Cascade Writing Contest 2018

The 2018 OCW Cascade Writing Contest will open at 12:01 a.m. (PST) February 14, and the deadline will be 11:59 p.m. (PDT) March 31. Judges include top professionals in the field of Christian writing and publication. Awards will be presented during the annual OCW summer conference at the Red Lion on the River Hotel in Portland at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, August 22.

You do not need to be an OCW member to enter. Contestants need not be present at the summer conference to win.

“Contests are a great way to get your work known and receive feedback from professionals. Finalists will have their work read by top Christian publishing house editors and agents.” Lindy Jacobs, OCW Summer Conference Director

The Cascade Writing Contest is for both published and unpublished writers and features a number of categories and genres. The purpose of the contest is to reward excellent writing and to encourage both seasoned and emerging writers as well as provide a notable achievement for a writer’s bio.

About the Contest

Our carefully selected judges will receive score sheets for each entry to aid in scoring and to provide contestants with helpful feedback on their submissions. (You can see the scoring elements here.)

Each category below will have a winner, and all the finalists will be listed in our summer conference notebook as Cascade Writing Contest finalists. Winners will be listed on the OCW website after the awards.

Entries beginning February 14th, 2018


The Awards

The Cascade Writing Contest includes the following categories, with separate divisions for published (for works published during 2017) and unpublished work:

  • Contemporary Fiction Book
  • Historical Fiction Book
  • Speculative Fiction Book
  • Nonfiction Book
  • Memoir Book
  • Young Adult Book (ages 12–18)/Middle Grade Book (8–12), Fiction and Nonfiction
  • Children’s Chapter Book (ages 6–8) and Children’s Picture Book (ages 2–10+) Fiction and Nonfiction
  • Poetry (a single poem)
  • Devotional (a single devotional)
  • Article, Column, Blog Post
  • Short Story/Flash Fiction


Please carefully review the Contest Rules (for details about categories) and Scoring Elements before preparing your entry. When you are ready to enter, click the “Enter Here” button above (beginning February 14, 2018).

The Judges

Our finals’ judges have been carefully selected from within the Christian writing industry. Preliminary judges include bookstore owners, writers, editors, teachers, librarians, pastors, and others interested in the written word.

The finals judges include:

Sally Apokedak (Apokedak Literary), Keren Baltzer (FaithWords/Hachette), Steve Barclift (Kregel Publications), Alice Crider (David C. Cook), Lonnie Hull DuPont (Revell, a division of Baker Books), Nick Harrison (WordServe Literary), Jim Hart (Hartline Literary), Linda Howard (Tyndale House), Tawny Johnson (D.C. Jacobson & Associates), Terri Kalfas (Grace Publishing), Susan King (The Upper Room), Sherri Langton (Bible Advocate), Nancy Lohr (JourneyForth Books), Chad McComas (The Christian Journal), and Cynthia Ruchti (Books & Such Literary).

2018 Timeline:

  • February 14: Link to enter the contest will be posted on the OCW website and submissions may begin. Contest is OPEN!
  • March 31: Electronic submissions due and published book entries must be postmarked by this date.
  • June 1: Finalists announced.
  • August 22: Cascade Awards Ceremony, 7:00 p.m., during the OCW summer conference, at the Red Lion on the River Hotel in Portland.

Cascade Special Awards: We will also be presenting two honorary awards to OCW members at the Cascade Awards, the Trailblazer Award for a writer who has distinguished him/herself in the field of Christian writing, and the Writer of Promise Award for a new author who has shown unusual promise in the field of Christian writing.

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20 niv).