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Writing Contests


2023 Contest Winners

2023 Fiction Contest Guidelines

2023 Poetry Contest Guidelines



Since 1994, Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine has sponsored the premiere annual fiction and poetry contests for Wisconsin writers. The contests are open to all Wisconsin residents and students age 18 and older. We encourage emerging and established writers to send in their best works of fiction and poetry for a chance to win up to $500 and other prizes along with publication in Wisconsin People & Ideas, a reading at the Wisconsin Book Festival in Madison, and a one-week residency at the lovely Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts in Mineral Point.

Congratulations to the
2023 Fiction and Poetry Contest Winners

(planned Wisconsin People & Ideas publication indicated in parentheses)

Fiction Winners

1st Place

Matt Cashion
, La Crosse
“Music Appreciation for the Dead” (Fall 2023)

2nd Place

Susanna Daniel, Madison
“The Goddess of Illicit Choices” (Winter/Spring 2024)

3rd Place

Holly Hilliard
, Madison
“Zugunruhe” (Summer 2024)

Fiction Honorable Mentions
John Mulvihill, New Glarus, “Not Drowning, But Waving”

Poetry Winners

1st Place

Taylor Kirby
, Madison
“if I have an addiction to water, know it’s hereditary” (Fall 2023)

2nd Place

K.E. McCoy
, Madison
“Climate Passover” (Fall 2023)

3rd Place

Sheryl Slocum
, Milwaukee
“My Son Standing Near a Glass of Water” (Fall 2023)

Poetry Honorable Mentions
William Stobb, Onalaska, “Ache Index” (Fall 2023)
Emily Bowles, Appleton, “This is Not a Villanelle” (Winter/Spring 2024)
Adam Fell, Madison, “A Deterioration in Talks” (Winter/Spring 2024)
Steven Espada Dawson, Madison, “Mercury Goes Right Through You” (Winter/Spring 2024)
Marnie Dresser, Spring Green, “I Hate People Who Cut in Line But”  (Winter/Spring 2024)
Kelly R. Samuels, La Crosse, “Ambiguous Loss” (Winter/Spring 2024)

Contest Support

Thanks to our 2023 contest judges Debra Monroe (fiction) and Nikki Wallschlaeger (poetry). All contest judging is done blindly and the winning submissions are selected through criteria established by individual judges. The 2023 contests were administered by Christopher Chambers, former editor of Wisconsin People & Ideas. Thanks also to the Wisconsin Academy donors, members, and the following contest sponsors for their support of Wisconsin writers:




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