Cascade Contest Details

2023 Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Contest

Contest Details

Opens 12:01 a.m. (PST) January 15, 2023
Closes 11:59 p.m. (PST) February 15, 2023

Contest Links:

Please study these links before registering

Contest Details | Scoring Elements | Submission Rules | Registration Closed

The Cascade Writing Contest is for both published and unpublished writers and includes a number of categories and genres. The contest is taking a different direction this year. All entries must be unpublished, even for writers who are published in a genre.

This change is in keeping with Oregon Christian Writers’ focus on being an incubator for new writers while also supporting seasoned writers. The goal of this contest is to provide writers with feedback on their writing (all contestants receive at least three score sheets with comments for each entry), but it also to give writers an opportunity to get their polished writing in front of editors and agents who may be interested in their work. Even previously published writers need to find a home for their next work in progress.

If you are a previously published writer, you can enter your next work in progress in the category you are published in to get valuable feedback and potentially find a home for your next book, poem, devotional, or article. So start polishing that WIP now!

If you are not previously published in a particular category, you can enter your work in progress and get valuable feedback and potentially find a home for your book, poem, devotional, or article. So start polishing that WIP now!

In each category, previously published and previously unpublished writers will be judged separately. Example, if you have published a devotional, you can enter an unpublished devotional. It will be judged with other unpublished devotionals submitted by contestants who have previously published a devotional. If you have never published a short story, your short story will be judged along with those submitted by contestants who have never published a short story.

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.

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 before submitting your entry.

Finals judges include top professionals in the field of Christian writing and publication. Awards will be presented to all finalists during the Cascade Awards Ceremony on June 27 as part of the Cascade Christian Writers Conference at Canby Grove Conference Center in Canby, Oregon June 25–28.



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 at least two judges and the contest coordinator, 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.

Anything that has appeared in a newsletter, blog, or other medium is considered published and may not be entered in the contest.


If a piece that is entered in the contest is published between the entry date and June 25, please notify the contest coordinator so that we can recognize your success at the awards ceremony.



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 to join before you enter the contest.



  • 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)




Entries will be accepted beginning at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, January 15, 2023. Entries submitted before then will be disqualified.

Deadline: All electronic entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, February 15, 2023.

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, 2023.

All entries must be in English.

Authors retain all copyrights to their work, but Cascade Award finalists and winners agree to let OCW publish their names and entry titles on the OCW website.

Electronic Submission Required for All Entries

All entries must be submitted electronically via the online entry form. A link to the entry form will be provided in the confirmation email you receive when you register.


All entries 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.


As part of the online entry form, contestants will be asked whether they have been published previously (less than 20 years ago) in the category they wish to enter. This will allow previously published writers to be judged separately from writers who have never been published in that category.


For short entries, upload an MS Word file of the properly formatted entry, using the online entry form, before midnight PST February 15, 2023.

For book entries, upload an MS Word or PDF file of the properly formatted entry, using the online entry form, before midnight PST February 15, 2023.



Based on scores from our preliminary judges, up to six entries will be selected as finalists in each category—up to three from previously published writers and up to three from previously unpublished writers. (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 category—one previously published writers and one previously unpublished writer in each category.

Finalists will be listed on the Oregon Christian Writers website and featured during the Cascade Awards Program on June 27. Each finalist will receive a Cascade finalist award certificate 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 on June 27, during the Cascade Christian Writers Conference. Each will receive a Cascade winner certificate and pin.


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.


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 two judges and Cascade Contest Coordinator.
  • The entry fails to follow the submission rules. For example, a devotional exceeds 350 words, including the Scripture quote, or a book entry does not include a synopsis, or an article exceeds 2,000 words.


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.


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.

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.


Please direct questions to the OCW Cascade Contest Coordinator on our Contact page.