Poem or Page Contest

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the 25th annual Writers' Institute. We are already looking forward to 2015. All information below is from the 2014 event, here for your reference.

Need a nudge to jump-start your writing? Enter the “Poem or Page Contest.” Take the plunge! Have fun. We’ll provide accolades and prizes.


What are our criteria for a winning poem or page? Hook us! We’re looking for the same thing agents and editors look for when you submit material to them—that instant good impression showing attention to craft. But any agent or editor is also looking for that “something extra” and so are we. It might be a wondrous word choice or line of words, a great “voice” on the page, a piece of action that’s riveting, a fact that wows the reader, a piece of imagery, or any number of things of your choosing. Give us something credible, yet original. Make us worry or wonder. Startle us.

Who may enter

Contest open ONLY to those attending the Writers’ Institute, April 4th-6th, 2014. (You may enroll in only 1 day and still be eligible for the contest.)


Entrants may submit in the following categories:

  1. Poetry—1 poem, single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman or Courier
  2. Mainstream/literary fiction
  3. Genre fiction (mystery, romance, horror, etc.)
  4. Young adult fiction
  5. Nonfiction books or articles

For categories 2-5, please submit the first page of your work. (If you have a prologue, submit the prologue’s first page as that’s the first page of your work.)

Format rules for fiction/nonfiction categories

Please use 12-point Courier or Times New Roman typeface, with 1-inch margins on all 4 sides. Please double-space; 1.5 spacing will be disqualified. Please list your category on the entry, front or back. Put your name and address on the back side of the page; do not put your name on the front. You may fill up the page, though please keep 1-inch margins on all 4 sides.

Entry fee

$15 per entry, all categories. Please pay through our registration office, (608) 262-2451.

Deadline and where to send entries

Entries must be postmarked by March 14, 2014. Send your entries labeled as POEM OR PAGE CONTEST ENTRY to:

Writers’ Institute Contest
21 N. Park St. Rm. 7312
Madison, WI 53715

If you wish to be notified that we’ve received your entry, enclose a self-addressed stamped postcard (SASP). We regret that we are unable to return any of your material.


Enter as many categories and as many times as you wish. Prizes will be awarded. Winners and runners-up will be announced at the conference and may have their material displayed at the conference and online at our writer’s web site, UWwritersinstitute.org»

We look forward to reading your submissions. Good luck!