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Kansas Voices

34th Annual Kansas Voices Writing Contest


“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou

The art of writing. Much like painting it too goes back to the earliest days of mankind. When the petroglyphs on ancient cave walls told the stories of great hunts, feats of bravery, battles and courage, and of life. Where or what would we be today were it not for the writers? Throughout history we have been educated, entertained, enlightened mentally, physically and spiritually by the writers. Countless bedtime stories to our children and them to theirs. The news, movies, plays, poetry, prose and a myriad of other forms and styles that comprise the written word.

As an art form we have grown to treasure those who have the ability to relate their life experiences, adventures, ideas and ideologies as well as being able to enthrall us with a good tale. This is what but one of the reasons the Winfield Arts and Humanities Council sponsors and promotes our annual Kansas Voices Writing Contest. It gives each and every one of us an opportunity to exercise our minds, explore our thoughts and try to put into words what no one else can experience, our unique and individual ideas.

The Kansas Voices Writing Contest provides just that opportunity. So if you have a story you'd like to tell, a poem you wish to share, a historic event that you can offer your personal insight to, than the Kansas Voices Writing Contest may just be that catalyst to bring these thoughts forward and starts you on your own creative journey.


Adult Division: $250 best poem, $250 best prose, $250 best playwrighting

Youth Division: $100 best poem, $100 best prose, $100 best playwrighting

Category Winners and Honorable Mentions: Total $350 in prizes


Postmarked by March 15, 2023



Entrants must live in Kansas. Writers competing in the Youth Division must be currently enrolled in high school or under the age of 18.



Unpublished adult poetry in either traditional or free verse. Unpublished adult prose in creative non-fiction, young adult, short story fiction, science fiction/fantasy, or mystery. Limit one entry per genre in each prose category. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable. Writers must notify us immediately if an entry has been accepted elsewhere. Any single entry must be no longer than 4,500 words. Winners will be announced on the WAHC website, social media, and the local newspaper. Winners will be requested to e-mail a digital copy of their entry.


MANUSCRIPTS WILL NOT BE RETURNED. DO NOT SEND YOUR ONLY COPY. Type entries on one side only of 8 1/2 x 11-inch white paper (12 pt or larger). Poems may be single-spaced, but prose must be double-spaced and a word limit of 4,500. A copy of the completed entry form must accompany the entries. Titles of all works entered must be listed on the entry form.

THE WRITER’S NAME MUST NOT APPEAR ON THE MANUSCRIPTS. $10 for each poem, prose or playwriting submission. (Discounts offered for multiple submissions.)  Authors may enter as many times as they wish. A $25 fee will be charged for all checks returned NSF.


Short plays, including 10-minute plays and 3-minutes plays, are a grenre which allow playwrights to explore creative ideas with distinctive voice and  building skills in developing sharp dialogue, tight plot construction believable characters, and situations that build quickly to a climax. Short plays also allow audiences to experience entirely different views of our world


PLAYWRITING GUIDELINES. Playwrights may submit one 10-minute play and up to three 3-minute plays in the competition Original 10-minute and 3-minute plays that have not been staged or produced are eligible. Plays are written to be produced on the stage and are not screenplays. 10- and 3-minute plays should have small cases, with five or fewer characters, only one setting, with minimal props and costumes. The first page should include the plays title, characters with brief descriptions, and time and setting of the play. The pages of the script that follow may be no longer than 10 pages for a 10-minute play and 3 pages for a 3-minute play. Each page of the script needs to be numbered with the title of the play in the heading. Format needs to be standard playwrighting format, i.e., with normal margins and 12-point type font. Format includes: act and scene headings are centered, character's names are centered and capitalized, and parenthetical stage directions are used for small actions.


The playwright gives permission to the Winfield Arts and Humanities Council and historic FOX Marquee Performing Arts Center to produce winning and honorable mention entries if the PAC should wish to do so.

  • Adult Poetry

    • Free Verse or Traditional

  • Adult Prose

    • Creative non-Fiction

    • Young Adult

    • Short Story Fiction

    • Science Fiction/Fantasy or Mystery

  • Adult Playwrighting

    • 3 Minute Play​

    • 10 Minute Play

  • Youth Division—Poetry, Prose or Playwrighting



Entries will be judged entirely on literary merit.


Winners will be notified by April 15, 2023, and will be honored and invited to read at a special presentation at Baden Square, 700 Gary, Winfield, May 7, 2023. Winning entries may be published by the Kansas Voices contest, however writers retain all publishing rights.



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