Guidelines for the 2022 Golden Nib Contest

The 2022 Golden Nib writing contest is officially open. The Golden Nib, started in 2005, is the Virginia Writers Club (VWC) annual writing competition in three categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry, with cash prizes for first, second and third place finishers. The contest is run in two tiers: local Chapter (first tier) and State level (second tier). Each Chapter forwards its first-place winning entries for judging at the (second tier) State VWC level.

Contestants must be a current member of the state organization. Entrants who live within the jurisdiction of a VWC chapter should enter the first tier of the competition through that chapter. VWC members living in an area where no chapter exists can submit their entries to the chapter closest to them. Each chapter submits one representative in each category to the state finals, where first, second, and third place winners in each category are announced at the annual meeting held in November.

All 1st place chapter winning manuscripts submitted to the state finals will be published in the VWC Golden Nib and Teen Nib Journal, unless you request to not have your submission included. 2nd and 3rd place chapter winners may request their manuscripts be considered for the VWC journal through their cover sheet.

Entries will be accepted on any subject the author or poet chooses in the categories of fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

  • Manuscripts must be the original, unpublished work of the entrant, and must not have won a prize at any level in any other competition. The VWC State competition allows entries published in your personal blogs. Works published in blogs other than your own, on social network sites, or in an online publication are ineligible and should not be submitted.
  • Entrants may submit only one entry per category of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
  • Fiction and nonfiction entries must be no longer than 3,500 words, including any notes, bibliographies or other supporting text. Poetry entries must be no longer than 50 lines.
  • Fiction and nonfiction entries should conform to the Chicago Manual of Style.
  • Format:

-   Chapter representatives will provide each entrant with a fillable coversheet. The coversheet must be filled out in its entirety and submitted with each entry. The online chapter link provides space for the coversheet information; no separate coversheet need be submitted.

-   Submissions can be in doc, docx or rtf format.

-   All pages must show contest category, title, word (or line for Poetry) count and page number in the header.

-   If the author s name or any identifying information appears on any page of the manuscript, the entry will be disqualified.

-   Manuscripts must be in 12 point Times New Roman font. Page settings must be 8 ½ by 11-inch with one inch margins.

-   Fiction and nonfiction manuscripts must be double-spaced, with a ragged right margin.

-   Poetry manuscripts must be single-spaced.
  • Submissions not in accord with format and other rules will be disqualified.
  • No paper submissions will be accepted. All manuscripts and coversheets must be electronic.
  • A list of Golden Nib winners in each category will be published on the VWC Web site. All finalists will be published in the 2022 edition of the VWC Golden Nib and Teen Nib Journal. All other rights remain the property of the author.

Each chapter has its own guidelines, deadline and membership requirements for entering the chapter-level contest. All chapters must adhere to the state contest rules. Some chapters require membership in their chapter, some don

  • All entries in the second-tier State VWC contest must be a first-place chapter-level entry and the entrant must be a State VWC member. If the winner at the chapter-level is not a member of the State VWC, a membership application and payment of dues must accompany the entry.
  • Contact your local VWC chapter to find out what the deadline is for chapter contest submissions! Except for VWC unaffiliated members, entries sent by writers directly to VWC for State contest will not be accepted. 
  • Each chapter representative is responsible for forwarding only the 1st place manuscripts and coversheets from the chapter competition (in each of the three categories), written by a member of the VWC or a writer who completes an application to join the VWC and submits a check for annual dues of $30 to accompany the entry. If you are just joining VWC, your first year dues will be $15 and not $30.
  • Submit your entries and cover sheet to Betsy Ashton 


 There are nine VWC chapters and one unaffiliated chapter in the state. Only first-place winners from the chapters will be eligible for the state contest. That means only 30 entries will be forwarded for the State competition -- ten entries total per category (fiction, nonfiction, poetry) -- by the State Deadline of August 31 to Betsy Ashton. Winners of VWC Golden Nib Contest will be announced, and awards presented at the VWC Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony in November. Awards for each category: First Place-$100; Second Place-$50; Third Place-$25.

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