  • Limit: 3000 words. 

  • Sponsor: Delois McGrew, in memory of her son, Jim Richardson


6.) Search for Excellence Award - 3 Prizes ($50/$30/$20)

  • Nonfiction memoir or essay.

  • Limit: 2500 words.

  • Sponsor: Leon Combs


7.) Get Your Romance on Contest - 3 Prizes ($50/$30/$20)

  • Write a short romance where the protagonists are stranded alone in an elevator.

  • Limit: 1500-2000 words.

  • Sponsor: Ozarks Romance Authors, Springfield, MO


8.) Writing is a Blast! - 3 Prizes ($50/$30/$20)

  • Spark our interest. Thrill us with suspense. Light a fire and runaway with our imagination. Fiction.

  • Limit: 2000 words.

  • Sponsors: Jane & Mitch Hale (Hale Fireworks)


9.) War Stories - 3 Prizes ($50/$30/$20)

  • Write a short story about being in the trenches, as in: Examples: a military battleground, a relationship conflict, warring factions on an elementary school playground, a face-off between alley cats. Be creative. Dazzle with sharp, emotional writing.

  • Limit: 2000 words.

  • Sponsor: Micki Fuhrman


10.) She Did It - 3 Prizes ($50/$30/$20)

  • The story must have a female villain and must involve a crime.

  • Limit 750 – 1200 words.

  • Sponsor: Sleuths’ Ink


Conference Awards


11.) Sisterhood Story Challenge - 3 Prizes ($25/$15/$10)

  • Write a story, any genre, including all five of the following words: penguin, Volkswagen, jalapeno, walnut, & brassier.

  • Limit: 1000 words.

  • Sponsor: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pen


12.) Garage Sale Tale - 3 Prizes ($25/$15/$10)

  • Write a creative short story where a fictional character has an unexpected encounter or makes an exciting discovery at a garage sale. Edit and proof read carefully. Include your word count on the first page of the manuscript. Short stories only, no essays.

  • Limit: 500 words.

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


13.) Hightower Award - 3 Prizes ($25/$15/$10)

  • Write a romantic short story with a hint of suspense, suitable for the Hallmark Channel.

  • Limit: 3000 words.

  • Sponsor: Chrissy Willis in memory or her mother Clarice Hightower


14.) Give Us the Best of Friends - 3 Prizes ($25/$15/$10)

  • Short story, any genre, about best friends. Must include the words Arkansas and Tennessee.

  • Limit: 1500 words.

  • Sponsors: Joni Cogbill & Betsy Gray


15.) It Was a Dark and Stormy Night - 3 Prizes ($25/$15/$10)

  • 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 clichéd overwriting.

  • Limit: 500-1000 words.

  • Sponsor: Lonnie Whitaker


16.) Paint to Pen - 3 Prizes ($25/$15/$10)

  • Choose a famous painting of a human subject and write what you imagine they may be thinking. Title your entry and include the title of the painting as your sub-title.

  • Limit: 150 words. (Titles do not count in the word limit.

  • Sponsor: Marcia Gaye


17.) Middle Grade Fiction for Boys Ages 9-12 - 3 Prizes ($25/$15/$10)

  • Fiction.

  • Limit: 1500-2500 words.

  • Sponsor: Reneé LaViness


18.) Flash Fiction - 3 Prizes ($25/$15/$10)

  • Must have beginning, middle, end.

  • Limit: 99 words.

  • Sponsor: David Kirkland


19.) Inspirational Essay - 3 Prizes ($25/$15/$10)

  • Inspirational essay.

  • Limit: 500 words.

  • Sponsor: Clouse Literary Arts and Theater


20.) Space Journey - 3 Prizes ($25/$15/$10)

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

  • Limit: 2000 words.

  • Sponsor: Tahlequah Writers


21.) Traditions Contest - 3 Prizes ($25/$15/$10)

  • Creative non-fiction essay on your favorite family traditions.

  • Limit: 300 words.

  • Sponsor: Linda Apple


22.) Travel Article - 3 Prizes ($25/$15/$10)

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

  • Limit: 1500 words.

  • Sponsor: Johnny D. Boggs


23.) My Favorite Day in Nature - 3 Prizes ($25/$15/$10)

  • Essay or short story. No hunting stories please.

  • Limit: 200 words.

  • Sponsor: Linda Sartin in memory of her husband Gary


24.) Things That Go Bump In The Night! - 3 Prizes ($25/$15/$10)

  • Night! - Paranormal Short Story

  • Limit: 3000 words.

  • Sponsor: Ruth Weeks


25.) The House That Writing Built - 3 Prizes ($25/$15/$10)

  • We’re looking for stories themed around a room of the house or the yard/garden. The story does not have to be set in the selected room per se but must touch on or mention the room. Creativity and originality are important to the judges.

  • Limit: 2019 words.

  • Sponsor: Saturday Writers of St. Charles, Missouri