2022 Cascade Writing Contest

2022 Oregon Christian Writers
Cascade Writing Contest

Opens 12:01 a.m. (PST) January 15, 2022 and
closes 11:59 p.m. (PST) February 15, 2022

The Cascade Writing Contest is for both published and unpublished writers and includes a number of categories and genres. We are excited to announce that published books will return to the contest this year, although all submissions will need to be in digital format. Finalists will have an opportunity to provide two hard copies for the finals’ judges.

You do not need to be an OCW member to enter. If you would like to take advantage of the discounted member entry fee, join OCW by going to www.oregonchristianwriters.org/membership before submitting your entry.

The purpose of the contest is to reward excellent writing and encourage both seasoned and emerging writers as well as provide a notable achievement for a writer’s bio. After the finalists are announced, all non-finalist contestants will receive copies of their score sheets from three preliminary judges. Finalists will receive the three preliminary score sheets and an additional two score sheets from the finals’ judges after the winners are announced.

Judges include top professionals in the field of Christian writing and publication. Awards will be presented during the Cascade Awards ceremony June 25 as part of the Cascade Christian Writers Conference at Canby Grove Conference Center in Canby, Oregon. 

GENERAL ELIGIBILITY FOR CONTESTANTS AND ENTRIES

The Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest is open to all writers. However, entries should not contain profanity, graphic sex, or any other distasteful or objectionable material. Entries that do not meet these requirements, as determined by committee members, will be disqualified, and the entry fee is nonrefundable. All entries must be original works of the author(s). Note that one of the scoring elements for all entries is that the piece is suitable for the Christian market.

Understanding Published versus Unpublished

To enter an unpublished work in an unpublished category of the contest, the contestant must not have published in that genre in the past 20 years. The author may be published in a different genre and may enter a published piece in that category of the published contest as long as the work was published for the first time in 2021 (or have a 2020 or 2021 copyright date for published books). Twenty years must pass before a previously published author in a specific genre can enter that same category in the unpublished division of the contest.

For example: 

    • Steve has published many poems in books and online the past few years. Steve may NOT enter an unpublished poem. He may enter a published poem that was published for the first time in 2021.
    • Steve has never published a memoir. Even though he has published poems, Steve may enter an unpublished memoir.
    • Joan published a nonfiction book 16 years ago. Joan may NOT enter an unpublished nonfiction book. She may enter a published nonfiction book, but only if it has a 2020 or 2021 copyright date.
    • Joan has never published a devotional in a book, online, or in a magazine. She may enter an unpublished devotional.
    • Joan published a contemporary fiction book 21 years ago. Joan may enter an unpublished contemporary fiction book. 
    • A piece that is entered in an unpublished category must remain unpublished until after the finals judges have submitted their score sheets on June 1. Any piece that is published between the entry date and June 1 will be disqualified. The contestant may choose to enter the piece as published for the 2023 contest.

ENTRY FEES

Entry fees are nonrefundable, whether the contestant voluntarily withdraws an entry or an entry is disqualified.

OCW members pay $35 for each entry.

Nonmembers pay $45 for each entry.

Contestants will be instructed to pay electronically and will be given further payment options if they are unable to pay electronically.

Note: If you are not a member and wish to join in order to use the member rate for your entry(ies), please go to www.oregonchristianwriters.org/membership to join before you enter the contest.

CATEGORIES

UNPUBLISHED WORKS

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

PUBLISHED WORKS

Books must have a 2020 or 2021 copyright date
Shorter entries must have been published for the first time in 2021

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

GENERAL SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Entries will be accepted beginning at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, January 15, 2022. Entries submitted before then will be disqualified.

Deadline: All electronic entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, February 15, 2022.

Authors may submit a maximum of three entries, paying a separate fee for each entry. Do not submit the same piece in different categories, but you may submit up to three entries in a single category.

After we receive (1) the automatically generated notification that you entered the contest, (2) your payment, and (3) the actual entry, we will notify you that you are officially entered in the contest.

Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. (PDT) on February 15, 2022.

All entries must be in English.

Authors retain all copyrights to their work, but Cascade Award winners agree to let OCW publish a brief biography and their winning entry titles on the OCW website.

Electronic Submission Required for All Entries

All entries must be submitted electronically via an online entry form. A link to the entry form will be provided in the confirmation email contestants receive when they register. Finalists in all published book categories will have an opportunity to submit hard copies or ePub format for the finals’ judges.

Before entering, review the genre-specific information on the Submission Rules Page.

Published Entries

Published short entries must have been published for the first time in 2021. Upload a pdf file of the scanned article, devotional, poem, etc. as it was published (including the title of the piece but with the author’s name not visible), using the online entry form, before midnight PST February 15, 2022. You will be asked to provide the name of the publication and the publication date via the online form. Check that your entry meets all requirements for the genre before uploading the file.

Published books must have a 2020 or 2021 copyright date. Upload a PDF fie of the entire manuscript, as it was published, using the online entry form, before midnight PST February 15, 2022.

Unpublished Entries

All entries in this category must be original and never have been published in any form, including on the Internet or in a newsletter. They also should not include artwork or illustrations.

To enter an unpublished work in an unpublished category of the contest, the contestant must be unpublished in that genre. Authors who have published previously in a category (less than 20 years ago) cannot submit an unpublished work in that same category. During the online entry process, contestants will be required to note their compliance with this.

For unpublished short entries, upload an MS Word file of the properly formatted entry, using the online entry form, before midnight PST February 15, 2022.

For unpublished book entries, upload an MS Word or PDF file of the properly formatted entry, using the online entry form, before midnight PST February 15, 2022.

AWARDS

Three published and three unpublished entries in each category will be selected as finalists by the preliminary judges. (If there are fewer than three entries in a category, see the cancellation policy below.) The finalists will be notified, and the list will be posted on the OCW website and other social media on April 15. Those entries will then go to the finals’ judges, who will determine the winner in each published and unpublished category.

Finalists will be listed on the Oregon Christian Writers website and featured during the Cascade Awards Program. All finalists will receive Cascade finalist award certificates during the awards ceremony. If a finalist is unable to attend the ceremony, certificates will be delivered by mail after the awards ceremony.

Winners will be revealed during the Cascade Awards Ceremony, the evening of Saturday, June 25 during the Cascade Christian Writers Conference (hosted by OCW). Each will receive a Cascade winner certificate and pin.

FURTHER INFORMATION

OCW claims no responsibility for the outcome of this contest—acting simply as the coordinator for contest entries, sending the entries to the judges and receiving and tabulating their score sheets.

All monies (after contest processing and awards costs) generated by the entry fees for this contest will go toward the continuing ministry of OCW.

Disqualification

An entry will be disqualified for the following reasons, without refund of the entry fee:

    • The entry contains profanity, graphic sex, or any other distasteful or objectionable material not suitable for the Christian marketplace, as determined by the Cascade Contest Committee.
    • The entry fails to follow the submission rules. For example, a devotional exceeds 350 words, including the Scripture quote, or an unpublished book entry does not include a synopsis, or an article exceeds 2,000 words.
    • The entry is entered in an unpublished category but is subsequently published between the entry date and June 1, 2022.

Cancellation

OCW reserves the right to eliminate a category if it receives fewer than three entries in that category. If a category is canceled, anyone who has entered in that category will receive a full refund. (This is the only instance when an entry fee will be refunded.) Or with the author’s permission it may be moved to a category that would be a good fit.

Judging

Finals judges are chosen from within the Christian publishing industry. Preliminary judges include bookstore owners, writers, editors, teachers, librarians, pastors, and others interested in the written word. Judges will not know the names of the authors whose manuscripts are submitted in unpublished categories or published short form entries. 

Names of the judges will remain anonymous during the contest.

Score sheets will be returned to contestants to provide feedback and suggestions for improvement. Although judging is subjective, the decisions of the judges are final.  Scoring elements may be reviewed here.

Some categories may not have winners if all assigned finals judges deem entries unworthy of publication.

Questions?

Please direct questions to the OCW Cascade Writing Contest and Awards coordinator at cascadecontest@oregonchristianwriters.org.

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