William Van Wert Award for Fiction

Prize:  $1,000 

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Eligible: Any previously unpublished short story or novel excerpt of 25 pages or less.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 We also accept submissions which are unpublished translations from other languages into English.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: hiddenriverarts@gmail.com

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.


48 thoughts on “William Van Wert Award for Fiction

  1. 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! 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!

  2. Can you please elaborate on what information you are looking for in the novel outline, over and beyond the synopsis? Thanks.

  3. 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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  6. 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.

  7. Dear HR,
    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.
    Carole Bugge

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  9. 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 hiddenriverarts@gmail.com so that there isn’t such a delay in us being able to get back to you.

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  12. 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
      Founding Director
      Hidden River Arts

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

    • Hi Kathy,

      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.

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  16. Hi there,

    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.

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