Skip to content
Secondary Content

Original Writing Competition

Established in 1958, the competition identifies and awards Utah writers for works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in the form of short stories, essays, poems, and full-length manuscripts for readers of all ages. Submissions must be original works. They cannot be published or accepted for publication at the time of entry. Manuscripts will be reviewed in a blind process by five to seven judges selected from outside of Utah.

Past award winners have included Ron Carlson, former Utah Poet Laureates David Lee, Ken Brewer, and Katharine Coles, current Utah Poet Laureate Lance Larsen, Pam Houston, Lyman Hafen, Margaret I. Rostkowski, John Bennion, Scott Cairns, Rod Carney, and Susan Howe. There is no entry fee for the competition, and it is open to all Utah residents.

Competition Application & Guidelines

The 2014 competition will open April 1 and close June 27 at 5 p.m. The 2014 competition guidelines are available HERE.


2013 Winners

Category A: Novel, judged by Brian Evenson

  • First place: The Ghost Town Preservation Society by Julie C. Simon (Cedar City)
  • Second place: Nectar in a Sieve by Gene Washington (Logan)
  • Honorable Mention: Ransom by Spencer Hyde (Provo)

Category B: Biography/Autobiography/History, judged by Steven Davis

  • First place: Peach Blossoms and Pearl Harbor by Afton L. Wilkins (Farmington)
  • Second place: Mob Control – How I Almost Learned to Teach High School by Vickie S. Ericksen (Lehi)
  • Honorable Mention: None chosen

Category C: Book-length Collection of Short Stories, judged by Becky Bradway

  • First place: Robot Action Pinball by Jason P. Olsen (Price)
  • Second place: These Things Are as Difficult as They Seem by Kate Elizabeth Finlinson (Salt Lake)
  • Honorable Mention: Look Me in the Stars by Christopher B. Husberg (Lehi)

Category D: Young Adult Book, judged by Kurtis Scaletta

  • First place:  Wink! A Mixed Up Night’s Dream by Kelley JP Lindberg (Layton)
  • Second place: The Cave Troll Man by John S. Bennion (Provo)
  • Honorable Mention: Poisoned Apple Inc. by Zach Largey (Orem)
  • Honorable Mention: The Nettle Spinner by Cathleen Barney (Orem)

Category E: Poetry, judged by David Romtvedt

  • First place: “The Mailman in the Forest” by Lisa R. Roullard (Salt Lake)
  • Second place: “Arrows Pointing Out the Moon” by Rob Carney (Salt Lake)
  • Honorable Mention: “The Marriage of the Moon and the Field” by Sunni B Wilkinson (Ogden)

Category F: Short Story, judged by Eileen Pollack

  • First place: “Empty” by Nate Liederbach (Salt Lake)
  • Second place: “Gifted” by Rachel Borup (Salt Lake)
  • Honorable Mention: “Concentration Camp Stories for Doggies” by Anne Vinsel (Salt Lake)

Category G: Narrative Nonfiction/Personal Essay, judged by Michelle Seaton

  • First place: “Manure” by Dianne Hardy (Logan)
  • Second place: “A Mother’s Tale” by Betsy Lynn Ross (Salt Lake)
  • Honorable Mention: “Fog” by Lorraine Jeffery (Orem)

Past Competitions


Contact Jean Tokuda Irwin via email or call 801.533.5760