2021 Cascade Writing Contest

Cascade Writing Contest 2021

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The 2021 OCW Cascade Writing Contest opens at 12:01 a.m. (PST) February 15, 2021, and the deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. (PDT) March 15, 2021. Judges include top professionals in the field of Christian writing and publication. Awards will be presented during the Cascade Awards ceremony, which will be Livestreamed at 6:00 p.m. (PDT) Wednesday August 18.

You do not need to be an OCW member to enter.

“Contests are a great way to get your work known and receive feedback from professionals. Finalists will have their work read by top Christian editors and agents. We have been pleased to see many past Cascade Writing Contest finalists and winners become published authors.” Lindy Jacobs, OCW Summer Conference Director

The Cascade Writing Contest is for both published and unpublished writers and includes a number of categories and genres. 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.

About the Contest

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

Each category below will have a winner in the unpublished category and in the published category, and all the finalists will be listed in our Summer Conference Notebook as Cascade Writing Contest finalists.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 program.

The Awards

The Cascade Writing Contest includes the following categories, with separate divisions for published (for short works published for the first time during 2020) and unpublished work:

Unpublished Works:

To enter an unpublished work in an unpublished category of the contest, the contestant must be unpublished in that genre. The author may be published in another genre.

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

Published Short Works:

  • Poetry (a single poem)
  • Devotional (a single devotional)
  • Article, Column, or Blog Post (blog post published division only)
  • Nonfiction Short Story
  • 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 15, 2021).

The Judges

We carefully select Finals judges from within the Christian publishing industry. Preliminary judges include bookstore owners, writers, editors, teachers, librarians, pastors, and others interested in the written word.

The Finals judges include:

Andrew Breeden (The Upper Room)

Blythe Daniel (The Blythe Daniel Agency) 

Miralee Ferrell (Mountain Brook Ink)

Joy Groblebe (DaySpring)

Nick Harrison (WordServe Literary)

Jim Hart (Hartline Literary Agency)

Linda Howard (Tyndale House)

Kate Jameson (Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr.)

Terri Kalfas (Grace Publishing)

Sherri Langton (Bible Advocate)

Nancy Lohr (JourneyForth Books)

Rachel McMillan (William K Jensen Literary)

Karen Neumair (Credo Communications)

Wade Quick (LIVE: Gospel Publishing House)

Melinda Rumbaugh (Worthy Kids: Hachette Books)

Raela Schoenherr (Bethany House)

Barb Sherrill (Harvest House)

Mick Silva (Zondervan)

Janryre Tromp (Kregel Publications)

Laura Wheeler (Harper Collins)

Roseanna M. White (WhiteFire Publishing)

2021 Timeline:

  • February 15: Link to enter the contest will be posted on the OCW website and submissions may begin. Contest is OPEN!
  • March 15: All submissions due.
  • May 15: Finalists announced.
  • August 18: Cascade Awards Livestream at 6:00 p.m. PDT. Please join us for this celebratory evening as we honor all finalists and present awards to the winners of the 2021 Cascade Writing Contest.

“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).