An image of the logo for Write Now: The University of Iowa's Writing Contests.

Ready, set, write!

The UI Alumni and Friends Flash Writing Contest is officially underway. You have until 4 p.m. (CST) Sunday, January 17, 2021, to compose and submit your short story.

Writing prompts

You must select one of the prompts below—which includes a character, object, and genre—to incorporate into your story.

Prompt A

Character - Musician
Object - Dove
Genre - Open (writer's choice)

Prompt B

Character - Arborist
Object - Lighthouse
Genre - Open (writer's choice)

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) Sunday, January 17, 2021. All entries not received by the University of Iowa Center for Advancement by that time will be ineligible.
  • Length: The maximum length for each short story is 1,000 words. Entries with more than 1,000 words will be disqualified.
  • How to submit: Stories must be uploaded through the contest website or submitted via email to
  • File format: The story must be uploaded as a Word Document (.doc), 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 short story 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 short story document. The author's name will be submitted only on the web entry form.
  • Rules: Read the contest rules. If you have questions, email

Win fabulous prizes

Winners in each of the grade categories will receive an Iowa-themed writing prize pack and a $20 Amazon gift card. The winner of the adult category will receive an Iowa-themed writing prize pack, one book of their choice written by an author from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and a handcrafted wooden pen made from a tree that was located on the University of Iowa campus. In addition, the top entry in each age category will be posted here on the Write Now website.

More information

If you have any questions, email

We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies in accordance with our Privacy Statement unless you have disabled them in your browser.