Kay Snow Writing Contest

The purpose of this annual writing contest, named in honor of Willamette Writers’ founder, Kay Snow, is to help writers reach professional goals in writing through a broad array of categories, and also to encourage student writers. In addition to cash prizes, winners will be listed on the Willamette Writers website, are honored at our Willamette Writers Conference held annually in August, and are automatically considered for publication in Willamette Writers’ literary journal, The Timberline Review.


Congratulations to our 2016 Kay Snow Writing Contest Winners!

Fiction, C. Lill Ahrens, Judge:

1st, Herring

Lois Rosen

Salem, OR 97306-9526

2nd, Beaching the Hanza

William Parker

Gresham. OR 97080

3rd, Forever Free, Chapt 14, The Emancipation Proclamation.

Paula Butterfield

Portland, OR 97219


Nonfiction (Elizabeth Lyon, judge):

  1. Saddest Tale

Lyzette Wanzer

San Francisco, CA 94164

  1. The Race

Peter Gibb

Ashland, OR 97520

  1. In the Limbs

Elizabeth Kind

Eugene, OR 97405


Adult authors of MG & YA (Roland Smith, judge):

  1. Willa Wild

Alisha Braatz

  1. The Third Power

Katherine Hahn

  1. Fakespeare

Cidney Swanson


Feature Length Film winners – Joan & Blythe, judges:

  1. The Glass Hive

Steve Allrich

Lake Oswego, OR 97035

  1. Bo Peep

Waka T. Brown

West Linn, OR 97068

Two screenplays tied for third place – both will receive $50:

  1. Red Devils

John Worsley

Mosier, OR 97040

  1. IRL (In Real Life)

M.B. Curtis


Poetry – Paulann Peterson, judge:

First Prize: “NYC: The Pilgrimage”

Cathy Cain

Lake Oswego, OR 97034

Second Prize: “Resurrection”

Peter Ludwin

Third Place “about face”

Amy Baskin

Portland, OR 97212
Student Entries – Heidi Schulz, judge:

Grades 9-12:

  1. Flying Kites and Shooting Stars

Meredith Megee

Edgewater Park, NJ 08010

  1. Nervosa

Aisha Jitan

Holmdel New Jersey

  1. Lizzy’s Symphony

Autumn Williams

Rexburg, ID 83440


Grades 6-8:

  1. Cosmology

Juliana Castillo

Wilmington, Delaware 19805

  1. The Places I Go

Emma Wenck

Troutdale, OR 97060

  1. A Trip to Hong Kong

Mekella Wong


Grades 1-5:

  1. Living Ghosts

Madeline Stabinski

Swarthmore, PA 19081

  1. Ira’s Creatures

Elizabeth Keller

Vancouver, WA 98684

  1. Aru Academy

Madeleine Freedberg

Washington, DC 20016

Deadline for the 2016 contest: April 30th, 2016

Complete Kay Snow Writing Contest Guidelines

Marilyn Owen, Winner of the YA Award 2014, and Jenny Schrader, President of WW

Marilyn Owen, YA Award Winner 2014, and Jenny Schrader, President


The Paulann Petersen Award for Poetry
The Roland Smith Award for YA and Middle Grade Fiction
Nonfiction Award
Fiction Award
Screenplay Award
Student Awards (Grades 1-5, 6-8, 9-12)


  • First prize of $300, Second place prize of $150, and a Third place prize of $50 per winning entry in each of the five categories; fiction, nonfiction, YA/MG, poetry, and screenplay.
  • Student writers are awarded $50 for first place in three grade divisions, $20 for second place, and $10 for third place.
  • Winners of the Kay Snow contest are invited to an awards gala at the annual Willamette Writers Conference
  • Kay Snow winners are also automatically considered for publication in the Willamette Writers’ literary journal, The Timberline Review.

When I was discouraged about my first novel I submitted a chapter to the Willamette Writers Kay Snow Contest and won a prize. That award gave me just the boost I needed to start a new novel… It gave me credibility, enough credibility to convince quite a few agents to take a look at my next novel. …I believe submitting one’s best work to contests is well worth the effort.” – Member Maryka Biaggio, author of Parlor Games (Doubleday, 2013)


  • $10 for Willamette Writers members
  • $15 for general public
  • Student entries are free

Find out more by reading the complete Kay Snow Writing Contest Guidelines.


For further information, please contact our us at wilwrite[at]willamettewriters[dot]org or 503-305-6729.


Congratulations to our 2015 Kay Snow Writing Contest Winners!


Judge: Laura Whitcomb
1st Place “Marcie’s Baby, a Near-Future Fable” by Bruce Campbell
2nd Place “Fever Heights” by Michael Munro
3rd Place “Swamp Exodus” by Maggie MacLachlan


Judge: Elizabeth Lyon
1st Place “Jade Bracelet” by Vi Ho
2nd Place “On Finding Purpose” by Clara Chandler
3rd Place “Stopping Was the Problem” by Fufkin Vollmayer

Paulann Petersen Award for Poetry

Judge: Paulann Petersen
1st Place “Rush Hour” by Ellen Black
2nd Place “Across the Stretch of Land” by Johanna Pemble
3rd Place “Before It Melts” by Linda Golaszewski

Roland Smith Award for YA and Middle Grade Fiction

Judge: Roland Smith
1st Place “Enter Emma” by Terri Nicholson
2nd Place “Unwrapped” by Lisa Swallow
3rd Place “Payment to the Desert” by Debbie Yasaki

Student Awards

Judge: Teresa Klepinger

Grades 1-5
1st Place: “The Shop” by Claire Lignore
2nd Place: “My Julius Caesar” by Alex Arinkin
3rd Place: “Dogs” by Alison Fitton

Grades 6-8
1st Place “Camp Sherman Snow: A Remembrance” by Katie Palka
2nd Place “The Ruins” by Emma Lickey
Third Place: “Addiction” by Aishwarya Marathe

Grades 9-12
1st Place “McDonalds and Mysophobiacs” by Rebecca Cammenga
2nd Place “Aftermath” by Alexis Caroline Brown
3rd Place “mageírema & cucina” by Lily Hart

2014 Kay Snow Writing Contest Winners:


1st place – “Dirt” by Gayle Towell, North Plains, Oregon

2nd place – “Engines of Sephione” by Joseph Anthony, Aloha, Oregon

3rd Place – “An Empty Heart” by Michael Gettel-Gilmartin, Portland, Oregon


1st Place – “Sweet Milk, the House in the Morning” by Ruby McConnell, Eugene, Oregon

2nd Place – “Sandor’s Oregon Trail” by Sandor Lau, Eugene, Oregon

3rd Place – “Beautiful Things” by Susan Fleming, Portland, Oregon

Honorable Mention – “Mapping the Sinister” by Rebecca Jamieson, Portland, Oregon

Sue Lick, winner of the Kay Snow Writing Contest poetry award

Sue Lick, winner of the Kay Snow poetry award. Photo by Malcolm Manness.


1st Place – “Burnt Woods Cafe” by Sue Lick, South Beach, Oregon

2nd Place – “Blast from the Past” by Nick Sweet, Shepherd, Texas

3rd Place – “On the Road After a Record Rain” by Ellaraine Lockie, Sunnyvale, California

Writing for Young Readers

1st Place – “Everyone Except Everett” by Marilyn Owen, Portland, Oregon

2nd Place – “Bella and the Umbrella” by Pearl Schwartz, Walnut Creek, California

3rd Place – “Geechen, the Ghost Warrior” by Jim Kroefpl, Denver, Colorado

Honorable Mention – “Continental Divide” by Stephanie Kroepfl, Denver, Colorado

Students, Grades 1-5

Emma Salada, winner of the Kay Snow Writing Award for Students, grades 6-8, and Willamette Writers' president Jenny Schrader

Emma Salada, winner of the Kay Snow Writing Award for Students, grades 6 – 8. Photo by Malcolm Manness.

1st Place – “The Second Shot” by Abby McFarland, Pasadena, Maryland

2nd Place – “Christy Holmes Mystery” by Madeleine Freedburg, Washington, DC

2nd Place – “How to Train Your Flying Pig” by Barron Jager, Vancouver, Washington

Students, Grades 6-8

1st Place – “You Cannot Crown an Unwilling Queen” by Isabel Lickey, Portland, Oregon

2nd Place – “The Liquidator” by Emma Salada, Portland, Oregon

3rd Place – “All Tied Up” by Katie Lyons, Orinda, California

Students, Grades 9-12

1st Place – “Dove” by Phoebe Morakinyo, Ilford, United Kingdom

2nd Place – “Saving My Sister” by Julie Spicer, Oroville, California

3rd Place – “The Rain” by Cayrn Blumberg, DeMossville, Kentucky

The winners of the 2013 Kay Snow Writing Contest are:


1st place – “God is Pleased to Hear the Children Pray” by Ruby Murray

2nd place – “Coyote Calls Down the Gods” by Bruce Campbell

3rd Place – “The Bones of Pele” by Bonnie Dodge


1st Place – “Your Bed’s Too Small” by Ann Gudger

2nd Place – “Learning Chutzpah” by Diana Harris

3rd Place – “Seeing and Not Seeing” by Chrys Buckley


1st Place – “There Are No Seekers” by Melissa Reeser Poulin

2nd Place – “Mermaid at World’s End” by Darcy Scholts

3rd Place – “Ripe Orgasmic Earth” by Kate Marsh

Honorable Mention “Our Paths” by Kristen Storer

Writing for Young Readers

1st Place – “Winter in My Heart” by Gibron Perrone

2nd Place – “Sampson Leaves Home” by Marilyn Owen

3rd Place – “Any Dreams Won’t Do” by Kelly Garrett


1st Place – “Love Judge” by Amy Fredericks

2nd Place – “The Kids from Nowwhere” by George Guthridge and Deborah Schildt

3rd Place “Perfect Guy for Hire” by Waka Brown

Student Awards

Students, Grades 1-5

1st Place – “Getting Steve” by Joey Lieberman

2nd Place – “Down Under” by Abby Clark

3rd Place – “Cookie” by Noah Tai

Students, Grades 6-8

1st Place – “Nowhere to Go” by Sarah Hogan

2nd Place – “A Buddy” by Deenee Freeman

3rd Place – “A Squirrel Story” by Sahalie Pittman

Students, Grades 9-12

1st Place – “Flying Free” by Kalin Swift

2nd Place – “Wanted” by Nichole Parks

3rd Place – “Going Back” by Ana Maria Villaveces