Calling all writers

Palouse Writers Guild hosts third annual writing competition; Feb. 15 deadline for submissions



Winners of the annual Palouse Writers Guild competition will receive giftcards to local bookstores or a cash prize.

JUSTIN WASHINGTON, Evergreen research editor

The Palouse Writers Guild is now accepting submissions for their third annual writing contest. 

Writers of all ages have until Feb. 15 to submit their work for review in either the “first chapter” category or the “short story” category. While anybody can enter the “first chapter” category, the “short story” category is limited to writers who have never been published before. 

Khaliela Wright, founder of the Palouse Writers Guild, said the contest started as a way for local writers to get helpful, unbiased feedback from judges— something a lot of local writers have trouble accessing. 

“What really surprised me is the very first year that we ran the contest, we actually got entries from kids,” Wright said. “We’re talking 11 and 12 [years-old].” 

Out of support for young writers under the age of 18, the contest established an “Outstanding Young Writer” award under the “first chapter” category, complete with a cash prize.

Wright wrote in an email that some of the contest winners later received publishing contracts for their work. For example, 2020 winner Matt Edwards’s book “Ways and Truths and Lives” has since been published by Atmosphere Press. 2020 second place finalist Sonya Bramwell has also received a publishing contract for her book “Valkyrie’s Cry.”

There are prizes awarded for the top three submissions in the “first chapter” category and the top two submissions in the “short story” category, which include gift cards to BookPeople in Moscow, as well as cash prizes. Winners will be announced on Jun. 18 during the Palouse Writers Guild Books and Brews event.

Writers can submit to both categories as well as submit as many works as they would like, but writers should only submit their best work, Wright said. There is a $10 fee per entry and all submissions must be mailed to the Palouse Writers Guild at P.O. Box 52, Viola, Idaho 83872. More details are available on their website. 

The judges for the contest consist of librarians in the region, Wright said. 

“We like to use librarians because librarians are readers,” she said. “When we’re judging things … [we look at] how well does this work compare to a published work in that genre?”

The Palouse Writers Guild was founded as a way to get writers in the region to connect with one another, Wright said. Anyone interested in joining the organization can do so by getting involved with the groups hosted by different members. Meetings for the different groups are held both in person and virtually. Writers can also stay up to date on the organization’s events through their online calendar.

“We’re a brand-new, growing community. This is all new,” Wright said. “So it’s exciting to see how things are growing and changing over the years.”