The page has moved to:
this page

Monday, March 31, 2014

FINAL DAY-- WV Writers Contest Reminder Checklist

Today, Monday, March 31, is the FINAL deadline for submissions for the 2014 WV Writers Annual Writing Contest to be mailed.  Anything postmarked after March 31 will not be eligible for our contest, so it's important that you get your entries in the mail today.  

That said...  if you're not able to get to the post office before they close today, here's a time-tested method for getting your entries postmarked by 3/31/14 anyway...

Assemble your entries before midnight tonight, 3/31/14, put them all in their envelope and weigh them using a kitchen scale, then use that weight to purchase and print a Priority Mail label on (Or use, if you have that.) It will have the post mark of 3/31 printed on it and then you can mail it out tomorrow with no problem.  However, don't take a long time about mailing it, cause our contest coordinator (me) is sending all the entries to the judges by next Monday, April 7, so if your entry isn't here by then, you'll be out of luck.

To help things run smoothly for both entrants and our contest coordinator (me) here's a handy checklist that you should go over before sending in your entries.


1)  Have you read the contest rules to make sure you're complying with them? 
Even if you've entered a dozen times before, please do read the rules again because errors happen.  Please pay special attention to the CONTEST GUIDELINES section, which a number of entrants have apparently skipped over already.

2)  Is your contest category and the word count for your entry printed in the top right corner of your entry? (See Checklist #1)  The word count means the actual number of words in your entry.  Your word processing program will be able to tell you this.  Please do not estimate.  For Book Length Prose, this means the word count of your submitted excerpt, not of the overall novel.

3) Have you filled out your entry form correctly?  I've received several entry forms this year in which no contest categories have been marked.  This is fine if there's only one entry and the entrant has put their category on the entry (see Checklist #1 and #2), but when there are multiple prose entries and they've not been indicated on the entries themselves, they could potentially be intended for short story, nonfiction, Appalachian, humor, emerging writers prose, Pearl S. Buck, or children's book and I have no easy way to know.

4)  Have you made absolutely certain your name is NOT printed on your actual story or poem? 
The ONLY place your name should appear is on your contest entry form.  UPDATED 3/17/2014:  So far this year, only TWO people have left their names on their entries.  If you find out you've left yours on, don't sweat it.  I can blank out the name with correction tape and then photocopy that page to replace the original.  However, this takes both time and correction tape and I have a limited supply of those.

5)  Have you double-checked to make sure you included ALL of your entries in your envelope? 
In the past, I've received a couple of entry envelopes that are a story or poem short of the intended amount.  (In fact, last year I received an envelope that only had an entry form and no submission at all.)  I always try to contact the people to make sure of their intentions, and have been known to print missed entries here.  But the more careful you are in submitting the easier it is on me here.  Which brings me to...

6)  Have you included accurate contact information for yourself? 
Every year people send entries in that require followup to correct an error or two.  And every year many of those emails sent bounce back because they are incorrectly written on the form.  (And, sometimes, handwriting interpretation on my part may be at fault.)  Please legibly print your email address and make sure it's correct, along with your other contact information.  

7)  Have you addressed your envelope full of entries with the correct address of our contest coordinator?
  Last year I received more than one entry forwarded to me from Patsy Pittman, who was our contest coordinator for many years, but has not been since 2008.  Please use the correct entry form with the correct address for 2014, which is available at our website and in our newsletter.

8)  Have you included the additional $2 per entry late fee for having mailed entries after March 15?  (Or $1 for New Mountain Voices Student Contest entrants.)

If you have questions feel free to send them to me at  Do know, though, that many of the answers to questions I have received about the contest are found at our Frequently Asked Questions list.

Monday, March 17, 2014

WVW Contest F.A.Q. #33

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.
QUESTION:  Can I submit a collection of my poems as my entry to Emerging Writers Poetry?

ANSWER:  No, unfortunately not.  We do not have a category for poetry collections, though it's not a bad idea to consider in the future.  As it stands, though, submitting a collection of poetry in a category dedicated to single poems allows an entrant to "sneak through" more poems for the $10 fee, whereas all of the other poetry entrants would have paid $10 per poem.  Doing this would not be fair to those entrants nor would it be fair to our poetry judges, who are contracted to jury single poems, comparing them against each other to determine the ones they feel are best.

We will consider a poetry collection category for the future, though, because, like Book Length Prose, there should be room for larger works of poetry as well as prose.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

WVW Contest F.A.Q. #32

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION:  I won 1st Place last year in Emerging Writer's Poetry.  Can I submit to Emerging Writer's Prose this year? 

ANSWER:  Once you've placed in any WV Writers contest category, you have officially emerged and the Emerging Writers categories are forever more off limits. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

WVW Contest F.A.Q. #31

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION: Is it permissible to re-enter a work that was rejected last year?

ANSWER:  You may certainly resubmit something from a previous year.  In all but one instance of the times I ever placed in the WVW contest, it was with a stories that had not placed in previous years.  This is not uncommon.  We have completely different judges from year to year, so it can be a matter of a piece finding a receptive judicial home.

Monday, March 10, 2014

WV Writers 2014 Contest Judges

The following are the list of judges for the 2014 WV Writers Annual Writing Contest.  
Kari Gunter-Seymour (Appalachian Writing)
Kari Gunter-Seymour is a communications and marketing designer, photographer, poet and women’s rights advocate. Her people come from the foothills of the Appalachians, on down to the Great Smoky Mountains—farmers, musicians, storytellers and proud military men.  Gunter-Seymour's poetry appears in Clover, A Literary Rag, Still: The Journal , A Narrow Fellow, The LA Times, and her piece "Serving" won first place at the 2013 Hocking Hills Poetry Festival. She is an active participant of the Pudding House Poetry Salons.  An avid photographer in addition to her writing, she is the founder/curator of the “Women of Appalachia Events” which celebrate Appalachian Ohio’s visual, literary and performing women artists. (

Pinckney Benedict (Book Length Prose)

Pinckney Benedict grew up on his family’s dairy farm in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. He has published a novel (Dogs of God) and three collections of short fiction, the most recent of which is Miracle Boy and Other Stories. His work has been published in, among other magazines and anthologies, Esquire, Zoetrope: All-Story, the O. Henry Award series, the Pushcart Prize series, the Best New Stories from the South series, Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days, The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction, and The Oxford Book of the American Short Story. Benedict serves as a professor in the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and on the core faculty of the low-residency MFA program at Queens University in Charlotte, NC.

Madelyn Rosenberg (Children’s Books)
Madelyn Rosenberg was a journalist in daily newspapers for more than a decade before she began writing for children. Her books include The Schmutzy Family, finalist for the National Jewish Book Award for illustrated children's books, Happy Birthday, Tree, and Canary in the Coal Mine, a middle-grade novel set in Charleston that was named a VOYA Top Shelf pick and a notable social studies trade book for young people. Her forthcoming books include Dream Boy (with co-author Mary Crockett), How to Behave at a Tea Party, and Nanny X. Madelyn is a freelance writer in Arlington, Va., where she lives with her family.

Maggie Anderson (Emerging Writers Poetry—the F. Ethan Fischer Memorial Poetry Award)Maggie Anderson is the author of four books of poetry, including Windfall: New and Selected Poems, A Space Filled with Moving, and Cold Comfort. She has edited several thematic anthologies, including A Gathering of Poets, a collection of poems read at the 20th of the shootings at Kent State University in 1970, as well as Learning by Heart: Contemporary American Poetry about School and After the Bell: Contemporary American Prose about School. Her awards include two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, fellowships from the Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania Councils on the Arts, and the Ohioana Library Award for contributions to the literary arts in Ohio. The founding director of the Wick Poetry Center and of the Wick Poetry Series of the Kent State University Press, Anderson is Professor Emerita of English at Kent State University and lives in Asheville, NC anniversary commemoration

June Langford Berkley (Emerging Writers Prose)June Langford Berkley is a writer who imagines her family saga in storytelling performances and fiction.  Her multi-faceted career in education includes public school and university teaching and nationwide consulting.  She has written many articles and chapters for text books.  Her published fiction includes: Shannaganey Blue, a novella, University of Akron, 5th ed. 1993; The Rhinegold Case, University of Akron, Akros Review, l984.

J.C. Vaughn (Graphic Narrative)J. C. Vaughn, Vice President of Publishing at Gemstone Publishing.  The business of comics as his job is to make sure that the annual editions of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide are published on schedule, and out in time for the San Diego conventions.

T.K. Lee (Humor)T.K. Lee is an award-winning member of the Dramatists Guild of America and the Society for Stage Directors and Choreographers. A published writer of fiction and poetry as well, he is also a Pushcart nominee and a rather serious lover of cheese.

P.J. Laska (Long Poetry)P.J. Laska is a West Virginia native, from Farmington, in Marion County.  He did graduate work at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Rochester, where he obtained a Ph.D. in philosophy.  He taught at universities in Canada and the U.S. for several years before joining Antioch/Appalachia in Beckley, WV, where he was a member of the Soupbean Poets Collective.  His first poetry book, D.C. Images and Other Poems, was a National Book Award finalist. Recent publications include Night & Day: Selected Poems, 2010, and The Original Wisdom of the Dao De Jing: a Translation and Commentary, 2012.  In 2014, Igneus Press will publish Morning in America: Poems from the Long Decade.  He has co-edited The Poetry of Resistance anthology with Fred Whitehead for John Brown Press (2014).  Currently associate editor of the artist-produced magazine Left Curve, he is active on Twitter @Awolanalyst.

Vicki Dean (Nonfiction)Vicki J. Dean is the day news editor for the Herald-Tribune Media Group in Sarasota, Fla.
During her 20 years at the newspaper, she has also served as editorial writer, columnist, page one designer and as a copy editor. She previously was an assistant managing editor for the York (Pa.) Daily Record and worked as a copy editor at the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette. She is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Marshall University's journalism program. She also attended graduate school at Penn State University in Harrisburg, Pa., taking several classes in American Studies. Vicki is a West Virginia native who grew up in Lincoln County, graduating from Hamlin High School. She currently writes about her bluegrass music, a lifelong passion, every chance she gets for various publications.

Meredith Sue Willis (The Pearl S. Buck Award for Writing for Social Change)Meredith Sue Willis was raised in Shinnston, West Virginia.  She now lives in New Jersey a short train ride from New York City, where she is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, as well as a frequent visiting writer-in-the-schools in New York and New Jersey. She has degrees from Barnard College and Columbia University as well as an honorary doctorate from West Virginia University.  Her novels and short fiction for adults and children have been published by Scribners’, Harper Collins, West Virginia University Press, Mercury House, Ohio University Press, and others.  Her latest books are a collection of short spin-offs from myth and the Bible called Re-Visions; a book for writers called Ten Strategies to Write Your Novel; and a book of literary Appalachian stories called Out of the Mountains. The latter was praised in Booklist as a “finely crafted collection...worth reading twice to discover all its intricacies and connections."  For more information, please visit her website at

Dr. Victor M. Depta (Short Poetry)Dr. Victor M. Depta is the publisher of Blair Mountain Press, established in 1999.  The focus of the press is on the environment, such as the recent issue, Coal: A Poetry Anthology, edited by Chris Green. Dr. Depta has published eleven books of poetry, four novels, two volumes of comedic plays, two collections of essays on poetry and mysticism, a memoir, and over two-hundred poems in magazines and journals. He has a Ph.D. in American literature from Ohio University, an M.A. in English from San Francisco State University, and a B.A. in English from Marshall University. After teaching for forty years, he has settled in Frankfort, Kentucky.

CliffGarstang (Short Story)Clifford Garstang grew up in the Midwest and received a BA from Northwestern University. After a career in international law, which saw him practicing in Singapore, Chicago, and Los Angeles with Sidley Austin, one of the largest law firms in the United States, as well as a stint as Senior Counsel for East Asia at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., Garstang received an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. His award-winning collection of linked short stories, In an Uncharted Country, was published by Press 53 in 2009. His second book, What the Zhang Boys Know, was also published by Press 53 in October of 2012.  Garstang’s work has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Blackbird, Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, Cream City Review, Tampa Review, Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere and has received Distinguished Mention in the Best American Series. He won the 2006 Confluence Fiction Prize and the 2007 GSU Review Fiction Prize, and has had a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and scholarships to both Sewanee and the Indiana University Writers’ Conference, as well as residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts.  He is the editor of Prime Number Magazine and currently lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Dr. Brett Hursey (Stageplay—The Joe McCabe Memorial Playwriting Award)Brett Hursey's poetry has appeared in over a hundred literary journals across the United States and Canada.  His plays have also been produced in more than a hundred theatres across the world.  Currently he teaches Playwriting and Poetry at Longwood University, in Virginia.


Wilma Acree (Elementary)
Wilma Acree writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Her poems appear in numerous journals and anthologies including two for sale in the bookstore.  She is the author of two chapbooks.   Her award-winning poems include "If You See Buzzard" (written in a workshop at WVW conference), "Like A Geode" (third place Humor, WVW, 2001), "House on Parchment Creek" (second place Appalachian, WVW 2009), "Unmarked Civil War Battlefield"(second place poetry, WVW, 2006)
"In Memory of Becky."

Belinda Anderson (Middle School)
Belinda Anderson holds a bachelor's degree in news-editorial journalism and a master's of liberal arts studies.  She's written for such publications as The West Virginia Encyclopedia, Goldenseal, Wonderful West Virginia, Book Page and Writers' Journal, among others.  Her short story collections include "The Well Ain't Dry Yet," "The Bingo Cheaters," and "Buckle up, Buttercup."  Her most recent book is a middle-grade novel called "Jackson Vs. Witchy Wanda: Making Kid Soup."  The West Virginia Division of Culture and History has named her a Master Artist to work as a mentor with emerging writers. 

Pam Hanson (High School)
Pam Andrews Hanson, a former reporter and West Virginia University journalism teacher, is the co-author with her mother/writing partner Barbara Andrews of 40 novels including romance, inspirational women’s fiction, and mystery for Harlequin and Guideposts. This spring Guideposts released Chesapeake Antique Mysteries, Forgotten History, and Hidden Treasures, a two-book set by the duo. In addition, she and her partner have several indie inspirational romances for Kindle on Amazon. Currently she is working on a new cozy mystery project of her own.  Pam, a past recipient of the JUG Award, now resides in Nebraska where she writes fulltime when she’s not procrastinating on Facebook:

Friday, March 07, 2014

WVW Contest F.A.Q. #30

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION:  I would like to know if a teacher or parent is allowed to make edits and recommendations on a student's writings?

ANSWER:  Having an outside proofreader is a longstanding tradition for writers of all stripes.  I would suggest that anyone offering editing suggestions explain them to the student and allow them to make the changes.  This way they pick up grammar tips for the future, in addition to having a cleaner story or poem.

WVW Contest F.A.Q. #31

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION: Do all of your entries have to be sent in at the same time? I'm considering entering the novel category and have already sent in other entries.  

ANSWERYou don't have to send everything in at once. We've get multiple packages from individual writers throughout the contest acceptance period. Not a problem at all.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

WVW Contest F.A.Q. #29

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

QUESTION:  Does the word count include the title, or just the body of the piece of writing?

ANSWER:  Word count doesn't include the title.  Or "The End" in case you've added that.  It also doesn't include the category and word count number at the top right of the first page of your entry, so you can just count the bare bones of the story and write that number in for the word count.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

WVW Contest F.A.Q. #28

Continuing the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the West Virginia Writers, Inc., Annual Writing Competitions.  To see all of the questions, please click HERE.

A contest entrant from Maine writes:

QUESTION:  For membership, should I send my membership application form (which provides a different address) with the membership fee and contest submission, or should I send the membership application separately to its own address with a note that the fee was sent with the contest submission?

ANSWER:  If you were in-state it wouldn't really matter which address you sent your membership to (the one on the membership application for our website or the one on the contest entry form).  However, because we require organizational membership for people entering our contest who live out-of-state it's important that the contest coordinator (me) know that you're a member when processing your entry.  Rather than me needing to contact the secretary to confirm it with her, it's easier if you include your membership membership as part of your contest entry fees.  This way I will immediately know you're paid up and eligible.  I'll then forward the membership information on to the secretary and your check to our treasurer.

(When you're a volunteer organization with officers spread across the state, it gets tricky sometimes.)

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2014 (REPOST)

The Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2014 invites poets, writers, activists, and dreamers to Washington, DC for four days of poetry, community building, and creative transformation.

Held on March 27-30, 2014, the festival will feature readings, workshops, panel discussions, youth programming, parties, and activism filled with opportunities to speak out for justice, build connection and community, and celebrate the many ways poetry can act as an agent for social change.

If you are interested in writing a piece, I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

If you or anyone you know are interested in attending the festival, registration details are here: