Welcome to Northern Colorado Writers (NCW). The purpose of NCW is to encourage and support writers of all levels and genres. Whether you are just starting out or are well established in your writing career, NCW can help you on your writing journey.
NCW hosts three writing contests each year in Personal Essay, Short Fiction and Poetry. Winners receive prize money and their winning entries get published in the annual Pooled Ink Anthology.
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NOW OPEN: Personal Essay/Creative NonfictionDEADLINE: June 30, 2013The personal essay can be in any form or style, and should be evocative, thought-provoking, and sincere--and if it's humorous too, even better. See below for word count and style guidelines. Nonfiction writer and novelist David Shields is our prolific final judge in this category.
COMING SOON: PoetrySUBMISSIONS ACCEPTED: July 1-September 30, 2013Poems can be in any style, up to 250 lines. Submit up to three poems per entry fee in this category. The final judge for poetry is Colorado Poet Laureate David Mason.
CLOSED: Short Fiction DEADLINE: March 31, 2013The short story can be in any genre or style and should have broad apeal. See below for word count and style guidelines. The final judge for this year's short fiction competition is novelist and short story writer Alyson Hagy. Originally from Virginia, Ms. Hagy now lives in Laramie and teaches at the University of Wyoming.
2013 Short Fiction Winners1st: “Man Camp” by Claire Boyles–Greeley, CO2nd: “Simple Fractions” by Margarite Landry–Southborough, MA3rd: “What the Tree Saw” by Jennifer Shepard–Eden Prairie, MNHM: “Leaving Perdition” by Rebekah Shardy–Colorado Springs, COHM: “Evacuation” by Sonya Whitesell–Fort Collins, COHM: “Spirit of the Pike” by Jim Kroepfl–Grand Lake, COHM: “Tall Trees” by Nathan Ferguson–Denver, CO
Open Submissions You do not need to be a member of NCW or in Colorado to enter the contests.
PrizesEach category will be awarded the following: 1st place: $1,000 2nd place: $250 3rd place: $100 Winners, Honorable Mentions, and Editor's Picks will be published in the annual winners' anthology, Pooled Ink: Celebrating the 2013 NCW Contest Winners (due out December 10, 2013) and receive 1 free copy. The judges' decisions are final.
Editor's PicksThe editor may pick entries from all three categories that did not place in the top 3 or receive honorable mention according to the final judges for additional inclusion in the 2013 anthology, upon permission of the authors of such entries. Editor's picks will be contacted in October and will also receive a free copy of the anthology.
NotificationsNotification of winners will be via an e-mail to all contestants and this website.
Entry FeesThe entry fee for all contests is $20 per entry. Electronic submissions only. (Note: If you do not have a credit card or prefer to mail in your payment, please send an email to Jennifer Top,
. There is no limit to the number of entries you may submit. You may submit up to 3 poems per entry fee in the Poetry category.
CopyrightsAll submissions must be your own original work. Simultaneous submissions are okay, but please let us know if your submission is accepted elsewhere, as this may affect our ability to publish it should it be selected as a winner. Submissions can be previously published, however, you must own the rights to republish in the event that your submission wins. All winning entries and honorable mentions will be published in the annual anthology.FormatAll entries must be in a 12-point standard serif font (Times New Roman or similar). Short stories and essays should be double spaced with pages numbered; poetry format is open. All entries should be sent in Microsoft Word-compatible format. Include your contact information and the title of your piece in body of email. Include only the title on the submission itself, not your name. Word LimitsShort stories: 5,000 wordsPersonal essays: 5,000 words Poems*: 250 lines each *Entrants may submit up to 3 poems per entry fee in that category.Pooled Ink Purchase the previous years' anthologies, Pooled Ink: Celebrating the 2012 NCW Contest Winners and Pooled Ink: Celebrating the 2011 NCW Contest Winners, online at Amazon.com.
Email your entry:1. Pay online.
2. Email your entry (attachment) to the Contest Coordinator at
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2012 Short Fiction WinnersJudge: Antonya Nelson 1st Place: "Amalfi" by Karen Uhlmann ~ Chicago, IL2nd Place: "Love and Happiness" by Virginia Pye ~ Richmond, VA3rd Place: "A Thanksgiving Memory" by Tammi Schissler ~ Austin, TXHonorable Mention: "Honeymoon" by Karen Uhlmann ~ Chicago, IL
2012 Personal Essay/Creative Nonfiction WinnersJudge: Kim Stafford1st Place: "Prisoners of War" by Leila Levinson ~ Austin, TX2nd Place: "The Quietest" by Maria Wheeler3rd Place: "Zoe" by Judson Vail ~ Austin, TXHonorable Mention: "Coconuts" by Brenda Watterson ~ Algonquin, ILHonorable Mention: "The N: Word: A Prayer of Thanksgiving" by Dawn Downey ~ Kansas City, MOHonorable Mention: "Sunday at Aunt Seri's" by Katherine Fuoco Fairchild ~ Pittsboro, NC
2012 Poetry WinnersJudges: Michael Bussmann and Matthew Sage 1st Place: "Crooked Heart Ranch" by Bob Brown ~ Fort Collins, CO2nd Place: "In the Diner" by Sandra McGarry ~ Fort Collins, CO3rd Place: "Oh, Bury Me, Please, on the Lone Prairie" by Janet Kamnikar ~ Fort Collins, COHM: "Opening Scene" by Diana Curran ~ Parker, COHM: "Star Fielder" by Janet Kamnikar ~ Fort Collins, CO
2011 Short Fiction WinnersJudged by Pam Houston1st: "Clarice Johnson" by Michelle Auerbach - Boulder, CO2nd: "Bonecrusher" by Sonya Whitesell - Fort Collins, CO3rd: "Leaving Tomorrow" by Tammi Schissler - Austin, TXHM: "Tulips" by Michelle Auerbach - Boulder, COHM: "In the Company of Doc Campilletti" by Robert Robeson - Lincoln, NE
2011 Personal Essay/Creative Nonfiction Winners Judged by John Calderazzo1st: "Mahlapane's Story" by Jerry Eckert - Vail, AZ2nd: "Naamu" by Lynn Carlson - Cheyenne, WY3rd: "Samaritans" by Alice Ollstein - Washington, DCHM: "What Egypt Has" by Salma Warshanna - Ellicott City, MDHM: "Second Chances" by Kathleen Donnelly - Johnstown, COHM: "Take No Chances" by Leonard Ewy - Fort Collins, COHM: "In Praise of Water" by Hudson Spivey - Missoula, MT
2011 Poetry Contest WinnersJudged by Chris Ransick 1st Place: "Diamondback" by Sally Clark - Fredericksburg, Texas2nd Place: "Throwing Stones" by Sandra McGarry - Fort Collins, Colorado3rd Place: "Poet Disappears in Japan" by Dixie J-Elder - Longmont, ColoradoHM: "The Team" by Janet Kamnikar - Fort Collins, ColoradoHM: "Hollow Heart" by Patricia Frolander - Sundance, WyomingHM: "Lost Cowboy" by W. A. Ewing - Loveland, ColoradoHM: "FAQ (On the Poet's Home Page)" by W. A. Ewing - Loveland, Colorado