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2024 Contest Info!

2024 Contest Information

Here is the updated list of sponsored contests for our 50th anniversary. Do you have questions, suggestions, or comments regarding our contests? Do you want to sponsor a contest? Feel free to contact Amy Wethington at swa50cne@gmail.comContests are open to all members. Annual membership costs $35. Note, a cash award is included with placement in our contests along with the prestige of winning.

Timetable for contest entrants
   By December 15, a final list of available contests will be published in the newsletter and on SWA’s website -- along with descriptions and specific instructions regarding format and submission.

Contests will open January 1 and close March 31, at the end of the day. All submissions will be emailed directly to the contest coordinator at

By April 30, a finalist list will be published in the newsletter and on SWA’s website. Finalists registering at the last minute will still be able to take advantage of our Early Bird discount rate.


Placement in SWA contests will be announced LIVE during our 50th Anniversary Conference, June 7-11. 2024, at Epworth by the Sea in St. Simons Island, GA. A list of winners will be posted on SWA’s website within a week of the live awards ceremony and in the summer issue of our Purple Pros newsletter. If applicable, feedback to contest entrants will be shared with the entrants via email, within a week of the awards ceremony.


PDFs of award certificates will be emailed to those who are unable to attend our 50th Anniversary Celebration meeting within a week of the ceremony. Or absent award recipients can pay postage and receive printed award certificates via USPS. For those of you chomping at the bit, here is an updated list of contests for SWA’s 50th Anniversary. As sponsors are collected, contest descriptions will be added to our website. 


Cappy Rearick’s Cappy Award for Southern Humor
   Submit complete manuscript, not to exceed 1,000 HILARIOUS words. Any subject suitable for all ages.

Charlotte Babb’s Microcosm Award
   Fiction, any genre, no poetry, slice of life, or vignette. A complete manuscript with beginning, middle and end -- which is character-driven and has a resolution. Less than 1,000 words; up to 999 words, not counting the title.

Susan Lindsley’s Limerick Award
Submit no more than two limericks (each consisting of five lines using an AABBA rhyme scheme). They can be nonsensical, comedic, outrageous, raunchy, or just plain fun.

Buzz Bernard’s The Hal Bernard Memorial Award for Novel
[Some minimal feedback will be offered.]
   Submit first 10 pages of manuscript (double-spaced); plus a 1-page synopsis and 1-paragraph “elevator pitch.” Any genre, literary or mainstream.

Sandra Giles’s The Vega Award for Speculative Short Fiction
   Submit complete manuscript, not to exceed 4,000 words. Short fiction in any of the fantastical genres, such as 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.

Lynn Hesse’s Crime/Police Procedural Award
    Submit the first 30 pages or the first three chapters of a crime novel. 12-point font. Double space. Do not use tab indentions—use the paragraph formatting option to set paragraph indentions. A one-page synopsis recommended. File name should include Crime Novel Contest SWA, your title.

Jeff Newberry’s Herbert Shippey Award
for Excellence in Southern Poetry
    Single poem of no fewer than 10 lines and no more than 50 lines addressing the Southeast in some broad way, either through subject matter or through style or through homage.

Muriel Pritchett’s Thursday Writers
Cozy Mystery Award
    Submit first 10 pages of manuscript (double-spaced), plus a 1-page synopsis and 1-paragraph “elevator pitch.” Cozy mysteries are a sub-genre of crime fiction -- a comfort read that leaves the reader satisfied rather than scared. The detective is an amateur sleuth, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. Think TV shows like “Murder She Wrote,” “Father Brown,” and “Death in Paradise” or Agatha Christie’s Murder at the Vicarage.

Eye on the Page, LLC Contest’s Short Story Contest
    The author shall compose a fictional short story with a word count not exceeding 1,000 words. It can be any genre and will be judged on grammar, on adherence to the prompts and word count. The prompts consist of the following:
1) Somewhere in the story “50th Anniversary” must appear.
2) “A midnight encounter with a weird stranger” must be a critical turning point in the story.
3) There must be a surprise ending.

Jack Torrance’s The Lighthouse Prompt Award
    The story can be fictional or (auto)biographical. It can be set in the past, present, or future. Entries can be of any genre for any age group [picture books should only include text]. Entries can be flash fiction, a self-contained story, or a chapter of a larger work. Constraints: It must involve the following writing prompt: Beast Within. Entries should not exceed 5,000 words as counted by Word and use Shunn format:


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