Luther College Undergraduate Writing Contest


Any student who will be enrolled as an undergraduate during the fall semester of 2016 at an accredited college or university is eligible to enter the Luther College Writers Festival Undergraduate Contest.

Contest Judges

Charlie LangtonPoetry: Charlie Langton
Charlie Langton’s book of poems, Keep Silence, But Speak Out, was chosen as the second selection in the Loess Hills Poetry Series. His work has appeared in the Antioch Review, the Iowa Review, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, and other magazines, and his poems have been included in two anthologies, Voices on the Landscape and River of Earth and Sky. He earned his MFA degree from the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa and lives in Decorah, Iowa.

James McKeanNonfiction: James McKean
James McKean has published three books of poems—Headlong (University of Utah Press), Tree of Heaven (University of Iowa Press), which won an Iowa Poetry Prize, and We Are the Bus (Texas Review Press), which won the 2011 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize—and a book of essays, Home Stand: Growing Up in Sports (Michigan State University Press). His essays have appeared in journals such as The Gettysburg Review, The Iowa Review, and The Southern Review; and have been reprinted in an edition of Best American Sports Writing and the Pushcart Prize anthology. He teaches for the Queens University low residency M.F.A. program in Charlotte, NC, the Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA, and on occasion, for the University of Iowa.

Kali VanBaaleFiction: Kali VanBaale
Kali VanBaale is the author of the novels The Good Divide and The Space Between. She is the recipient of an American Book Award, the Independent Publisher’s silver medal for fiction, the Fred Bonnie Memorial First Novel Award, and an Iowa Arts Council major artist grant. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Numéro Cinq, The Milo Review, Northwind Literary, Poets&Writers, The Writer and several anthologies. Kali holds an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a faculty member of the Lindenwood University MFA Creative Writing Program. She lives outside Des Moines with her family.

General Contest Rules

Submitted entries must be unpublished. Manuscripts should be typed in a “plain” 12 point font (i.e. Times, Arial). Prose must be double spaced. Poetry must be single spaced. Submit one copy of your manuscript that includes your name, address, telephone number, email address, the title of the piece, and the genre to which you are submitting (fiction, nonfiction, poetry). For fiction and nonfiction, the maximum word count for an entry is 4,000 words. For poetry, students may submit up to three poems (or eight pages). Writers may enter work in multiple genres, but may enter only once in each genre.

We do not acknowledge receipt of submissions. And, while we take the greatest care in handling your submissions, we assume no responsibility for lost or reconfigured manuscripts.

Contest winners will be announced and recognized at the Luther College Writers Festival at Luther College on September 23-24, 2016. Contest prizes totaling over $500 will be given to winners at the festival. Students may register for the festival for a discounted price.

Contest results will be announced on the festival’s website within the following week. Email notification will be sent to contest entrants if a working email address is included. Contest results will only be announced online and by email.

Deadline for submission is Friday, September 9, 2016. Any entry sent after that date will not be opened. Failure to follow any of the above guidelines could result in disqualification.

Send submissions and/or email inquiries to Keith Lesmeister at [email protected].