Write Now


Eligibility and registration

The contest is free and open to all UI alumni, friends, faculty, staff, and students. Entrants must submit their entry between 4 p.m. (CST) Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, and 4 p.m. (CST) Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. Once the registration is completed online, a confirmation email will be sent to the entrant.

Contest schedule

The contest begins at 4 p.m. (CST) Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, and runs through 4 p.m. (CST) Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020.

Story assignments

Writers will be assigned a genre, location, and object assignment that must be incorporated into their story. These writing prompts will be posted on this website at about 4 p.m. (CST) Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.

All stories must be 1,000 words or less, created within the competition period, and include the specified genre, location, and object.

Potential genres are action/adventure, comedy, crime caper, drama, fairy tale, fantasy, ghost story, historical fiction, horror, mystery, political satire, romance, romantic comedy, sci-fi, spy, suspense, and thriller. The assigned setting (e.g. Kinnick Stadium) must be the predominant location used in the story. The assigned object must physically appear at some point in the story. For example, if your assigned object is a coffee mug, the actual object must appear in the story rather than a character simply mentioning a coffee mug or the words "coffee mug" appearing as the name of an establishment, in a letter, or on a sign.

Deadline and submission format

  • Deadline: Completed stories must be received by 4 p.m. (CST) Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. All entries not received by the University of Iowa Center for Advancement by that time will be ineligible.
  • How to submit: Stories must be uploaded here or submitted via email to write.now@foriowa.org. The submission details will be announced on foriowa.org/write-now at the start of the contest at 4 p.m. (CST) Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.
  • File format: The story must be uploaded at foriowa.org/write-now as a Word document (.doc), text file (.txt), or in rich text format (.rtf). 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." Entrants will also have the option of submitting their story via email to write.now@foriowa.org.
  • 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, including on the title page. The author's name will be submitted only on the web entry form.
  • Length: The maximum length for each short story is 1,000 words, not including the title page. Entries with more than 1,000 words will be disqualified.

Creative development

All creative development for stories must take place between the contest's entry window, from 4 p.m. (CST) Friday, Jan. 31, 2020 to 4 p.m. (CST) Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. Creative development includes, but is not limited to, writing an original synopsis and short story, from first draft to final draft. No revisions or missing pages will be accepted once the first attempt at an entry has been received by the UICA. Do NOT supplement your entry with any subsequent mailings or forwarding of documents, as such will be grounds for disqualification. All decisions as to compliance with the contest's entry window are within the sole discretion of the UICA; and any such decisions by the UICA are final, conclusive, and binding upon all entrants. The UICA reserves the right to disqualify any entries that are plagiaristic or otherwise unoriginal to the corresponding entrant.

Contest results

The top 10 contest finalists and the winner will be announced on Monday, March 2, 2020, at foriowa.org/write-now. Links to their stories will be posted.

Prize package

The winner of the contest will receive:

  • Publication of writing in the summer 2020 issue of Iowa Magazine
  • $100 gift card from Iowa Hawk Shop
  • Selection of three books published in 2019 by participants in the Iowa Writers Workshop
  • One pen made from wood taken from the University of Iowa Pentacrest
For the full terms and conditions of the contest, click here.