The Women Writing the West High School Writing Contest

Go West, Young Writer!
Entry Closed September 20, 2023

Know a High School that should receive information about the Women Writing the West High School Writing Contest?
WWW is gathering High School names and contact information to send Contest information to schools and teachers.

Names and emails addresses will only be used for Contest purposes.

All high school students in grades 9-12, ages 13-19 worldwide, are invited to send their unpublished short written works in nonfiction, fiction, or poetry/songwriting to the Women Writing the West® High School Writing Contest. All entries must be submitted in English.

Entries should recognize women’s and girls’ stories and their contribution to the history, culture and growth of the North American West, defined by WWW as anywhere on the North American continent west of the Mississippi River, including Alaska and Hawaii, Canada west of Ontario, and Mexico.

One Entry Per Student.

Monetary awards will be presented to the top three Winners in the three award categories and they will be recognized during WWW’s annual Conference in October.

Entry fees are underwritten by WWW’s generous donors. To make a donation to support The Women Writing the West High School Writing Contest, visit our donation page.

Guidelines | Rubrics | Download Poster

Support the WWW High School Writing Contest by purchasing Women Writing the West branded merchandise by purchasing through the WWW Bonfire Store.

High School Writing Contest Award Categories

WWW WILLA Youth Award for Poetry/Songwriting

Poetry – 25 lines max, 3 lines max for Haiku – limit 3 Haikus
Songwriting – 2 verses & chorus; bridge optional

WWW LAURA Youth Award for Short Fiction

Short prose stories – 1,500-2,000 words

WWW DOWNING Youth Award for Nonfiction/Journalism

Articles, bios or event reports – 500-700 words

Guidelines for The Women Writing the West High School Writing Contest

These guidelines MUST be followed for your entry to be considered. Why, you say? First, if you are going to be a professional writer, you must follow standard formatting rules. And second, it’s difficult for readers if everyone uses a different font, word processing program, etc.

Submissions will be disqualified if Guidelines are not followed

Click here for a formatting example.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Make sure your entry is about a WOMAN or GIRL in the WEST ((North American continent west of the Mississippi River, including Alaska and Hawaii, Canada west of Manitoba, and Mexico). 
  2. Send ONLY PDF files. Ask your teacher for help if you are not sure how to change your document to a PDF format.
  3. TYPE YOUR NAME on the top left side of each page, and enter YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS underneath so we may contact you.
  4. On the line below your name and email address, please type the WORD COUNT of your story. Then add another line for the name of your school, your teacher and teacher’s email address.
  5. On the first page, skip down about half the page and CENTER the title of your story.
  6. Just below the title, also CENTERED, write your NAME or PEN NAME, “By ___”
  7. Skip 3 more lines, then start your story. JUSTIFY LEFT with ragged margins on the right side.
  8. Use your TAB key once to indent the FIRST LINE of each paragraph.
  9. Use a 12-POINT FONT size – Times, Times New Roman, or Courier New.
  10. DOUBLE SPACE your entry, with 1-inch margins all around, ragged right margin.
  11. When your entire story or poem is finished, skip one line and then write THE END in all capital letters, CENTERED.
  12. No foul language, inappropriate slang, violence, hate speech, erotic content, or inappropriate word choice will be tolerated. Your entry will be disqualified if you ignore this.
  13. That’s it! Now go back to the main page, find the “SUBMIT ENTRY” link at the bottom, and follow the instructions to enter your piece in the Women Writing the West High School Writing Contest. Best of luck!

Download a PDF of the Guidelines here

View the WWW High School Writing Contest Rubrics Here

For more information, contact The WWW High School Writing Contest Coordinator at