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The Golden Quill Writing Contest 2020

We Have Winners!




 Genre/Award  Author  Title 
 Fiction First Place   Zaslow Crane  Shakespeare...?
 Fiction Second Place  James Gaberel  The Long and Short of It
 Creative Nonfiction First Place  Debra Davis Hinkle  A Split-Second Revelation
 Creative Nonfiction Second Place  Carolyn Chilton Casas  A Peruvian Tale
 Memoir First Place  Elizabeth Regan  The Last Lie
 Memoir Second Place  Judy Yager  Reflections In Glass
 Poetry First Place  George Asdel  For Rent
 Poetry Second Place  Carolyn Chilton Casas  Unexpected Litter

SLO Nightwriters 30th Golden Quill Writing Contest

Call For Entries:   Entries accepted beginning May 1, 2020

Deadline:  All entries and payment must be received by 11:59 p.m., August 1, 2020

Theme: The theme of the 2020 Contest is THE UNEXPECTED.  All entries must depict this theme, originally interpreted.  It is not necessary to include the word.


 Fiction  Up to 1,000 words
 Creative Nonfiction  Up to 1,000 words
 Memoir  Up to 1,000 words
 Poetry  Up to 40 lines

Fiction must comprise a complete story within the word limit. 

Creative Nonfiction is a factually accurate narrative.  It is written using the techniques of storytelling to relate factual events.  For the purposes of this contest, it does not include the Memoir category.

Memoir is a first person account of memories or events that took place in that person's life. The events, persons and dialogs described in the work are understood to be factual. 

Poetry  may use any creative spacing and formatting desired.

Contestant Eligibility: The contest is open to all, including non-members, except for contest administrators and judges.  

Entry Eligibility:  Entries must be the original unpublished works of the authors and not previously accepted for publication.  Entries that have previously won any contest prize are not eligible.  Non-published pieces written online that are not for sale, e.g. a blog site, are eligible.  

Prizes:  First and second place winners will receive cash prizes.  The amount of the prizes will depend on the number of entries received.   

Submission, Fees and Payments:

Entries may be submitted by email or mail.  Email submission should be sent to:

Entries submitted by mail should be sent to:

   Golden Quill Writing Contest
   PO Box 2986
   Paso Robles, CA 93447

Applicants may enter more than one category and submit more than one entry in any category.  A single entry may NOT be entered in more than one category.  An entry fee must be paid for each entry.  Payment of contest entry fees confirms you have read, understand and agree to the terms of all contest rules.

Entry Fee:            $10.00 per entry

Payment:  Payments may be made online (credit card needed) or by check.  To pay online, go to the bottom of this page and click on the payment logo.

If paying by check, mail the check to: 

   Golden Quill Writing Contest
   PO Box 2986
   Paso Robles, CA 93447

Deadline: The contest deadline is August 1, 2020, 11:59 p.m.  All entries must be received prior to midnight on this date to be eligible.  All entries must be paid in full by this date to be eligible.

Judging:  Contest judges will score each entry.  Judging will be blind – the contestant’s name will not be included with the entry.  A standardized scoring will be used by each judge.  The decisions of the judges are final.

Formatting Instructions:

  • All entries must follow this formatting.  Submissions that do not comply with these instructions will be disqualified.
  • Use 12-point size Courier, Times New Roman or Arial type font only.
  • For email submission, PDF format is preferred, but Word .doc or .docx or Apple .pages files are acceptable (all formats will be converted to PDF before sending to the judges).
  • Fiction, Creative Nonfiction and Memoir must be double-spaced with a minimum of 1” margins all around, and include page numbers.
  • Poems may be creatively spaced and formatted; include page numbers if needed.
  • The header of each page of the entry must include the title, entry category and word count only (line count for poetry).  DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME ON THE ENTRY ITSELF.
  • A cover page indicating the author’s name, entry category and entry title should be included with each entry.  Please send the cover page as a separate file or page.

Notification: The first and second place winners in each category will be notified by September 1, 2020.  

Announcements: Winners will be announced at the SLO NightWriters meeting and Awards Ceremony September 8, 2020.  Winners will be given an opportunity to read their entries at the meeting.  

Publication: All rights belong to the authors.  Winning contestants will be announced on the SLO Nightwriters Golden Quill Writers Contest and SLO NightWriters websites.  Winning contestants will have the opportunity to publish their submission in the Wordsmiths newsletter.  

SLO NightWriters Golden Quill Writing Contest

Steve Derks - Contest Director

Janice Konstantinidis - President, SLO NightWriters


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