2016-2017 Writing Contest is open!

Download the flyer here.


First place winners receive $250.00.
There will be four awards in each category: 1, 2, 3, and Honorable Mention.
All four winners will be published in a special Contest Edition of the WNBA’s National Newsletter, The Bookwoman.
Winners announced May 1, 2017. All winners will be posted on the Women’s National Book Association website.


3,000 word maximum length, no theme required

Creative Nonfiction/ Memoir:
2,500 word maximum

3-5 pages of poetry (double-spaced)

Submit your work online here

Open to WNBA members and non-members



Brenda KnightBrenda Knight began her career at HarperCollins, working with luminaries Marianne Williamson,Huston Smith and Paolo Coelho. Knight served as publisher of Cleis Press and was awarded
IndieFab’s Publisher of the Year in 2014. Knight is the author of Wild Women and Books, Be a
Good in the World, and Women of the Beat Generation, which won an American Book Award.  Managing Director of Mango Media, she also serves as President of the Womens’ National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter.


Ellen UrbaniEllen Urbani is the author of the novel Landfall, a Women’s National Book Association Great Group Reads selection set in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Her work has been profiled in the
Oscar-qualified short documentary film Paint Me a Future. A Southern expat now residing in Oregon, her pets will always be dawgs and her truest allegiance will always reside with the Crimson Tide.


Linda Joy MyersLinda Joy Myers
is president and founder of the National Association of Memoir Writers. Her memoir Don’t Call Me Mother—A Daughter’s Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness was a finalist in the ForeWord Book of the Year Award, a finalist in the IndieExcellence Awards, and won the BAIPA Gold Medal award.Linda offers workshops internationally, and helps people capture their stories through coaching, editing, and online workshops.



2015-2016 Contest Winners Announced!

Thank you to all the writers who submitted their work for consideration. Congratulations to our winners.

Gail Entrekin (Orinda, California) for “Before Making Love”

Nina Smith (North Charleston, South Carolina) for “Chef”

Creative Non-Fiction/Memoir
Wendy Brown-Baez (Columbia Heights, Minnesota) for “Pilgrimage”

First Place winners receive a $250 cash prize and publication in the Bookwoman, the official publication of the Women’s National Book Association, with 13 chapters nationwide. Proceeds from the contest will go to support scholarships for writing conferences and other professional development training.

Second Place Winners

Grace Grafton (Oakland, California) for “Gold, Labor, and Exotic Materials”

Juliette Witman (Boulder, Colorado) for “The Ballerina and the Butcher”

Creative Non-Fiction/Memoir
Nadina LaSpina (New York, New York) for “Falsomagro”

Third Place Winners

Nicole Edien (New Orleans, Louisiana) for “Mortgage”

Molly Giles (Woodacre, California) for “Wife with Knife”

Creative Non-Fiction/Memoir
Marie Chambers (Los Angeles, California) for “On the Challenges of Not Reading in Planes or Decisions Born in the Dark”

Honorable Mention

Judy Bebelaar (Berkeley, California) for “Gliding”
Rochelle Distelheim (Highland Park, Illinois) for “Home Movies”
Creative Non-Fiction/Memoir
Rita Juster (New Orleans, Louisiana) for “Vera Sheets”

The 2015 Writing Competition judges are

Poetry Judge: Mary Mackey, is a bestselling author who has written seven volumes of poetry including Sugar Zone winner of the 2012 PEN Oakland.

Fiction Judge: Ann Harlemann, author of several titles, she has received numerous awards including the Iowa Short Fiction Award, the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award, and the O. Henry Award.

Creative Non-Fiction/Memoir Judge: Rosemary Daniell, an accomplished author of poetry and memoirs, she is also a teacher of writing.

The WNBA Annual Writing Competition Chairperson is Joan Gelfand, founder of the contest and contest Chair. Joan is a poet with three volumes of poetry, winner of a short fiction award and novelist. She blogs for the Huffington Post and is a member of Bay Area Travel Writers.

If you have an interest in advertising the contest to your English department, journal or group or would like to
participate as a judge, please contact Joan Gelfand: [email protected]

2014-2015 Contest winners

Winning entries are published in a special edition of Bookwoman

Poetry: Diana Whitney for “Curiosity”

Fiction: Allison Har-zvi for “If You’re Ready”

Creative Non-Fiction/Memoir: Diane Kraynak for “Science Project”

Runners-up Announced:

Poetry:   2nd Place:  Sarah Wolbach: “Words [in transit]”

3rd Place: Michelle Regalado Deatrick: “The Light-Lust of Trees”

Honorable Mention: Tanya Ko Hong: “Comfort Woman”

Fiction:  2nd Place:  Vicki deArmon – “Hydroplaning”

3rd Place: Kathleen Spivak – “Moths”

Honorable Mention:  Kristen MacKenzie – “Cold Comfort”

Creative Non-Fiction/Memoir:  2nd Place: Renate Stendhal – “Kiss Me Again. She Did.”

3rd Place:  J. Martin – “The Only Child”

Honorable Mention: L. Loomis – “Ghost House”

To download the full results, click on the link:

2015 WNBA Writing Contest Winners

Questions? Email Contest Chairperson: [email protected]

Thank you for your submissions! Proceeds from the contest help support scholarships for writing conferences and other professional development training.

Watch for news on the next WNBA Writing Contest!

This year, the WNBA Writing Contest featured three categories of writing:

  • Fiction
  • Creative Non-Fiction
  • Poetry

Thank you to our judges:

Poetry: Ellen Bass

Fiction:  Michelle Hoover

Creative Non-Fiction/Memoir:  Dierdre Blair