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 prizes, winners will be listed on the Willamette Writers website and honored at our Willamette Writers Conference held annually in August.


 Deadline for the 2017 contest was: June 15th, 2017
Please check back later for winner announcement and for the 2018 contest

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

The Elizabeth Lyon Nonfiction Award

Fiction Award

Screenplay Award

NEW in 2017: College Student Award

Student Awards in three grades divisions: 1-5, 6-8, 9-12

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)


  • Winning entries in each of the six categories of fiction, nonfiction, YA/MG, poetry, screenplay, and college student are awarded:
  • Winning entries in each of the three grade divisions of the student category are awarded:
    • First prize: $50
    • Second prize: $20
    • Third prize: $10
  • Winners of the Kay Snow contest will be honored at the annual Willamette Writers Conference
  • Bonus Prize: Winners of the first three prizes in Screenplay Writing will have the option of having dinner with Producer/Writer/A.D. Scott Myers at the Willamette Writers Conference to discuss their screenplays.


  • $10 for Willamette Writers members
  • $15 for general public
  • Entries in the college student category are $10 each
  • Entries in the student category in the three grade divisions are free

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

Congratulations to our 2016 Kay Snow Writing Contest Winners!

Fiction, C. Lill Ahrens, Judge:

First Prize: Herring
Lois Rosen
Salem, OR 97306-9526

Second Prize: Beaching the Hanza
William Parker
Gresham. OR 97080

Third Prize: Forever Free, Chapt 14, The Emancipation Proclamation
Paula Butterfield
Portland, OR 97219

Nonfiction, Elizabeth Lyon, judge:

First Prize: Saddest Tale
Lyzette Wanzer
San Francisco, CA 94164

Second Prize: The Race
Peter Gibb
Ashland, OR 97520

Third Prize: In the Limbs
Elizabeth Kind
Eugene, OR 97405

Adult Authors of MG & YA, Roland Smith, judge:

First Prize: Willa Wild
Alisha Braatz

Second Prize: The Third Power
Katherine Hahn

Third Prize: Fakespeare
Cidney Swanson

Feature Length Film, Joan & Blythe, judges:

First Prize: The Glass Hive
Steve Allrich
Lake Oswego, OR 97035

Second Prize: Bo Peep
Waka T. Brown
West Linn, OR 97068

Two screenplays tied for third place – both were awarded.
Third Prize: Red Devils
John Worsley
Mosier, OR 97040

Third Prize: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 Prize: about face
Amy Baskin
Portland, OR 97212
Student Categories, Heidi Schulz, judge:

Grades 9-12:

First Prize: Flying Kites and Shooting Stars
Meredith Megee
Edgewater Park, NJ 08010

Second Prize: Nervosa
Aisha Jitan
Holmdel New Jersey

Third Prize: Lizzy’s Symphony
Autumn Williams
Rexburg, ID 83440

Grades 6-8:

First Prize: Cosmology
Juliana Castillo
Wilmington, Delaware 19805

Third Prize: The Places I Go
Emma Wenck
Troutdale, OR 97060

Third Prize: A Trip to Hong Kong
Mekella Wong

Grades 1-5:

First Prize: Living Ghosts
Madeline Stabinski
Swarthmore, PA 19081

Second Prize: Ira’s Creatures
Elizabeth Keller
Vancouver, WA 98684

Third Prize: Aru Academy
Madeleine Freedberg
Washington, DC 20016

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