Women Writing the West presents three award programs each year; The WILLA Literary Awards, The LAURA Short Fiction Award and The DOWNING Journalism Award.

Awards are presented at the annual conference each October. Guidelines, rubrics and applications are available online at the Women Writing the West website.

The WILLA Literary Award

The WILLA Literary Award

The WILLA Literary Award was first presented in 1999 at the annual conference in Denver, CO.

Named for famed American Novelist Willa Cather, awards are presented to one Winner and up to 2 Finalists in eight categories, of books which were first published in the previous year.

Entry period for The WILLA Literary Award is November 1 through February 1 of each year.

The LAURA Short Fiction Award

The LAURA Short Fiction Award

In 2007, President Elect Kathleen Ernst proposed a short story contest, offering a threefold foundation: showcase WWW member’s writing talents, celebrate the short story form, and add another benefit to membership.

Only WWW members would be eligible to enter their previously unpublished story featuring a female protagonist, and set in the American West, past, present or future.

The LAURA Short Fiction Award entry period is March 1 through April 30 each year.

The DOWNING Journalism Award

the DOWNING Journalism Award

The DOWNING Journalism Award was first presented in 2019, honoring articles and journalism first published in 2018. Named in honor of WWW founder, first president and noted journalist, Sybil Downing, The DOWNING Journalism Award recognizes western-themed nonfiction articles or essays published in a commercial or literary North American publication.

The entry period for The DOWNING Journalism Award is January 1 through March 31 of each year.