This year, Oregon writers of all ages have the opportunity to have their work recognized. On June 1, Central Oregon Writers Guild (COWG) began accepting entries for its annual Harvest Writing Contest. With the contest heading into its ninth year, the guild decided to make some changes and is inviting writers 18 years and younger to submit their work and compete alongside their older peers.
Traditionally, the Harvest Writing Contest offered fiction, nonfiction, and poetry contest categories to adult writers living in the Central Oregon area. COWG President Ruth Colter says, "The writing contest was implemented when the guild was a young organization. The intent was then, and still is to encourage writers to share their work as well as offer an opportunity for writers to get feedback from judges."
Last year the contest began accepting submissions from writers throughout Oregon. This year, it has expanded even further with the addition of three youth categories and will be accepting fiction, nonfiction, and poetry submissions from contestants less than 18 years of age.
"We want to let young writers know that Central Oregon Writers Guild is here to encourage and support them in developing their writing skills," says Colter. COGW also recently partnered with Barnes and Noble and is hosting free writing workshops for local teens.
Formerly referred to as the Redmond Writers, COWG was officially formed in 2002 by a small group of women writers and president and founder Cindy Prescher. The organization traditionally hosted a Harvest Evening Reading each fall where writers read their best work, but when the concept for a writing contest was suggested, it opened up the opportunity for a more formal event.
In 2008, COWG member Lindy Jacobs pitched the idea for the Harvest Writing Contest and it was well received and encouraged by Prescher. "The contest was launched to recognize excellent writing and encourage emerging writers in our area," says Jacobs.
Feedback from the handpicked group of judges is valuable to all writers submitting their work. Each judge is chosen for his or her skill set in the field of writing and the panel is made up of seasoned editors, publishers, writers, and writing coaches.
Last year the Harvest Writing Contest received more than 50 entries and is expected to potentially double in numbers. Entries will be accepted until Aug. 16. All submissions must be original, previously unpublished works under 1,200 words in length. The full list of guidelines can be found online at centraloregonwritersguild.com.
First-place winners of the adult and youth categories in all three genres will win $100 cash prizes. First, second, and third-place entries will be published in the Central Oregon Writers Guild 2016 Harvest Writing Contest Winners Collection, and will be given a complimentary copy of the annually published book. This prestigious collection is available in both print and digital format and can be found at COWG meetings, workshops and on Amazon.
Judging ends on Sept. 16 and contest winners of the Harvest Writing Contest will be notified in early October. The Winners Showcase event will be held on Oct. 22 at the Hampton Inn and Suites, where writers placing first and second will read their winning entries, and a silent auction featuring items donated by local merchants and guild supporters will be held. Winning authors have the opportunity to be featured in author presentations and readings that take place in Central Oregon bookstores and other area venues.
Winners Showcase Event
Hampton Inn and Suites Bend,
730 SW Columbia St., Bend
Central Oregon Writers Guild
Meetings held monthly, Third Thursday, 6:30pm
1010 NE Purcell Blvd., Bend
Free and open to the public
Teen Writing Workshops
July 17, 11am
Barnes and Noble
2690 NE Hwy 20, Bend