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The University of Iowa Alumni and Friends 100-Word Microstory Contest

The UI Alumni and Friends 100-Word Microstory Contest is officially underway. You have until 4 p.m. (CST) Wednesday, July 20, to compose and submit your 100-word microstory.

Contest Theme

In honor of the University of Iowa’s Stanley Museum of Art’s new home (opening late summer), writers will create a story — in 100 words or less — by selecting one of two provided prompts.

Photos of two paintings from the University of Iowa’s Stanley Museum of Art collection will serve as writing prompts. Contestants should select one painting to create their story. The goal is not to research the story the artist is trying to convey. Rather, what original story are you able to create looking at the elements in the painting?

Prompt A.

Odili Donald Odita's Surrounding

Odita, Odili Donald. Surrounding. 2022, University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art.

Prompt B.

Grant Wood's Plaid Sweater

Wood, Grant. Plaid Sweater. 1931, University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art.

The contest is free and open to UI alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends. One winner will be selected from each category. The five age categories include:

  • Grades 3 & 4
  • Grades 5 & 6
  • Grades 7 & 8
  • Grades 9 – 12
  • Adult

Here are a few other important things to keep in mind before you start typing:

  • Deadline: Completed stories must be received by 4 p.m. (CST) on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. All entries not received by the University of Iowa Center for Advancement by that time will be ineligible.
  • Length: The maximum length for each micro story is 100 words. Entries with more than 100 words will be disqualified.
  • How to submit: Stories must be uploaded here or submitted via email to The submission details will be announced on at the start of the contest at 9 a.m. (CST) on Wednesday, July 6, 2022.
  • File format: The story must be uploaded as a Word Document (.doc or .docx), Text File (.txt), or Rich Text Format (.rtf). Stories submitted in Apple’s Pages format will not be accepted. The name of the file must be the title of the story. For example, if the title of your microstory is “Autumn,” then the name of your file must be “Autumn.doc,” “Autumn.txt,” or “Autumn.rtf.”
  • Font: Submissions must be typed in 12-point Courier, New Courier, or Times New Roman typeface.
  • Anonymity: The author’s name must not appear anywhere in the micro story document. The author’s name will be submitted only on the web entry form.
  • Rules: For the contest rules, click here. If you have questions, email

Win fabulous prizes

A winner in each of the four grade school categories will win an Iowa scribe pack that includes: writing journal, canvas bag, and a $25 gift card. The winner of the adult category will receive a handcrafted wooden pen made from a tree that was located on the University of Iowa campus, and a $25 gift card. In addition, the top entry in each age category will be posted here on the Write Now website.

More information

The contest rules are available here. If you have any questions, email

For more inspiration, read submissions from past UI Writing Contest winners. Also, explore some of the University of Iowa’s writing resources.

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