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Announcing the Creative Writing Contest 2017!


Creative Writing Contest 2017

(formerly known as Week of Writing Contest)

Categories and Prizes | Purpose | Deadline | Submit | Guidelines | Rules | Notes | Contact


Categories and Prizes:

There are five categories:

  1. Fiction
  2. Poetry
  3. Creative Nonfiction
  4. Humor
  5. Op-ed/Persuasion


For each category:

First place winner is awarded $125-value prize and an invitation to participate in the Drexel Writing Festival reading marathon;

Second place winner is awarded $25 Drexel bookstore gift card (or equivalent) and an invitation to participate in the Drexel Writing Festival reading marathon;

Honorable mention (awarded in each category at the discretion of the judges) will win an invitation to participate in the Writing Festival reading marathon.

Note: All work recognized in the contest will be considered for publication in The 33rd, the anthology produced by the Drexel Publishing Group.

Be sure to follow all below category instructions and the “General Guidelines” and “General Rules” further below.

Fiction Guidelines: Entry must be a complete fictional short story. Manuscript must not exceed 3,000 words. There is no minimum word count.

Poetry Guidelines: Students may submit one, two, or three poems, but must not submit more than three poems. Each poem submitted is a separate entry. Title and page number must appear in the header of every page on entries that are longer than one page. Hand in three copies of each entry. Although students may enter up to three poems in the Poetry category, the same student may not win first and second place.

Creative Nonfiction Guidelines: Entry must be a complete work of what is sometimes called creative nonfiction, which includes personal narrative, literary journalism, memoir, and similar prose narrative that is based on real events, people, and places. Manuscript must not exceed 3,000 words. There is no minimum word count.

Humor Guidelines: Entry must be a complete work of humor/comedy writing. This could include such forms as personal narrative, essay, fictional short story, comedy sketch, or other written forms with the primary purpose of being humorous. Examples of humor writing include work by David Sedaris, Art Buchwald, P.G. Wodehouse, Dave Barry, Ted L. Nancy, Steve Martin,, and Douglas Adams. See “note on categories” below. Manuscript must not exceed 1,700 words. There is no minimum word count.

Op-ed/Persuasion Guidelines: Entry must be a complete essay expressing an opinion and intended to persuade an audience. It can be about any issue about which people have differing views, which includes, but is not limited to, a social policy, political position, personal behavior, or any local, national, or world issue. Examples of these essays commonly appear in the op-ed section of newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and numerous other publications. Please look at examples of professional op-eds. Manuscript must not exceed 1,000 words. There is no minimum word count.

Note on categories: Categories are imperfect. For example, works of humor might overlap with other categories. A humor work can also be a work of fiction, or an op-ed essay. To determine what category you should submit to with a piece that is humorous, ask yourself whether it is primarily humorous and whether that is its main objective. Does it try to do what a good fictional short story does, with developed characters and rising tension as the main purpose? If so, though it might be humorous as well, it probably should be submitted to the “fiction” category. However, if the conventions of fiction writing are there mainly as a device to allow for the humor to come through, and the humor is the central purpose, then it might be better to submit to the “humor” category. So, for example, the novel Big Trouble by Dave Barry, while clearly a work of fiction, would fall into the humor category, because nearly every sentence contains a punch line and an attempt to be funny. However, an Elmore Leonard novel, while perhaps sometimes humorous, would be more appropriate for the fiction category. And, as another example, the comic bits by Steve Martin that have appeared in the New Yorker would clearly fit into the humor category.




To encourage and recognize the best writing by students from across Drexel University, with an emphasis on creative writing and expression.

All writing submitted to the contest will be considered for publication in The 33rd, an anthology produced by the Drexel Publishing Group that is used as a reader in first-year writing courses. This is an opportunity for students to see their work in print.

Writers of winning pieces will be invited to read at the WoW (Week of Writing) reading marathon taking place the week of May 11.

Prizes are awarded in each category.




Submissions for round two must be received by the end of the day on February 3.



How to Submit:

Place cover sheet and essay in an envelope and place the envelope in the mailbox labeled “Drexel Publishing Group” in the mailroom of the Department of English and Philosophy, 5th floor of MacAlister Hall. See guidelines below. Indicate “WoW Contest” and category on envelope.




  1. Any style or topic is permitted, within the subject area of each category.
  2. For all categories, entry must be in manuscript form (a standard 12-point font, 1 inch margins, double-spaced, printed on one side per page) and follow all category guidelines.
  3. Poetry guideline exception: poems should not be double-spaced.
  4. Do not staple the entry (paper clips are acceptable).
  5. Student name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript itself; place name on the cover sheet only.
  6. Title and page number must appear in the header of every page.
  7. Manuscript must not exceed the word limit listed for the category.
  8. There is no minimum word count.
  9. Attach to the front of the manuscript a separate cover sheet with student name, e-mail address, phone number, student ID number, your major, title, category (Fiction; Poetry; Creative Nonfiction; Humor; Op-Ed), and word count.
  10. Only one entry in each category per student (except for poetry, as noted).
  11. Students may enter (and win in) more than one category with separate works. The same work may not be entered in multiple categories, but a student could submit a work to fiction and a different work to humor and so on.



General Rules:

  1. Only current undergraduate Drexel University students (in all majors) are eligible.
  2. Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant and must not plagiarize or violate standards of academic integrity.
  3. All guidelines must be followed.
  4. Student name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript.
  5. The judges or administrators of the contest reserve the right to re-categorize an entry and to disqualify an entry that does not follow the guidelines.
  6. The decision of the judges and administrators is final. The DPG directors reserve the right not to award any prizes in a category if the submissions are of insufficient quantity or quality, at their sole discretion.
  7. Judges will be developing their own criteria for evaluating entries, but it is safe to assume that they will all be looking for excellence within the category.
  8. Where necessary, cite sources using an appropriate, recognized style, such as MLA.
  9. There is no entry fee.
  10. Students may not enter a work that was entered in any other contest. For examples, works entered in the First-Year Writing Contest or DPG Essay Contest may not be entered in or win the WoW Writing Contest.
  11. Winners must respond promptly when notified about prizes and provide all requested information so prizes can be processed. Students must check Drexel e-mail addresses to be informed about status. Prizes must be collected within the same academic/fiscal year as the contest or the prize cannot be collected. The Drexel Publishing Group and the Department of English and Philosophy are not responsible for notifications not received by contest winners due to e-mail mailboxes being full or technical problems.
  12. Each submission must be the work on an individual student. Team or group writing pieces are not accepted.



Note about Publication:

All work submitted to the contest will be considered for publication in The 33rd, the anthology produced by the College of Arts and Sciences. Winning the contest does not guarantee inclusion in this anthology. By submitting writing to the contest, entrants grant permission for the work to be used in the anthology (whether in print or online). Manuscripts may be edited for publication. Entrants may be asked to revise the piece prior to publication.


Note about Judges:

Judges will be drawn from the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences.




Direct questions about the contest to


Karnik Hajjar
Karnik Hajjar is a third year biology major who's not really sure what he's doing there but it's worked out so far.

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