Cascade Contest Update – Fall 2013

Inagural OCW Cascade Contest a Success

by Julie McDonald Zander, Co-chair of the Cascade Awards program


I felt so happy as I watched the finalists in the Oregon Christian Writers’ inaugural Cascade Writing Contest and Awards parade onto the stage at our summer conference and receive recognition for their writing.

As we discussed launching the contest last December, I’ll admit to being a bit skeptical about whether people would enter and how we’d complete the entire process before the OCW summer coaching conference. When I saw the finalists onstage, those late-night emails to contestants and judges; the crunching of numbers and review of comments; the work that Marilyn Rhoads, Lindy Jacobs, and I put into the contest all seemed worthwhile.

We were blessed to have more than 130 entries in our first contest, and I was so impressed to see nearly 100 preliminary and finals judges give their time, energy, and talent to make the contest a success. The judges included top editors, agents, and professional authors.

So many contestants—even those who didn’t rank among the finalists—offered gratitude to the judges for the tips and suggestions they provided.

“Although I didn’t place among the finalists, the comments and scores I received have given me the tools and encouragement I need to continue on until I see my book published,” wrote Charlotte Kardokus, former OCW newsletter editor.

Sharon Andersen wrote, “I am so grateful for the OCW Association and the way God is using it to encourage His people in the Northwest.”

Finals judge Rick Steele, an editor at AMG Publishers, thanked us for the opportunity to judge. “The three finalists I reviewed all have strong potential and were worthy to be finalists in this category.”

In addition to the writing awards, we presented two special awards to talented writers.

The Trailblazer Award was given to Leslie Gould, the author of 17 novels whose perseverance, humility, and quiet and gentle spirit shine through her writing and her personality, offering encouragement to everyone she meets.

The Writer of Promise Award was bestowed on Karen Barnett, whose saw her first novel, Mistaken, released this year and recently signed a three-book contract with a publisher.

It was an honor to help launch the inaugural Cascade contest and to work with talented contestants and dedicated judges. Mark your calendars for the 2014 Cascade Writing Contest and Awards, which opens February 14, 2014, with a March 31st deadline for submissions.

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