Writing Contests

One of the highlights of the St. Davids Writers’ Conference is the announcement of the writing contest winners at the evening banquet.

How to Enter:

  1. All entries must be submitted by email as Word attachments to: sdcwcontest@gmail.com.
  2. A separate email must be sent for each entry. Please put the category you are entering in the subject line.
  3. Please put name and contact info in the body of the email along with category and title of entry. Do not put your name or contact info on the attachment. Do put the title and category again on the attachment.
  4. Deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m. EST May 15, 2018.
  5. We will notify you within 48 hours that your entry was received.


  • Serious Poetry: One poem, 30 lines maximum, in any style. We’re looking for imagery, crisp diction, specific detail, economy of language, as well as original insight. Avoid triteness and clichés. Do not use forced rhyme or inversion of word order.
  • Light Verse: One poem, 30 lines maximum. We’re looking for clever and precise rhyme, a scenario we can identify with, and a sense of playfulness that amuses and entertains through word play, irony, and/or a twist at the end.
  • Sudden or Flash Fiction: Six hundred words maximum. A short-short story aimed at adults or teens. The challenge of flash fiction is to tell a complete story in which every word is absolutely essential, to peel away the frills and lace until you’re left with nothing but the hard, clean-scraped core of a story. Include a surprise or twist.
  • Novel Beginnings (Fiction): Fifteen hundred words maximum. The first chapter of a novel aimed at adults, teens, or middle grade. Please specify target age. Any subject—humorous or serious, contemporary, or historical—in any genre. Grammar and presentation are considered.
  • Nonfiction (Article): Fifteen hundred words maximum of your best nonfiction writing. Personal experience, inspirational, or informative—you decide. This can be aimed at either a secular or religious publication.
  • Children’s Picture Book or Short Story: Eight hundred words maximum. Quality must be “ready to publish” by standards generally recognized by publishers. Any child-appropriate subject using vocabulary and grammar for ages 6 to 12 that can be easily understood.
  • Humor: Seven hundred-fifty words maximum, prose. This can be a monologue, a short prose scene, or personal experience. The goal is to make people laugh—not at pain, but at absurdity, irony, our own foibles and their comic consequences at times.
  • Devotion: Entries must be written in the format of The Upper Room, or The Secret Place. Please specify which format you are following. Click links for guidelines. Make sure your scripture passage relates well to your devotion.


  1. All conferees of the SDCW Conference who attend at least one workshop daily all week may enter the contests.
  2. Faculty members are not eligible to compete.
  3. You may enter up to three categories, but only one manuscript per category.
  4. All entries must be unpublished and not accepted by a publisher at time of entry. Blog entries are considered published.
  5. First, second, third places and honorable mention receive a certificate at the Saturday evening banquet. The first place winning entries are read aloud at that time. The judges, who are experienced writers, do not always award all the prizes in all the categories. Although those judges may comment on entries, it is not required.
  6. The contests are not a critiquing service.

In addition:

  • Entries will be returned to you by email along with any judging comments after the conference.
  • If you place first in any one category three years out of five, you become a member of the SDCWC Hall of Fame and are retired from participating in that category.
  • Decisions of the judges are final.
  • Manuscripts must fall within the standards of the Christian community that SDCWA represents. Except for the devotion category, subjects do not have to be “religious,” but they should not be offensive to Christian values.