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The Wisconsin People & Ideas Fiction Contest

Entry fee: $15 members, $20 non-members
Deadline: December 1, 2016

First place winners in the WP&I Fiction Contest will receive a one-week artist residency at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts in Mineral Point. Winners will also receive $500 (first place), $250 (second place), and $100 (third place) and an opportunity to read their work at the 2017 Wisconsin Book Festival. First- through third-place winning stories will also be published in print and online issues of Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine. 


Authors must reside in or attend school in Wisconsin and must be 18 or older. Stories previously published in print are not eligible. If you have questions about eligibility, please contact editor Jason A. Smith.

You may submit more than one entry, but each story must be mailed or uploaded separately with its own cover letter (see Manuscript Requirements below) and entry fee or online confirmation number. 

Manuscript Requirements

  • Each manuscript must be typed, double-spaced, in standard 10- or 12-point type. Each page must include the title of the story as a header. All pages must be numbered with both an individual page number and the total number of pages (e.g., Stormy Night, page 1/15,).
  • 2,000 to 5,000 words
  • The manuscript itself must be anonymous in order to ensure judging can be done blindly. Do not include your name on the manuscript. The manuscript must be accompanied by a letter bearing the following: 
  • Story title
  • Author's name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • E-mail address
  • Story Word Count

Print or online submissions will be accepted. 

  • Print submissions must include three photocopies of each fiction submission.
  • Online submissions must be in PDF format. 

Electronic Submissions

Submit Online Here

Print Submissions

  • Submissions must be postmarked, delivered, or date stamped by 11:59 pm on December 1, 2016.
  • Entries postmarked or delivered after the deadline will not be considered and the entry fee will be retained to cover handling.
  • Keep a copy of your manuscript! Print manuscripts will be recycled, not returned.
  • Every contestant must be able to provide an electronic version of the story via e-mail if needed.

Entries may be mailed or hand-delivered to 

Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters
1922 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53726

Contest winners will be announced in June 2017.

First- through third-place winners will be published in the summer 2017, fall 2017, and winter 2018 issues of Wisconsin People & Ideas

Our lead fiction judge is Alex Bledsoe

Alex Bledsoe is the author of author of stories about musical fairies from the Smoky Mountains living among us (the Tufa novels); a sword-for-hire who, for twenty-five gold pieces a day, will find the skeletons or make sure they stay in the closet (the Eddie LaCrosse novels); and polyester-clad vampires in the 1970s who spend as much time dealing with the racial tensions as they do with blood-letting (the Memphis Vampires novels). Bledsoe grew up in west Tennessee an hour north of Graceland (home of Elvis) and twenty minutes from Nutbush (birthplace of Tina Turner). He’s been a reporter, editor, photographer and door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. Bledsoe now lives in a Wisconsin town famous for trolls.

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Wisconsin Academy Administrative Offices and Steenbock Gallery
1922 University Avenue
Madison, Wisconsin 53726
Phone: 608-263-1692

James Watrous Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters
3rd Floor, Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 608-265-2500