The LAURA Short Fiction Contest

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Call for Entries | Criteria, Guidelines & Rubrics | 2023 Finalists | Previous LAURA Journals | 2023 Final Judge

Entries will be accepted between March 1 and April 30, 2024

The LAURA Award showcases Women Writing the West members’ writing talents and celebrates the short story form. Entries must feature a female protagonist and the story must be set in the American West in the present time, the past, or the future. Open only to WWW members. The judge for this year’s contest is Kari May, Library Director of the Jackson County Library Services, a 15-branch system headquartered in Medford, Oregon. 

For more information, please contact Gayle Gresham at 

Congratulations to the 2023 LAURA Short Fiction Award Finalists. The final placings will be announced at the Virtual Conference, October 12 – 14, 2023.

The Finalists, in alphabetical order:

“Gifts from the Crows,” by Pamela Redcliff

“Mayfield” by Sherry Skye Stuart

“Posse” by Caroline Arlen

2023 Final Judge Kari May

Kari May has lived out West since 1999, spending 15 years in public libraries in Colorado and 3 years at the State Library in Utah before settling in Southern Oregon five years ago. Kari is the Library Director for Jackson County Library Services, a 15-branch system headquartered in Medford, Oregon. With a Masters in English and a Masters in Library Science, Kari has done a lot of reading! Kari has served as a judge for The WILLA Literary Award Competition in the past. While she has picked up the pen herself a few times, she considers herself more of a reader than a writer and welcomes the opportunity to judge the stories for The LAURA Short Fiction Award.

Kari was born in California but grew up in the mountains of North Carolina and started her professional career in Greeley, Colorado. She now lives in Medford, Oregon with her Chocolate Lab rescue, Sydney. Kari enjoys running, swimming, and hiking, and she frequently makes short excursions to explore the Oregon Coast, California Redwoods, or the depths of Crater Lake. She likes to spend time in the kitchen, throwing ingredients together and sometimes following recipes.

The 2024 LAURA Short Fiction Awards entry period will open March 1, 2024.

The LAURA Short Fiction Award is open to members of WWW only.

Join or Renew your membership here.

Call for Entries
March 1 – April 30, 2024

Entries will be accepted between March 1 and  April 30, 2024.

In 2007, President-Elect Kathleen Ernst presented a seed of an idea to the WWW Board of Directors. Her proposal, a short story contest, offered a threefold foundation: showcase WWW members’ writing talents, celebrate the short story form, and add another benefit to membership. Unlike the WILLA Literary Awards, 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.

Approaching its second year, the WWW Short Story Contest gained a new name: the LAURA Award. Mirroring a part of the traditions of our WILLA Literary Award, which is named after one of America’s foremost authors, Willa Cather, the Short Story Committee decided to give the contest a recognized name, as well. In honor of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the contest was christened the LAURA Award.

WWW members enthusiastically embraced the contest. Spurred by members’ requests to have an opportunity to read the winning stories, and eager to showcase the extraordinary talent of our members, the WWW LAURA Committee decided to present a collection of the winning stories in an online journal, available here, at the WWW website.

So, sit down, pull up to your computer, and take a trip with us through the American West. We have a hunch Ms.Wilder herself would be mightily entertained!

Previous LAURA Short Fiction Award Winners and Finalists

western scenery

LAURA Journals

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