Camps and Conferences

Creative Writing Festival

Registration is now closed for this event. 
Join our email list to be notified of future events.

Join fellow students and faculty for a day of celebration and inspiration at the 39th Annual Creative Writing Festival. The 2023 event will again be hosted at UW-Whitewater, allowing high school students the opportunity to connect with peers and writing professionals in a college setting. Join the tradition and be one of over 500 students that attend annually.

During the festival, participants have the chance to attend workshops, keynote speeches, and competitions. These workshops cover a wide range of topics, including poetry, novels, creative nonfiction, and juvenile fiction. Students can learn new writing techniques, explore different genres, and gain insights from published authors. The festival also provides a space for networking and building connections with fellow writers and professionals in the industry.

Thursday, November 30, 2023 | 9:00 - 3:00 pm

Limited to the first 350 submissions, and 500 festival attendees.

Register Online

Registration is now closed

Registrations accepted online until:

  • with submissions - Monday, October 23, 2023 | Deadline extended to Wednesday, November 1, 2023
  • without submissions - Wedneday, November 22, 2023 

Registration Questions

Advisors are encouraged to register for all participants attending from their school, instead of having each participant register singularly.  Please have the answers prior to registering:

Advisor email, name, address, phone, school, how did you hear about this event, accommodations/comments, number of students attending with submission, number of students attending only, number of teachers attending with submission, number of teachers attending only

Identification & Proof of Originality

Each applicant submitting work will verify proof of originality through online registration system.  The online registration link will be provided to you in your registration confirmation.

For the Students

  • Workshops are designed for students in grades 9-12.
  • Students' work will be discussed in assigned workshops.
  • 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.
  • Each submission will be carefully read and considered.
  • A professional writer will make written comments on the original manuscript.
  • The schedule designating the workshop assigned and meeting link will be available via the link in your registration confirmation, one day before the event.

Note: Because of the great number of entries in some categories such as poetry, our faculty cannot always discuss every work submitted.

For the Teachers

UW-Whitewater staff members and visiting writers will coordinate special teachers' writing workshops to be held concurrently with the students' workshop. Offerings are subject to interest and facilitator availability. Teachers who wish to submit their own work for consideration in a Teachers Writing Workshop should submit their work by the submission deadline.

Credit Card

Your online registration and payment are always safe and secure.  We accept MasterCard and Visa credit card payments in our online registration system.  We will NOT accept credit card payments over the phone.  We will accept checks made out to "UW-Whitewater" and mailed to UW-Whitewater Camps and Conferences, 800 West Main Street, Room 2005 Roseman Hall, Whitewater WI 53190.

Confirmation Emails

Once you register, a confirmation email will be sent to your email account with details on how to submit and upload creative work. Contact if you do not receive this confirmation email.  Please make sure you have a working email address on file with us to be able to receive important announcements and updates about this event.



Erik Larson

Erik Larson is the author of eight books, six of which became New York Times bestsellers. His latest books, The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz and Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, both hit no. 1 on the list soon after launch. His saga of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, The Devil in the White City, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and won an Edgar Award for fact-crime writing; it lingered on various Times bestseller lists for the better part of a decade. Hulu plans to adapt the book for a limited TV series, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese as executive producers. Erik’s In the Garden of Beasts, about how America’s first ambassador to Nazi Germany and his daughter experienced the rising terror of Hitler’s rule, has been optioned by Tom Hanks for development as a feature film.


He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied Russian history, language and culture; he received a masters in journalism from Columbia University. After a brief stint at the Bucks County Courier Times, Erik became a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, and later a contributing writer for Time Magazine. His magazine stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and other publications.


He has taught nonfiction writing at San Francisco State, the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, the University of Oregon, and the Chuckanut Writers Conference in Bellingham, Washington, and has spoken to audiences from coast to coast. A former resident of Seattle, he now lives in Manhattan with his wife, a neonatologist, who is also the author of the nonfiction memoir, Almost Home, which, as Erik puts it, “could make a stone cry.” They have three daughters in far-flung locations and professions. Their beloved dog Molly resides in an urn on a shelf overlooking Central Park, where they like to think she now spends most of her time.


  • A participant may submit in only one category (poetry may have up to three titles per submission). See below.  
  • Participants will submit one file online using the Creative Writing Festival - Submission and Proof of Originality Form.  A link will be available in the confirmation receipt and email once registration is completed.
  • All manuscripts must include the author's name, and title of the piece, be double-spaced, and adhere to file name requirements, and to category page lengths.
  • Submission must be saved as a pdf or mp3 file (not to exceed 25,000 KB) with category code, last name, and first name as the file name.  Codes are found next to the categories below.  Example:  P.Doe.Jane would be the file name for Jane's poetry submission.  
  • Files exceeding 25,000 KB must be posted on a website and a link provided in a pdf for submission.  YouTube can be used.
  • We suggest posting the recording on a website (YouTube or other) and providing a PDF of song lyrics for submission.
  • Drama/Screenplay entries must submit a video of the screenplay. It is suggested to post the recording on a website (Youtube or other)  and provide the screenplay in a pdf for submission.
  • Submissions must be received by Monday, October 23, 2023 | Deadline extended to Wednesday, November 1, 2023. Entries submitted after the deadline will not be considered for review. 
  • Participants can bring hard copies of their submissions for those auditing to read. Ten (10) copies are often sufficient.
  • Submitting students must attend the session they are assigned to.
  • All students will receive written feedback via email from the facilitators after their workshop sessions.
  • At times, a facilitator is unable to attend their assigned session, due to unforeseen circumstances or technical difficulties.  We will do everything possible to find a replacement and prevent needing to cancel a session.
  • UW-Whitewater is required to report any submissions that indicate neglect, abuse, violence towards others, or self-harm.

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.

Maximum: 10 pages; submit recording/videos

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.

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).

Maximum: 5 Pages

Non-fiction, non-poetical short works. Persuasive (attempts to persuade reader to a specific point of view).

Maximum: 5 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.

Maximum: 3 poems (one pdf file for all three)

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.

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.

 Maximum: 5 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.

Maximum: 5 pages

Prose writing that presents imaginary people and events.

Submit recording/videos

Words set to music, often resembling a poem that can be sung.  Submissions must include music.  Post music to website and provide link in song lyric submission.

Maximum: 5 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.

Maximum: Refer above for each category

All creative writing by teachers

Cost Information

$35     Students/Teacher with submission 

$25     Students/Teachers without submissions

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.

Prize money has amounted to approximately $800 in previous Creative Writing Festivals.  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 who are unable to attendAll cancellation requests must be submitted to

We reserve the right to cancel any event due to low enrollment; in this case, all fees paid will be refunded.

For participants who will be receiving a sponsorship to attend this event, please follow these steps to redeem your sponsorship:

  • Register for the event and use the promo code provided by your sponsor during checkout.
  • The sponsorship amount will be deducted from your invoice. Any remaining balance will be the participant's responsibility.
  • If you need to cancel your registration, please note that the sponsorship funds will be returned to the supporting organization.

Please note that any qualifying discounts given by the event will not be applied after you have paid in full. Be sure to use the promo code during checkout to receive your discount. You will be charged if you do not qualify for the requested discount at the start of the event.

If a refund is issued due to overpayment on your account, a processing fee will be assessed.

If you have received an award or scholarship without a promo code or want to use two promo codes, please call Continuing Education Services at 262-472-3165 or email before registering to avoid overpayment fees.

Want to Sponsor a Registrant?
If you would like to sponsor a registrant and cover all or partial fees, you can request a promo code to give to your chosen registrant. Get more information about sponsoring a registrant.

No discounts available for this event.

Additional Information

Check In

Check-in will take place in University Center. 

  • Lunch is not provided.  Please feel free to bring your own or plan to purchase your lunch.
  • Water Bottle (optional)
  • 10 copies of Submission (optional)

By registering for an event, you agree to our Registration Terms and Conditions. UW-Whitewater will hold all registrants responsible for their conduct. Serious misconduct or disruption will lead to immediate dismissal from event. Registrants dismissed from the event will not receive a refund. Please review the Terms and Conditions for more details.

Be aware that we recommend that all portable electronic devices be left at home, but ultimately it is your decision. We know that parents and children value the ability to be able to call each other at a moment's notice. For that reason, we do not prohibit cell phones at camp, but ask that cell phone use does not interfere with the event and other participants. Parents are responsible for setting clear guidelines for cell use with their child. We will not be responsible for any lost or stolen items.

We receive many questions from registrants. We have prepared a page with answers to our frequently asked questions about registering and attending an event.

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is committed to equal opportunity in its educational programs, activities and employment policies, for all persons, regardless of race, color, gender, creed, religion, age, ancestry, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliation, marital status, Vietnam-era veteran status, parental status and pregnancy.

If you have any disabling condition that requires special accommodations or attention, please advise us well in advance. We will make every effort to accommodate your special needs.

By registering for this event you understand that the University may take photographs and/or videos of event participants and activities. You will be required to agree at the time of registration that the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater shall be the owner of and may use such photographs and/or videos relating to the promotion of future events. You will relinquish all rights that you may claim in relation to the use of said photographs and/or videos. Any media shared with the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on social media or use of its hashtags grants the University use of media for any purpose.


Registrants are encouraged to have their own health insurance as accident insurance provided by the University is limited. Each registrant will be covered by a limited accident insurance policy. The insurance includes primary coverage up to $10,000. Insurance does not cover pre-existing injuries and is for accidents only. The cost of insurance is included in the registration fee.

8:00 am Check-In
9:00 am Welcome/Convocation
10:00 am Workshop Session One
11:00 am Workshop Session Two
12:00 pm Workshop Session Three
1:00 pm Workshop Session Four/Open Mic (only 1 session)
2:00 pm Awards Ceremony
~3:00 pm Event Concluded

Award Name Category 
Winner    Fiona Jin Prose Poetry/Flash Fiction
Winner    Lynde Mogensen Poetry
Award Name Title
Distinguished Cole Sison Things Long Forgotten
Award Name Title
Outstanding Jennifer Trejo Miami
Award Name Title
Superior Julianne Rodgers Two Steps Back, One Step Forward
Award Name Title
Superior Haley Chandler The House in the Woods
Superior Lydia Lieger Sugarbread
Award Name Title
Outstanding Lynde Mogenson we see not your electric sheep
Outstanding Lynde Mogenson daughters of pink carnations stained red
Outstanding Lynde Mogenson dead reckoning
Award Name Title
Outstanding Fiona Jin Cassiopeia
Outstanding Fiona Jin Empty heart disease
Outstanding Fiona Jin Tuesday
Award Name Title
Outstanding Amelia Johnson The Mailman
Superior William Monday The Businessman Croaks Too
Distinguished Kenneth Broadway The Children of Light
Award Name Title
Distinguished India Boyd Slug Learns A Lesson
Award Name Category  School Title
Winner    Fiona Jin   Poetry Sign for the model tanks at Cantigny Park warns of slippery surfaces  
Winner    Fiona Jin   Poetry Beijing apartment as catalog of funeral gifts  
Winner    Vivian Zhu   Poetry Saltwater Dog  
Award Name School Title
Distinguished Mauro Arevalo   An Awkward Conversation
Award Name School Title
Outstanding Grace Sun Ways in Which School is Similar to Space Travel
Award Name School Title
Outstanding Molly Bailey The Story of Michelle E.
Superior Sarah Zhang A Man Tou for Her and Me
Award Name School Title
Distinguished Autumn Larsen How Not to Get Attacked (by Animals)
Award Name School Title
Outstanding Alicia Gancarz Birth of Venus
Outstanding Lynde Mogenson Lily
Superior Finn Gotcher A Fallen Twig from the Tree of Womanhood
Distinguished Finn Gotcher Piano Hands
Distinguished Luna Diaz Bending
Award Name School Title
Outstanding Fiona Jin   Sign for the model tanks at Cantigny Park warns of slippery surfaces 
Outstanding Fiona Jin   Beijing apartment as catalog of funeral gifts 
Outstanding Vivian Zhu   Saltwater Dog
Distinguished McKenna Gnas   Necklace
Award Name School Title
Outstanding Aria Shum The Tears That Stained My Hand
Superior Heather Drake The Song of Wind and Water
Distinguished Ariana McAdams Bird Cage
Award Name School Title
Distinguished Logan Martin Poseidon
Award Name School Title
Outstanding Taya Crowell   Letters to Lenore 
Superior Lydia Liegler   There is A Door at The End of the Hallway 
Distinguished Sherya Gupta   Kanya

Results will be posted after the event.

Award Name School Title
First Place Wyn Thomas  Stevenson High School Beautiful Daughter
Award Name School Title
Third Place Carolyn Fuchs New Richmond High School The Tale of the Kitchen Window
Second Place Olivia Burns New Richmond High School Untitled
First Place Annie Thomas Stevenson High School Untitled
Award Name School Title
Third Place Vivian Zhu Stevenson High School Somewhere in Southern Florida
Second Place Phoebe Yeun McFarland High School Absence of Light
First Place Tia Vasudeva Stevenson High School Untitled
Award Name School Title
Third Place Maria Flom New Richmond High School Amethyst Throne
Second Place Matthew Strelet Palatine High School Just Like the Game
First Place Faith Hall Washington Park High School Kytra and the Colt
Award Name School Title
Third Place Gaurish Lakhanpal Stevenson High School A Final Farewell, Waste, Lessons Learnt
Second Place Caitlyn Guth Stevenson High School Balloons
First Place Finn Gotcher McFarland High School She
Award Name School Title
Third Place Olivia Annunziata New Richmond High School Untitled
Second Place Emma Stanek Hilsboro High School Skin | To Reduce the Likelihood of Being Regulated by Society as a Woman
First Place Ava Morgensen Stevenson High School Occhilolism
Award Name School Title
Third Place Leah Pena Waukesha West High School Ezra's Debut
Second Place Anika Krishnaswamy Stevenson High School Something White
First Place Morgan O'Brien Franklin High School Mylie
Award Name School Title
First Place Jesse Kelly Franklin High School Universal
Award Name School Title
Third Place Leo Myers Palatine High School Butcher on 6th Street
Second Place Kayla Christopherson Washington Park High School Witch Thimbles & Harebells
First Place Coralyn Johnson Palatine High School The Sunday Man

Meet the Staff


Nicholas Gulig


Barrett Swanson

More to Explore

  • More Events In The Near Future

    Upcoming Events

  • Join our CE mailing list

    Join Our Email List

  • Sponsor a registrant to attend one of our events

    Sponsor A Registrant

  • Continuing Education Music Events

    Music Events

  • Athletic Events Homepage

    Athletic Events

  • Continuing Education Programs For Adults

    Programs for Adults