Write Now

The UI Alumni and Friends Flash Writing Contest

Tennessee Williams' second major play was A Streetcar Named Desire. Margaret Walker's sophomore book, Jubilee, became a national bestseller. Marilynne Robinson's second novel was Gilead, which won a Pulitzer Prize.

All this to say, we have a long tradition of Iowa writers following up one great story with another.

This winter, we invite you to take part in our second annual UI Alumni and Friends Flash Writing Contest—a free, online, Iowa-themed short story competition. You don't have be an Iowa Writers' Workshop grad—or even remember the lessons from your freshman rhetoric class—to take part. Just set aside some time the weekend of Jan. 31–Feb. 2, 2020; read the writing prompts; and submit a short story of 1,000 words or less before the deadline.

Here's how it works

The contest opens at 4 p.m. (CST) Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, and ends 48 hours later, at 4 p.m. (CST) Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. At the start of the contest, we'll provide you with a genre, UI-related setting, and specific object to incorporate into your story. The rest is left up to your imagination. Submissions must be 1,000 words or less and composed in their entirety during the contest weekend. The writing prompts will be posted here at 4 p.m. (CST) Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.

We'll narrow down the entries to 10 finalists, whose stories will be posted here on Monday, March 2, 2020. From those finalists, a panel of esteemed UI judges will select the winning story, which will also be announced March 2.

The competition is open to UI alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends.

Save the date

To participate, visit this page after 4 p.m. (CST) Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, to learn the writing prompts that must be incorporated into your story. After you've written your story, return here and follow the instructions on how to upload it by 4 p.m. (CST) Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020.

Want a reminder when the contest begins? Click below to add the event to your calendar.

Win fabulous prizes

The winning story will be published in the summer 2020 issue of Iowa Magazine, and its author will receive a $100 gift card from Iowa Hawk Shop, a selection of three books published in 2019 by participants in the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and a pen handcrafted from the wood of a Pentacrest tree.

More information

For the contest rules, click here. For further questions, email write.now@foriowa.org.

2019 Finalists and Winning Story

Winning Story


(listed alphabetically by last name)