Win Cash Prizes

Writing Contest 2021


Contest Submission Guidelines Here 

2020 Contest Winners Here

Contest entries accepted from May 1 until August 1, 2021

Winners announced September 2021 

$35 entry fee includes all contests and membership to SWA through June 2022

Contests are judged by the sponsors (unless otherwise stated).

Manuscript can only be entered into one category.

Must not be published on web or in print

The Hal Bernard Memorial Award for Novel

(sponsored by Buzz Bernard)

The first 10 pages (double-spaced); 1-page synopsis 1-paragraph “elevator pitch”

Any genre, literary or mainstream


The Vega Award for Speculative Short Fiction

(sponsored by Sandra Giles)

Complete manuscript not over 4,000 words’; Short fiction in any of the fantastical genres: science fiction, fantasy, horror, weird, magical, supernatural, superhero, utopian or dystopian, apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic, alternate history.  Short story or flash; Stand-alone novel chapters also accepted.


The Award for Excellence in Inspirational Writing

(sponsored by Mary Stripling)

The piece may be religious or secular. It should be wholesome and leave the reader with a “take away” message of encouragement, hope, comfort, fresh motivation, or renewed spiritual strength. Complete manuscript not over 1,500 words


The Humor Award

(sponsored by Authors Ignite)

Complete manuscript not over 1,000 HILARIOUS words. Any subject suitable for all ages.


Microcosm Award

(sponsored by Charlotte Henley Babb)

Fiction, any genre, no poetry, slice of life, or vignette. A complete story with beginning, middle and end; is character driven and has a resolution. Less than 1000 words: up to 999 words, not counting title. 


Young Adult/Midgrade Award

(sponsored by Amy Wethington)

Complete manuscript not over 5,000 words OR novel (first 5,000 words + 1-page synopsis + elevator

pitch [not over 300 words]).


Award for Historical Fiction

(sponsored by Jim Furry & Eye on the Page)

Complete manuscript not over 2,000 words based on an easily identifiable historical period of time.

Judged on originality, theme, accuracy within the historical period, and composition.


The Lowcountry Award for Excellence in Southern Writing

(sponsored by Dana Ridenour)

Award for best complete manuscript limited to 2,500 words set in the American

South. Author may live anywhere however the story must be set in the American South.


The Amy Munnell Award for Character Essays

(sponsored by Cappy Hall Rearick)

Subject matter to include but not limited to personal experience. 800 words. Double

space, 12 pt. font, 1 inch borders.


The Southern Pen Bookshop First Novel Award

(sponsored by Vickie Bley)

Work that has not been previously published.  Word Count: 5,000-6,000 words; File to include: Query letter, Synopsis (1000 words or less), First three chapters (1200 words or less) Title Page.

 Winners 2020 SWA Annual Writing Contest

The Hal Bernard Memorial Award

First Place:           Robert Herold for Moonlight Becomes You

Second Place:               Lynn Hesse for A Matter of Respect

Third Place (tie):          Denise Roosendaal for Barefoot Over Broken Glass

Third Place (tie):          Ryan Jo Summers for Flashes of Lightning

Honorable Mention:    M.A. Naatz for Killing Unicorns


The Purcell Award for Best Novel by First-Time Entry

First Place:           Robert Herold for Moonlight Becomes You


The Vega Award for Speculative Fiction

First Place:           L.N. Passmore for  "Moonshine and the Zombie Cats" 

Second Place:              Ryan Jo Summers for  "Wishing on Time" 

Third Place:                 Susan Lindsley for  "The Mason Jar" 


The Bill Westhead Award

First Place:           Gary P. Jones for  "My Love Affair with the Navy "

Second Place:               Jan Walker for  "The Barber"


The Award for Excellence in Inspirational Writing

First Place:           James R. Brooks for  "One Old Man" 

Second Place:               Sheri Denkensohn for  "Double Mourning During the Time of Coronavirus"

Third Place:                  Ryan Jo Summers for  "Praising through the Pain" 


The George Thomas Youngblood Award for Short Stories

First Place:               Micki Morency for  "Fatal Fare"

Second Place:               James R. Brooks for  "A Trapping Bond"

Third Place:                 Susan Lindsley for  "The Old Lady and the Wooden Spools"


The Humor Award

First Place:           Susan Lindsey for  "Flower of the Fleet"

Second Place:               Sheri Denkensohn for  "Hawaiian Adventure"


Flash Fiction Contest

First Place:           L.N. Passmore for  "But Momma" 

Second Place:               Micki Morency for  "Vanishing Color" 

Third Place:                  Susan Lindsley for  "Halloween Party"


Young Adult/Midgrade Award

First Place:           Susan Antony for It Happened on Thunder Road

Second Place:               Susan Lindsley for  "Robbie and a Car Named Bradley"

Third Place:                 Heather Trim for  Wingspan (Book 3)


Historical Fiction Award

First Place:           Susan Lindsley for "A Saturday Afternoon in Georgia"