1st Annual WIFYR Writing Competition and Fellowship Award

Here it is, everyone. A chance for a talented and deserving writer to receive a big cash award to help further his/her work in progress. Entries will be submitted beginning March 20th, so use this next week to really polish your work!

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers announces its First Annual WIFYR Writing Competition and Fellowship Award

In conjunction with The Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference (WIFYR) and its goal to educate and assist aspiring authors, one full-day conference attendee will receive $1000.00 intended to further the recipient’s work in the children’s writing field. The winning recipient will exhibit gifted writing ability, consistent long-term dedication to the craft, and demonstrate financial need.

Submissions for the $1000 merit and need-based award will be accepted beginning (and no sooner than) March 20th and no later than midnight, Mountain Standard Time, April 20th.  Entries which do not meet eligibility requirements, financial parameters, or fail to follow submission guidelines will not be considered.

First Annual WIFYR Writing Competition and Scholarship Award Rules:

  1. Applicants must have completed paid registration for a 2012 WIFYR conference workshop.
  2. Applicants must submit the first twenty pages of their completed or work in progress fiction manuscript in the children’s writing genre, or two completed picture book manuscripts. The winning entry will be a polished work by an experienced author. Submissions will be made online. See Submission Instructions, 6, below.
  3. Applicants must write a statement of financial need detailing income and related financial hardships and obligations, and how the scholarship will help further their work as a writer.
  4.  Applicants must include two letters of recommendation and a short author biography detailing the length of time spent pursuing writing, publication credits, and/or other evidences of dedication to the craft such as attendance at writing conferences, writing groups, or proof of submissions.
  5. Eligibility Requirements: All applicants must complete paid conference registration, and submit: 1. their 20-page children’s writing manuscript or two picture books, 2.statement of financial need, 3. two letters of recommendation, and 4. their author bio, no sooner than Wednesday, March 20th, 8 a.m. Mountain Standard Time, and no later than Friday, April 20th, 12 a.m., MST, to be considered for the Scholarship Award. No early entries will be accepted. Late entries will be disqualified.
  6. In the event of no qualifying entries, the WIFYR committee reserves the right to withhold the fellowship award.
  7. Submission Instructions: Send entries to: wifyrwritecontest@gmail.com. Send the first twenty pages of your manuscript (or two completed picture book manuscripts) and all other required letters and statements as e-mail attachments. DO NOT include your name or any identifying information on manuscript pages to be judged. Include a separate title page with the name of your manuscript or picture books, your name, address, and contact information, and the workshop you will attend at the 2012 WIFYR conference. Do include identifying information on financial statement, author bio, and letters of recommendation.
  8. The winner will be announced during the WIFYR Conference.



This Post Has 45 Comments

  1. Daisy

    It’s too bad that the money can’t be used to fund WIFYR attendance for someone who could not otherwise afford to go.

    1. beccabirkin

      That’s a great idea. Perhaps the winner could use it to attend next year.

    2. Jessa Russo

      I agree. I stopped reading after this:

      1.) Applicants must have completed paid registration for a 2012 WIFYR conference workshop.

      Had I won, the money would have gone towards actually getting myself TO the conference.

  2. Courtney Lowe

    Still, such a cool opportunity!! I can’t wait to see who wins!!

  3. Rena

    I read over the requirements twice to double check, but I still want to make sure. It doesn’t say that the manuscript has to be for young readers, right? So it can be any genre for any age? Is it more likely that the prize will go to a manuscript intended for young readers? Let me know.


    1. beccabirkin

      I don’t mean to discourage you, but since the whole intent of the conference is to encourage and support children’s writing, the prize ought to go to someone who writes in one of those genres. Please realize that YA prose can be exactly the same as for an adult audience, just with a younger protag.

      1. Rena

        Thanks! Not discouraged. =)

        1. beccabirkin

          I’m so glad!

          1. Rena

            Another question: #5 says, “no sooner than Wednesday, March 20th, 8 a.m. Mountain Standard Time, and no later than Saturday, March 20th, 12 a.m., MST,”

            That last date should be in April, right? And the 20th is a Friday in April. So is it due Friday or Saturday?

            And do you know if I can pay for registration with a PO?


  4. beccabirkin

    I don’t know about the registration question, but I will forward your question. Are you sure you’re not an editor? I changed the dates. It should read, Friday, April 20th.

    1. Rena

      hahaha. I am an editor actually. For UEJ. Thanks for the info. Just wanted to make sure I had all the right info. Plus, I talked the registration problem out with my school, and they have a solution, so no worries.

  5. Amy Hackworth

    Exciting! What a great opportunity!

  6. Pingback: Last week in writing… late edition | Knitting with Pencils

  7. Rena

    Another question:
    Most publishers want the MS to be double-spaced. This competition is a little different, but the format will affect the amount of writing to submit. So is it 20pp of double-spaced prose, or 20pp of single-spaced prose?

  8. beccabirkin

    It should be 20 pages, double spaced.

    1. Rena

      What does “proof of finances” mean? Is that a copy of my bank statement? I know you want a statement of my financial need, detailing income and related hardships, etc, but what exactly is “proof”?



      1. beccabirkin

        Proof doesn’t mean bank statements or tax returns. Originally we’d thought of requesting something like that, but we decided against it. The committee just wants a written statement, in your words, detailing your general financial status (e.g. I make xx a year, I have significant medical expenses, etc.) and why you think the award would help you.

        1. Rena

          Gotcha. Thanks!

  9. Alison

    What a great opportunity for those attending WIFYR. Conference Director Carol is always looking for ways to mentor, and here’s one more. Thanks Carol!

  10. Sue S

    The contest is an great idea. I’m not rich but I don’t need the financial help so I wish you had two seperate categories, one with a $ award and one without. It always looks good to be able to write about winning a writing contest on your query letter.

  11. beccabirkin

    Thanks for your comment. This is our first year doing the contest, and maybe the contests could be expanded in the future. For now, we’ll have a WIFYR committee note about the financial need and recommendation letter qualifications in our next newsletter, coming out soon. So before you decide not to apply, make sure you’re a newsletter subscriber and look for more to come.

  12. Pingback: I’ll Be at the W.I.Y.R. June Conference and So Can You « John M Cusick

  13. Rebecca J. Carlson

    Question: Would it be all right to submit THREE letters of recommendation, or would that be “failure to follow instructions?”

  14. beccabirkin

    It would definitely be all right to submit an extra letter. I don’t want anyone to think they have to submit extra things, but if you think having an extra letter is important, it’s fine.

    1. Rebecca J. Carlson

      Thanks, Becca. Sorry, I’m not trying to overachieve, I just asked three people in case someone wouldn’t be able to do one for me, and they all came through, and i’ve been pulling my hair out trying to pick.

  15. beccabirkin

    Hope that makes your submission process a little easier.

  16. Rebecca J. Carlson

    Sorry to trouble you again. Should the cover sheet be in the same file attachment as the 20 pages of the manuscript, or should it be submitted as a separate file?

    1. beccabirkin

      It won’t have to be separate. We will have blind judging, but the people reading the e-mails (like me) won’t be judges.

  17. Rena

    Do you want the author bio in 3rd person?

    1. Rena

      I just realized that that question might sound kinda nuts. Like that episode of Seinfeld where George goes around referring to himself in the 3rd person. “George needs a sandwich!”

      I just ask, b/c if the bio is to be used for some program or something later, it makes it easier for the editor to transfer it over if it’s already in 3rd person.

  18. Kathy Maggio

    I would so love to come back to Sandy. It has been over twenty years since my family left. I was very active in the writing community, but now live in the Appalachian hills and there are no opportunities here. I am writing a piece centering around Salt Lake, and if I could afford it , would come out. Good luck with the conference…wish I could come.

  19. beccabirkin

    I see what you mean. Traditional bios often begin with something like, “Jane Writer, the author of this article, did this, won this award, blah.” Either first or third person is fine. Tthe info. it contains, regarding your experience as a writer, is more important than the tense.

    1. Rena

      Ok, thanks!

  20. Jonene Ficklin

    How far back do you want proof of submissions? Thanks!

    1. beccabirkin

      I don’t want you to feel that you have to document every submission. I certainly would hate to do that. Just some indication that you submit from time to time, whatever you think is best.

      1. Rebecca J. Carlson

        What, you don’t want all the rejection letters I’ve ever got as e-mail attachments? 😉

  21. leishamaw

    I have a technical question, and I might be the only person in the world obtuse enough to need clarification. Anyway, at the top of the page you state that the submissions are due no later than Friday the 20th at midnight, but at the bottom of the page you say Friday the 20th at 12:00 a.m.. I promise I’m really not trying to be nitpicky or anything like that, and I realize the two could be the same thing–Friday night by midnight. But technically Friday the 20th at 12:00 a.m. is Thursday night at midnight, and I really don’t want to be a day late because I assumed it was Friday. Which is it?

    So, please don’t hate me for being a little OCD and wanting to be sure of the deadline.



  22. Rebecca J. Carlson

    Will you be able to send out some kind of acknowledgement of receipt? I know you will probably get a lot of entries, but it is always nice to know that the e-mail didn’t get lost in cyberspace.

  23. Rebecca Birkin

    Rather than quibble about a.m. and p.m., I’ll just clarify that you have until 12 midnight, Friday night.

    1. leishamaw

      Thanks! 🙂

  24. Jonene Ficklin

    On our 20 page submission, can we put our book title in the header, or would you rather we didn’t? Thanks a million and sorry for all the questions!

  25. Rena


  26. beccabirkin

    Book title is fine–it helps to identify your work. Page # too. Unless it’s something you’ve shown at WIFYR a lot before and you think someone might recognize you by the book’s title, I wouldn’t worry. Just make sure not to put your name in the header 🙂

  27. Pingback: Emily Wing Smith » Blog Archive » Sara Z. and Me Talk Shop

Comments are closed.