2022 Utah Original Writing Competition


The Utah Division of Arts & Museums and the SLCC Community Writing Center have chosen 21 writers in seven categories as the winners of the 62nd annual Utah Original Writing Competition. The winners were selected from a total of 278 entries from Utah-based writers. 

Manuscripts were reviewed in an anonymous process by judges who reside outside of Utah. First- and second-place winners are awarded prize money ranging from $150 to $1,000, depending on the category. 

Past winners of the Utah Original Writing Competition include four past Utah Poets Laureate, including David Lee, Ken Brewer, Katharine Coles, and Lance Larsen. 

2022 Submission Details

Since 1958, the annual Utah Original Writing Competition has celebrated Utah’s dynamic and varied voices and aided Utah writers on their path to publication and broader recognition. Numerous awardees selected by our nationally recognized judges have gone on to significant statewide and national acclaim. Please read through the entire guidelines before submitting.

Deadline: June 30, 2022 @11:59 p.m.
Late manuscripts will not be accepted.

Sumission Process: Please submit early to avoid technical issues. Submissions will only be accepted online via Submittable. The Submittable portal for submissions will open on May 2, 2022. 

Questions?: Contact the SLCC Community Writing Center at cwc@slcc.edu.

Printable Guidelines (PDF)


May 2, 2022: Submission period opens

June 30, 2022: Submissions due by 11:59 p.m. (MDT) via Submittable.

July-September 2022: Judging of manuscripts

October 2022: Winners and press notified

November 2022: Awards presentation


Book-length Categories: Writers entering categories A through D cannot have a book published (either traditionally published or self-published) or accepted for publication in the category they enter. However, authors can have a book published or accepted for publication in a category other than the one they wish to enter. Example: Jane Doe has had a novel published, but not a nonfiction book. She cannot enter in the Novel category, but she can enter in the Creative Nonfiction Book category.

Previous Publication: Acknowledgment of previously published work or previous performance in competitions should NOT be included on your manuscript. However, in categories A-D, if portions of the work have been published, as permitted (see details for each category), indicate so when asked on the online application form.

Residency and Age Requirement: Submitters must have a 70% physical presence in Utah AND be a legal Utah resident for one year prior to submission and at time of submission. You must be age 18 or older to enter.

Entry Fees: None.

Limits on Entries: Writers are allowed to enter more than one category; however, only one entry per category per contestant is allowed. A manuscript cannot be entered in more than one category. Portions of a larger manuscript submitted in one category cannot be submitted in a second category. First- and second-prize winners in each category are not eligible to enter that category the next year. In the case of alternating categories, first- and second-prize winners cannot enter the exact category they placed in until at least one round of competition in that category has taken place.

Judges’ Decisions Are Final: Judges have sole and final authority in evaluation of manuscripts. If, in the opinion of the judge, no manuscript entered in a category is of sufficient quality to merit an award, none will be given. The judges are not identified until after the winners have been announced. Judges’ comments will be provided for first prize, second prize, and honorable mention only. Under no circumstances should a contestant contact a judge directly. A contestant who does contact a judge may be disqualified. Honorable mentions offer no cash award.

Winning Manuscripts to Remain on File: The manuscripts of the first- and second-prize winners in each category must remain on file with Utah Arts & Museums as part of its permanent collection. In the event a winning entry is later published, UA&M and CWC ask that you provide each agency a signed copy of the work.

Rights: Authors of winning entries retain all rights of publication.

Disqualification: Failure to follow these guidelines may result in disqualification.

Submission Specifications

  • The judging is done anonymously. Do not include your name anywhere on your manuscript(s).
  • Include the title or an abbreviation of the title on the bottom, right-hand corner of each page.
  • Do not include acknowledgments or dedications in the manuscript(s).
  • In general, manuscripts should use 12-point font and be double-spaced. Exceptions can be made for stylistic or narrative purposes.
  • Use the exact same title for your manuscript throughout the application process, including on the manuscript, in the document file name, and on the application form itself.
  • Pseudonyms may not be used. Legal names, spelled consistently throughout, must be used to submit to the competition.

Submission Categories

Categories A-D

For Categories A-D, no part of the manuscript can be published in book form or have been accepted for publication as a book at the time of entry. Work from the submission that has been excerpted on the web, in journals, or in an anthology is acceptable. A-D are first-book categories.

First prize (Categories A-D): $1000

Second prize (Categories A-D): $500

Category A: Novel

Fiction for adults; minimum length: 50,000 words

Category B: Creative Nonfiction Book

Creative nonfiction, including personal essay collections, memoir, narrative nonfiction, biographies, autobiographies, and histories; minimum length: 50,000 words

First prize for Category B includes first option for publication by the University of Utah Press.

Category C: Book-length Collection of Short Stories

Minimum length: 50 pages

This category alternates each year with Book-length Collection of Poetry

Category D: Young Adult Book

Fiction or nonfiction (general or biography), appealing to readers ages 12 through 18. Compilations of stories will be accepted. Maximum/minimum length: none.

This category alternates each year with Children’s Book.

Categories E-G

For categories E-G, no part of the collection can be published in any form, except on the web, or have been accepted for publication at the time of entry.

First prize (Categories E-G): $300

Second prize (Categories E-G): $150

Category E: Poetry

A short collection of up to 10 poems for adults; maximum length: 1,000 lines (total)

Category F: Short Story

Fiction for adults; maximum length: 7,500 words

Category G: Creative Nonfiction Essay

Creative nonfiction for adults, including personal essay and memoir; maximum length: 7,500 words


2021 Utah Original Writing Competition Winners

Category A: Novel, judged by Matt Bell

  • First Place: Field Guide to the Redshifting Universe by Warren Hatch (Provo)
  • Second Place: The Dead Elvis Ball by Cheyenne Nimes (Salt Lake City)
  • Honorable Mention: Eyes of Scarlet by Sierra Branham (Spanish Fork) 

Category B: Creative Nonfiction Book, judged by Nicole Walker

  • First Place: The Wolf Act by Andrew Romriell (Sandy)
  • Second Place: Portals and Curbs by Lynnette Riggs (Wellsville)
  • Honorable Mention: Clown Shoes by Kate Clark Spencer (St. George)
  • Honorable Mention: Lords of Zion by Richard Steele (Logan) 

Category C: Book-length Collection of Poetry, judged by Shauna Barbosa

  • First Place: Gold. Tooth. River. Snake. by Danielle Susi (Salt Lake City)
  • Second Place: No Rhododendron by Samyak Shertok (Salt Lake City)
  • Honorable Mention: Saints by Millie Tullis (Smithfield) 

Category D: Children’s Book, judged by Leah Pileggi

  • First Place: The Search for Macadamia by Steven Johnson (Salt Lake City)
  • Second Place: When I Am a Butterfly by Lisa Roullard (Salt Lake City)
  • Honorable Mention: The Apprentice and the Witch by Alison Randall (Saratoga Springs) 

Category E: Poetry, judged by heidi andrea restrepro rhodes

  • First Place: Fugitive by Lisa Roullard (Salt Lake City)
  • Second Place: The World by Rebecca Billings (Payson)
  • Honorable Mention: Flowers to Paper, Leukemia by David Knowlton (Salt Lake City) 

Category F: Short Story, judged by Natanya Pulley

  • First Place: Immune by Rosie Ribeira (Lehi)
  • Second Place: A Pinned Moth Under Glass Still Breathes by Lesley Hart Gunn (Provo)
  • Honorable Mention: After College by Andrew Grace (Salt Lake City) 

Category G: Creative Nonfiction Essay, judged by Namrata Poddar

  • First Place: When Ice Isn't Slippery by Alyssa Witbeck Alexander (Logan)
  • Second Place: Dear Carlitos (A Letter to My Brother) by Vince Font (Ogden)
  • Honorable Mention: In Chrysalis by Kylie Smith (Spanish Fork) 

View 2020 Winners

2021 Utah Original Writing Competition Judges


Shauna Barbosa

Shauna Barbosa is the author of the poetry collection Cape Verdean Blues (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Boston Review, AGNI, Iowa Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry Society of America, PBS Newshour, Lit Hub, and others. She was nominated for PEN America’s 2019 Open Book Award and was a 2018 Disquiet International Luso-American fellow. Shauna received her MFA from Bennington College in Vermont and is currently working on a compilation of stories.


Matt Bell

Matt Bell’s latest novel, Appleseed, was published by Custom House in July 2021. His craft book Refuse to Be Done, a guide to novel writing, rewriting, & revision, will follow in March 2022 from Soho Press. He is also the author of the novels Scrapper and In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods, as well as the short story collection A Tree or a Person or a Wall, a non-fiction book about the classic video game Baldur's Gate II, and several other titles. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, Tin House, Conjunctions, Fairy Tale Review, American Short Fiction, and many other publications. A native of Michigan, he teaches creative writing at Arizona State University.


Leah Pileggi

Leah Pileggi grew up in Kane, Pennsylvania, a tiny town in the middle of the Allegheny National Forest. She didn’t start writing until she was almost 50, after having lived in California, Connecticut, and Texas. She now lives in the big small town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she studied creative writing at Chatham University and professional writing at Carnegie Mellon. Her work has appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Chautauquan Daily, Hopscotch Magazine, and The New York Times Magazine. Prisoner 88 is her first novel. Awards for Prisoner 88 include: NCTE Notable Book in the Language Arts, IndieBound Kids’ Next List, Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award List (Vermont), Golden Sower Award List (Nebraska), and the Charlie May Simon Honor Book (Arkansas) for 2016. Leah also blogs and writes poetry and screenplays.


Namrata Poddar

Namrata Poddar writes fiction and nonfiction, serves as Interviews Editor for Kweli where she curates the series Race, Power and Storytelling, and teaches literature at UCLA’s Honors Program. Her work has appeared in several publications including Poets & Writers, Literary Hub, Longreads, The Kenyon Review, Electric Literature, and The Best Asian Short Stories. Her debut novel, Border Less, was a finalist for The Feminist Press’s Louise Meriwether Prize, and is forthcoming from 7.13 Books. She holds a PhD in French literature from the University of Pennsylvania, an MFA in Fiction from Bennington College, and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Transnational Cultures from UCLA. Find her on Twitter,  @poddar_namrata, or on Instagram, @writerpoddar.


Natanya Ann Pulley

Natanya Ann Pulley is Diné and her mother’s clans are Kinyaa’áani (Towering House) and Táchii’nii (Red Running into Water). Her publications include Split Lip, The Offing, and Waxwing (among others). Her essays have been anthologized in Shapes of Native Nonfiction, Counternarratives from Women of Color Academics, The Diné Reader, Women Write Resistance, and more. She is the founding editor of Hairstreak Butterfly Review and is an assistant professor of English at Colorado College. Her short story collection With Teeth (Oct. 2019) is the winner of the 2018 Many Voices Project competition through New Rivers Press.


heidi andrea restrepo rhodes

heidi andrea restrepo rhodes is a queer, disabled, brown/Colombian poet, scholar, and cultural worker. Her poetry collection The Inheritance of Haunting (University of Notre Dame Press, 2019) explores intergenerational memory and postcolonial trauma. Most recently, she was a spring 2021 Mellon Arts Fellow at Yale’s Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration. Her work has been published in Poetry, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, Nat. Brut, Foglifter, and Waxwing, among other places.


Nicole Walker

Nicole Walker is the author of Processed Meats: Essays on Food, Flesh and Navigating Disaster (2021) Sustainability: A Love Story (2018) and the collaborative collection The After-Normal: Brief, Alphabetical Essays on a Changing Planet. (2019). She has previously published the books Where the Tiny Things Are (2017), Egg (2017), Micrograms (2016), Quench Your Thirst with Salt (2013), and This Noisy Egg (2010). She edited for Bloomsbury the essay collections Science of Story (2019) with Sean Prentiss and Bending Genre: Essays on Creative Nonfiction (2013) with Margot Singer. She is the co-president of NonfictioNOW and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award and a noted author in Best American Essays. Her work has been most recently published in the New York Times, Longreads, and Ploughshares, among other places. She teaches at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ.