Guidelines (Please read FULLY):
The William Van Wert Memorial Fiction Award
NOTE: Submissions are currently closed. Please be sure to follow this blog for all updates to this award. Traditionally, the submission deadline is June 30. We will open the Submittable site for submissions only if we are able to catch up on delayed decisions and announcements of previous submitters.
Eligible: Any previously unpublished short story or novel excerpt of 25 pages or less.
All novel excerpts must include a synopsis and outline of the whole novel, and an explanation of where the submitted portion fits into the overall structure of the work. Submissions of excerpts without a synopsis and outline will be disqualified.
A cover page should accompany the manuscript which includes the author’s name, address, telephone number, a brief bio, email address and manuscript title.
All manuscripts must be accompanied by a $17.00 entry fee, paid through Submittable.
Multiple submissions are permitted; but each must be sent separately and include a separate entry fee.
Simultaneous submissions are permitted. We ask only that you notify us asap and withdraw your submission should it be chosen for publication elsewhere.
We welcome submissions from writers in English anywhere in the world. We also accept submissions which are unpublished translations from other languages into English. But these MUST be submitted by the author, with the translator’s name and contact information included. This is NOT a translation award, it is a literary award. Such foreign language submissions should also include the publication record of the original language version.
All entries will be judged by the editors and staff of Hidden River Arts. All decisions of the Hidden River staff is final.
Contest results will be announced on this blog, so be sure to follow us here to receive notifications.
Please use this link to reach Submittable.
When submitting through Submittable, please be aware that the program allows only ONE manuscript upload; it will be necessary that you create a file that includes all required materials to upload into one document.
If you have questions, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be sure to BOOKMARK this site for all announcements of semi-finalists, finalists and winners of this competition, and for other announcements of our programs and events.
Are long one-act plays, those plays that do not play with an intermission that run between 90 minutes to 110 minutes, considered “full-length’ plays in this contest? My latest play is a long one-act. Larry Ukolowicz
Yes, absolutely. Full-length refers
More to the length than the number
Best of luck with your submission!
Is the winning script published?
The winner receives $1000 and a reading
Of the play in Philadelphia.
Do you have any genre restrictions for novel excerpts?
We are looking for high-quality fiction, and lean toward
literary fiction, but will read genre
fiction — no YA or erotica, please —
as long as it is excellent literature.
For the fiction award, are the synopsis and outline part of the 25 page word count or separate?
They are separate.
I cannot find anything on your site to click on for submissions. Could someone please direct me. Thanks!
Hi, is this competition open globally? I am a Japanese resident, who writes in English.
Yes, absolutely! We are eager to reach our global writing community, and have had submissions in previous years from all over the world, including Japan, Europe, India, Australia — so we would welcome your submission.
Best of luck!
I can’t find a button to click on to submit my work. Can anybody help me with the submission process?
The Submittable link is right there on the guidelines page. If you have further problems, please do not post here, since we don’t have a chance to respond daily. You can email questions to email@example.com
Thanks, and good luck!
Is it okay to make the application and bio part of the cover letter?
Yes. It all needs to be uploaded as one document, anyway. Good luck!
Can you please elaborate on what information you are looking for in the novel outline, over and beyond the synopsis? Thanks.
The synopsis is where you would provide the story-line, and the outline is where you would provide the plot/structure of that story.
Where can one find the results for the 2012 contest?
We’ve taken down the semi and finalist list, but will be posting interviews with the Fiction and Drama winners sometime today or tomorrow.
How long should the outline be is 8,000 words all right?
Is it all right to self publish it before March 2014? That’s quite a ways off.
Is a few hundred words enough for the synopsis?
The outline doesn’t have to be that detailed. The synopsis can be brief – about a paragraph or two – enough to reveal the storyline of your novel. The outline needs to reveal the structure and plotting of the novel. Both can be simply done, and don’t have to be elaborate at all.
As for self-publishing, our announcement of the winners will not be made until early 2014. If you are planning to publish, it would not be a good idea to submit. We allow (and encourage) multiple submissions of all work, but do request that you withdraw your work if it has been accepted for publication before our announcement. The same would be true of self-publishing.
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Is this a post for 2013 that had the dates changed for the 2014 contest? These comments are all a year old. Just want to be sure the 2014 contest actually exists.
Yes, Benjamin – we are still going strong! This is our 2014 cycle, which deadlines June 30, 2014.
In the case of a musical play submission, would a demo of 5 songs be acceptable, or does it have to be the whole score? There is a complete piano/vocal score.
We’ve been receiving whole scores from other submitters; so I would suggest that, if that is possible for you, you include the complete score. If you have other questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have a detailed chapter breakdown of my novel. Would this be sufficient for the outline?
What we would prefer: A synopsis of the novel – a page or two would suffice. A 1-2 page outline. Best of luck!
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When writing the synopsis, do I need to write the full story-line of the book, or something you might find on the back cover of a published book? AKA do I need to reveal the ending or not?
The abbreviated description on the back of a book would not be a synopsis. The synopsis would be more complete – so as to give the reader the complete arc of the story-line. If this is a novel, and you are submitting an excerpt from the book for the competition, the synopsis and a bit of “lead-in” to the story would be essential so that we can fully appreciate the material. If you have any additional questions, please email us at email@example.com so that there isn’t such a delay in us being able to get back to you.
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I have a play that was produced non-professionally, at a community theater. Would it be eligible?
I would need more information about the production, and will email you privately so that we can discuss. ~DLS
Recently submitted one of my plays and was turned down due to age. It seems that this theatre will only look at playwrights who are in their twenties and thirties. I was shocked! Is this common in todays world of theater?. Is this the reason you ask for birth dates?
Dear Leroy —
I am SO sorry you had such an awful experience! The reason We ask is just the opposite, actually….and I believe that we explain this in our guidelines. Hidden River’s mission is to “serve the unserved artist” — and far too often that means that older artists are elbowed aside simply because they are NOT 20. When we ask for birthrates, it is so that we can be sure that we are succeeding in reaching out to a diverse group of artists — all ages, all races, all demographics in other words. So, please consider submitting to us. I can assure you that we will treasure your work, and treat it with the respect everyone’s work deserves!
Debra Leigh Scott
Hidden River Arts
We are submitting a musical, and there are three of us on the writing team. We propose to submit three 100-word biographies. Will that meet contest requirements?
Yes, I think a bio for each of your collaborators is fine. And 100 words each is fine. Best of luck with your submission. I look forward to reading and hearing your work!
Thank you for your reply. I totally understand. I have three plays ready for submission. After I complete the fact find how many can I send for consideration. All are military based. One is to be worked on at the Actors Studio in NYC. The other three need to be submitted. Do the plays have to be completed script wise. I am still making subtle changes on all three. Please let me know. Thanks!
Who are the finalists and winners from last year’s WVW contest? I understood they were supposed to be posted on this blog January 2019.
We were a bit slow in announcing because I have had pneumonia since mid-December, and are work here at Hidden River backed up a bit.
I’m back at the desk and working to catch everything up. I provide the link below for full information. The winner of our 2018 William Van Wert Award is Christopher Harris of Bexleyheath, Kent, in the UK for his short story “The Pier”. Semi-finalists and Finalists are listed at the link below. Thanks so much for sharing your work with us.
Thank you for getting back to me and for the many opportunities you give to us writers.
I hope you feel better soon!
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When can we expected contest announcements for the William Van Wert Award this year? Is there a typical timeline of what happens after the deadline passes?
Dear Mr. Mambo, We’ve run late with our announcement of the previous submissions but have now compiled the semi-finalists and finalists. If you follow us here, you’ll receive the announcement of the decisions and the named winner, which we hope to have completed by the end of this week, or over the weekend. Thanks so much for your patience.