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West Virginia Fiction Competition

Shepherd University’s Appalachian Heritage Literary Project announces the West Virginia Fiction Competition, a literary competition to encourage writers and storytellers, whose talent and ability in creative writing is distinctive and promising, and to foster an appreciation of Appalachian culture and values represented in the diverse writing of the region. Submissions are encouraged from any resident of West Virginia or student in West Virginia who meets the criteria below. Click here to view a list of past Fiction Competition winners.

Who can submit? Any resident of West Virginia or student attending school in West Virginia.

What are the limitations upon submissions? Any original, unpublished work of fiction, 5,000 word maximum, one submission only. The submission may not have received any other award, recognition, or special honor.

What is the deadline for submissions? May 1, 2018

Where should submissions be mailed?
West Virginia Fiction Competition
Department of English
Shepherd University
P.O. Box 5000
Shepherdstown, WV 25443-5000

Electronic submissions should be sent to

What should accompany submissions? The application form below.

What prize will be awarded? $500.00 First Prize Award and possible publication, $100 each for Second Place, Third Place, and Judges’ Choice Awards.

Who will select the fiction contest winner? A panel of writers, editors, and creative writing instructors will choose finalists, and the 2018 Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence (AHWIR) Karen Spears Zacharias will select winners from these finalists. The Fiction Prizes are funded by the West Virginia Center for the Book and will be presented by Zacharias on the night of Thursday, September 27, 2018, at Shepherd University. Zacharias will also provide reviews of each finalist story. The WV Fiction Competition is part of the 2018 AHWIR Project and Zacharias’s residency: “Who Are My People? The Search for Kinship and the Stories of Karen Spears Zacharias.”  Zacharias’s novel Mother of Rain, a Weatherford Award winner, is the One Book, One West Virginia state common read. Fiction Competition winners will dine with Zacharias on the evening of the awards. All finalist stories will be considered for the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Karen Spears Zacharias Volume XI. The WV Fiction Competition is supported by the West Virginia Center for The Book.

When will the winners be notified? August 1, 2018

West Virginia Fiction Competition Application


Title of Submission:_____________________________________________


E-mail:______________________ Phone:_____________________

Brief Biography (limit 100 words):______________________________