Society of Southwest Authors Writing Contest

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The deadline for the 2018-2019 SSA Writing Contest is fast approaching. Entries must be submitted no later than January 15, 2019.

Our contest this year has two new features. We are following a school-year calendar, launching in the fall and announcing winners in the Spring. Additionally, we will use a two-tier judging process for each of the categories: Poetry (max 80 lines), Short Story (max 2,500 words), Memoir (max 2,500 words), and, new this year, Novel First Chapter (max 5,000 words). Preliminary judges will identify the top five entries which will be passed to a final judge who will put them in order of First, Second, Third, and two Honorable Mentions. First place winners will receive $200, second place, $100, third place, $50. With the exception of first chapters, all winning entries will be published in the SSA anthology, The StoryTeller. Winning first chapters will be available for reading on the SSA website.

Preliminary judges will use rubrics to evaluate short story, memoir, and first chapters; entrants would be wise to download the rubric that applies to their genre and self-evaluate before submitting your entry. Download the short story rubric; the memoir rubric; and the first chapter rubric. There is no rubric for poetry as poetry takes its own path of creativity and expression.

We are pleased that a number of fine writers and scholars have volunteered to judge our contest.

Preliminary judges in the Short Story category are Annette Bonner, of Little Cab Press, and Michelle Ross, winner of the 2016 Moon City Press Short Fiction Award. The final judge is Aurelie Sheehan, author of three short story collections, two novels, and a novella. She is a professor of fiction at the University of Arizona.

Memoir judges are Marilyn Janson, owner of Janson Literary Services, Inc., and Valerie Foster, award-winning educator, public speaker, and author of Dancing with a Demon. The final judge is Ken Lamberton, writer, artist, and naturalist. He is the author of several celebrated nonfiction books. He holds degrees in biology and creative writing from the University of Arizona.

Preliminary judges for First Chapters include Marylee MacDonald, who teaches fiction at the Piper Center at ASU, and  SSA President, Mary Ann Carman, author of the Clan Hewitt historical fiction trilogy, the Love After Life cozy mystery series, and the Chronicles Between the Pages fantasy series. The final judge is Susan Cummins Miller, the author of the Frankie MacFarlane, Geologist, mystery series and the anthology, A Sweet, Separate Intimacy: Women Writers of The American Frontier, 1800-1922.

The preliminary judge for Poetry is SSA's own Stuart Watkins, educator, writer, and poet who taught creative writing at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. He is the author of Arizona: 100 Years, 100 Poems, 100 Poets; Black and White are Only Shades of Gray, and many other books. The final judge is Tyler Meier, Executive Director at the University of Arizona Poetry Center.

Entrants are reminded to follow the contest rules to avoid being disqualified. Formatting, word count, and adherence to genre will be strictly enforced. Download the rules and entry form.

For more information on SSA's goings-on and for valuable tips for writing, check out our forthcoming issue of The Write Word.