Writing Contest

We are excited to announce the theme of our 2023 Writing Contest!


We are seeking submissions that explore connections – the ones we make and the ones we don’t. You can write about connections lost and found, accidental or calculated, internal or driven by the outside world. We’re looking for great writing that brings this concept to life.

Writers can interpret this theme as broadly as they wish.

Submissions will be accepted for this annual contest March 1 – April 8, 2023 in the following categories:

  • Poetry
    • Up to 3 poem submissions.
  • Short-Short Fiction
    • Up to 2 story submissions. 
    • Word count limit per submission: 500
  • Short Fiction
    • 1 story submission.
    • Word count limit: 500-2,500
  • Creative Nonfiction
    • 1 story submission.
    • Word count limit: 2,500

The first-place winner in each category will receive a prize of $200, publication on the Lake Superior Writers website and an invitation to share a portion of their work at the Lake Superior Writers Annual Meeting, which will be held on May 20 this year. The runner-up in each category will receive a prize of $50.

All stories will be read by a panel of judges. They will be evaluating fiction and creative nonfiction submissions based on adherence to theme, strength of storytelling (includes point of view, strength of opening, details and dialogue), organization, and language conventions. Poetry will be evaluated on adherence to theme, illustration, strength of poetic techniques and language conventions.

Submission Guidelines

Please note – we have made a change to the submission fees.  Membership or an entry fee covers submissions in multiple categories, subject to the category submission limits stated.

The contest is open on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 at 12:01am and closes at 11:59pm on Saturday, April 8, 2023. Entries received outside of this window or that do not follow the submission guidelines will be disqualified. 

  • The LSW Writing Contest is open to adults (age 18 and older).
    • Free entry is a benefit of Lake Superior Writers membership.
    • For non-members, the entry fee is $40, or $20 for student non-members, which includes membership in Lake Superior Writers. You can pay that submission/membership fee here using credit card or PayPal.
    • If you have any questions about your membership status, email writers@lakesuperiorwriters.org.

Submission Details

  • Email submissions to lswcontest@gmail.com.
    • The email subject line should read: Contest 2023 [author’s last name]
      • For example: Contest 2023 Johnson
    • In the email message, include:
      • Your first and last name (you may also include your pen name, but the name you use for your LSW membership or entry fee must be included in the email)
      • Phone number (will only be used to contact contest winners)
      • Title(s) of submitted piece(s)
      • Genre(s) of submitted piece(s)
      • Word count(s) of submitted piece(s)
    • Submissions must be in Word (.doc or .docx) and attached to the email or in Google Docs with a link in the email. 
    • Each submission must be on a separate document. You may attach or link to multiple documents in one email. 
    • Submissions should follow these formatting guidelines:
      • 12-point font
      • Double-spaced
      • One-inch margins 
      • Times New Roman, Courier or a similar font
      • Title at the top of the page
      • The title of the document should only be the title of your work. It should not include your name or any other information. 
      • Your name MUST NOT appear on the submission nor in the name of the document
    • You will receive an automatic reply to confirm receipt of your submission.
    • Graphic content that is deemed violent or sexual in nature by the Contest Chair or Judges will be disqualified.
    • Manuscripts must be original and unpublished, including on personal blogs.
  • The 2023 Writing Contest is open Wednesday, March 1, 2023 at 12:01am and closes at 11:59pm on Saturday, April 8, 2023. Submissions received after 11:59pm on April 9 will not be accepted. There will be no exceptions. 
  • Members of Lake Superior Writers Board, the Contest Chair, and Contest Judges and their immediate families are prohibited from participation. 

If you have any questions, contact lswcontest@gmail.com. Winners will be contacted early May. Feedback will not be provided on submissions.

Thank you for participating in our annual writing contest! We look forward to reading your work!

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.