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Entries are accepted March 1 through 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  Laurena Mayne Davis, reporter, editor, historical researcher and English instructor at Colorado Mesa University.

For information on the 2024 LAURA Short Fiction Award, please contact Vicki Felmlee at [email protected]

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


“Posse” by Caroline Arlen


“Gifts from the Crows,” by Pamela Redcliff


“Mayfield” by Sherry Skye Stuart

2024 Final Judge Laurena Mayne Davis

From reporter to editor to historical researcher, Laurena Mayne Davis has been involved in western writing communities all of her adult life.

A graduate of Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University), she holds an M.A. in English: Rhetoric/Literature/Creative Writing from Northern Arizona University, Arizona, and is a Ph.D. candidate in Technical Communication and Rhetoric, from Texas Tech University, Texas.

She was a reporter and later Managing Editor of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, and has extensive experience with book publishing and autobiographies. She has also written for several magazines.

In 2016, she was tapped to be the historical researcher for the Department of  Energy’s 75th anniversary of the Grand Junction office, which participated in the Manhattan Project during WWII. Laurena has also received wide recognition for her research on the “Hollywood Ten” and the House Un-American Activities Committee.

She is currently an English instructor at Colorado Mesa University, focusing on mass communications and English composition.

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.

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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