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800 West Main Street
Room 2005 Roseman Hall
Whitewater, WI 53190
Phone: (262) 472-3165
Fax: (262) 472-5241

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Date:        Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Address:   UW-Whitewater
                 800 W. Main St.
                 Whitewater, WI 53190

Location:  Check in at University Center

To send your submission online, please scan your submission and send as a PDF to cesevents@uww.edu.

We are happy to announce the High School Creative Writing Festival for the year 2015 and to invite teachers and writing students to attend and participate in the 31st annual festival at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Each year approximately 700 students and teachers participate in the festival. We are pleased to be able to offer teachers and students this day of stimulating exposure to the writing of their peers and the chance to hear their work discussed and evaluated by professional writers in a college setting.

Entry Categories and Rules for Submission

  • A participant may submit in only one (1) category. See category chart below.
  • Participants must mail in ONE registration form and ONE copy of the Identification & Proof of Originality cover sheet (completed and signed), the submission cover page, and the submission (two copies of music or multimedia is required).
  • All manuscripts must be typed, double spaced, stapled, and postmarked before the deadline.
  • All manuscripts must have a typed cover page bearing the author’s typed name, title of the work (poetry may have up to three titles per submission), and name of the school.
  • Multimedia entries must send a description if the submission is not suitable for mailing.
  • Submissions must be postmarked by October 19, 2015.
  • Each school is limited to 25 submissions. There is no limit to the number of students you may bring.
  • Participants should bring at least 20 copies of their manuscripts to take to the session where their work will be evaluated.
  • To ensure the continued quality of the Festival experience, we may have to limit the number of participants.
  • We regret that late or carry-in submissions cannot be considered, except in the genre of multimedia. Multimedia descriptions must be sent in advance.
  • Students should pick up their annotated manuscripts at the end of the workshop session time to which they were assigned.


Festival Schedule

8:00 - 9:00 am Check-In, Hamilton Room (in the University Center)
9:00 - 9:50 am Convocation, Hamilton Center
10:00 - 10:50 am Workshops
11:00 - 11:50 am Workshops
12:00 - 12:50 pm Lunch
1:00 - 1:50 pm Workshops
2:00 - 2:50 pm Workshops
3:00 - 3:50 pm Workshops
4:00 - 4:50 pm Workshops
5:00 - 5:45 pm Awards Ceremony, Hamilton Room


Keynote Speaker: Maggie Messitt

An independent narrative and immersion journalist, Maggie Messitt has spent the last decade reporting from inside underserved communities in southern Africa and middle America. Typically focused on complex issues through the lens of every day life, her work is deeply invested in rural regions, social justice, and environmental sustainability. Author of The Rainy Season, Messitt lived in northeastern South Africa for 8 years during which time she was a long-form reporter, newspaper editor, and founding director of a writing school. Since returning to the US, her essays and reportage have been published in Creative Nonfiction, Essay Daily, Memoir Journal, Mother Jones, River Teeth, and the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance Magazine, among others. A PhD candidate at Ohio University and a 2015 Scholar-in-Residence at Bowers Writers House, Messitt is currently hard at work on her next book, a hybrid of memoir and investigation, the story of her aunt, an artist, missing since 2009. When she's not writing, she spends her time exploring the Rust Belt and kayaking the Ohio River. To learn more, visit www.maggiemessitt.com.


For the Students

  • Workshops are designed for students in grades 9-12
  • Students' work will be discussed in the sessions
  • Workshops are limited, and student writers will be assigned in advance to the workshop in which their work is critiqued
  • Non-submitting participants may attend any session of their choice
  • Each submission will be carefully read and considered
  • A professional writer will make written comments on the original manuscript
  • Because of the great number of entries in some categories such as poetry, our faculty cannot always discuss every work submitted
  • At check-in, participants will receive a copy of the schedule designating the workshop assigned and its location
  • Lunch for the participants will be on their own
  • Deadline October 19, 2015


For the Teachers

UW-Whitewater staff members and visiting writers will coordinate special teachers’ writing workshops to be held concurrently with the students’ workshops. A session on the teaching of creative writing will be conducted and a workshop for teachers will be offered if there is sufficient interest. Teachers who want to submit their own work for consideration in a Teachers’ Writing Workshop should submit their work by October 19, 2015. Lunch for the teachers will be included in the fee.


Prizes & Refunds

Prize money has amounted to approximately $700 in previous Creative Writing Festivals. It is anticipated that this year’s Festival will award a comparable amount. Awarding of prizes will depend on the number and quality of submissions per genre. We regret that it will not be possible to give refunds to those students who are unable to attend. Teachers may receive refunds, less a $5 handling fee, if notification is received before November 6, 2015.



$23.00     Students with Submission and attendance fee

$18.00     Attendance fee (students not submitting a manuscript)

$27.00     Teacher Fee

Students who do not wish to submit a manuscript for evaluation in a workshop are still welcome to attend the Festival. These students are encouraged to participate in discussions of the work being considered in the various workshops. Students may not submit a manuscript for evaluation if they do not attend the Festival. Please submit one check from the school or adviser to cover all students attending. A catered luncheon is included in the teacher's fee. Students will be "on their own" for lunch. Student luncheon options, both on and off campus, will be included in the packet received at check-in.


Entry Category & Limitations

  • Children's Literature - Maximum: 10 pages
    • Works written and appropriate for children ranging from toddler to roughly age 10. No topic restrictions other than appropriateness. Work may also include illustrations.
  • Drama or Screenplay - Maximum: 15 pages
    • A work (fiction or non-fiction) written in a fashion that can be performed; i.e., primarily comprising dialogue and some stage/screen direction and exposition.
  • Essay - Maximum: 5 Pages
    • Non-fiction, non-poetical short works. Genres generally include, but are not limited to: Personal Narrative (tells a story), Descriptive (paints a picture in words), Expository (factual explanation or definition of a specific topic), and Persuasive (attempts to persuade reader to a specific point of view).
  • Humor - Maximum: 10 pages
    • Can be in virtually any format (fiction, non-fiction, short drama, essay, etc.) as long as its primary aim is to provide humor and/or humorous entertainment.
  • Multimedia - No limitations
    • A creative work that employs more than one medium and/or genre, such as (but not limited to) a work combining painting and poetry, a poem on a sculpture, an audio presentation of a written work, and also stand-alone media like short films and performance art.
  • Poetry - Maximum: 3 poems
    • A piece of writing that employs some combination of lyrical, metrical, rhythmic, illusory, or imaginative power, frequently employing vivid or suggestive language/imagery or literary devices like similes and metaphors.
  • Prose Poem/Flash Fiction - Maximum: 3 pieces
    • A prose poem is a non-poetical piece that still embodies certain poetic qualities such as prominent rhythms, imagery, compactness, and intensity, though without necessarily rhyming or following a set metrical pattern. Flash fiction is an extremely brief (generally no more than a few hundred words) piece of prose fiction.
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy/Fan Fiction - Maximum: 10 pages
    • SciFi (science fiction) is prose fiction based on imagined future technological and/or scientific advances, frequently employing significant social or environmental changes, space travel, time travel, and/or alien life forms. Fantasy, also prose fiction, employs magical or supernatural qualities of the characters, plot, setting, or theme. While fantasy can employ any time setting, it is frequently set in worlds resembling ancient or medieval Earth. Fan Fiction, a new but growing genre, is a work of fiction set in a pre-existing world created by another author. For example, popular fan fiction works use the characters from a TV/movie series like Star Trek or Harry Potter, but use those characters in new ways or takes them on new adventures that are imagined by the fan fiction author.
  • Short Fiction - Maximum: 10 pages
    • Prose writing that presents imaginary people and events.
  • Song Lyrics - Send taped music or CD & hard copy of lyrics
    • Words set to music, often resembling a poem that can be sung.
  • Tales of Terror & Mystery - Maximum: 10 pages
    • Like fantasy fiction, tales of terror often incorporate supernatural beings, events, and settings, but differs in that its primary intent is to induce horror or terror. Tales of terror need not employ supernatural elements, though in a non-supernatural setting, the genre still creates an aura of eeriness or fright. Tales of mystery can employ many of the same elements as tales of terror, but its impact is intrigue rather than terror, or it offers an outré tale, or it can simply be a piece of crime fiction like a murder mystery.


Identification & Proof of Originality

Each applicant submitting work must have the Identification & Proof of Originality Form attached, and completely filled in, as a cover sheet to each copy of their work. It is available in the Creative Writing Brochure.

This sheet identifies the student, the school, the title and category of the entry. Each student must fill in the blanks and sign the Statement of Responsibility for each entry to be official. (Please make additional copies as needed.)


Past Results