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

July 6–20, 2022

Mark your calendars for our Alumni and Friends 100—Word Microstory Contest—a free writing competition for a variety of age groups. You don’t have to be an Iowa Writers' Workshop grad—or even remember your spelling bee vocabulary words from last year—to participate.

Here's how it works

The contest begins at 9 a.m. (CDT) on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, and runs through 4 p.m. (CDT) on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. At the start of the contest, we’ll provide you a selection of two writing prompts to create your microstory. The rest is up to your imagination.

Stories must be 100 words or less, created within the competition period, and include one of the two provided prompts. All entrants will receive the same prompts, which will be posted here at 9 a.m. (CDT) on Wednesday, July 6, 2022. We’ll narrow down the entries to five winners (one from each age category), whose microstories will be posted here on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022.

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

Contest prizes

A winner in each of the four grade school categories will receive an Iowa scribe pack that includes a writing journal, canvas bag, and $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—as well as a handful of honorable mentions—will be posted on the Write Now website.

More information

The contest rules will be available on this site on Wednesday, July 6. If you have any questions, email

Deadline and submission format

  • Deadline: Completed stories must be received by 4 p.m. (CDT) 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 microstory is 100 words. Entries with more than 100 words will be disqualified.
  • How to submit: Stories must be uploaded through the contest website or submitted via email to The submission details will be announced on at the start of the contest at 9 a.m. (CDT) 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 microstory document. The author’s name will be submitted only on the web entry form.

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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