Mayborn Writing Contests

Tell Us Your Story!

Enter the Mayborn Writing Competition for a chance to win cash prizes and have your work published.

Conference attendees will once again have the opportunity to submit their best writing samples to the annual Mayborn Writing Competition. Winners can win a cash prize in three categories: personal essay, reported narrative and book manuscript. Don’t miss out! Details can be found below in each of the applications. Applications and entry materials are due by 11:59 p.m. CST September 15, 2022. Our contests are for our conference attendees; the conference registration and any contest entry fees must also have been paid by the deadline.

As part of the Mayborn Writing Competition, group workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions will be held starting Friday morning of the conference (which officially kicks off with the Friday evening Southwest Soiree). The Mayborn strives to place as many entrants as possible in group workshops; those unable to be accommodated in a group workshop due to space restrictions will have the opportunity for a 30-minute one-on-one coaching session with one of our talented alumni writers!

Late entries are NOT accepted into the contests; however, any conference registrant who wants to submit a work after the deadline may pay the same fee and have the opportunity to be placed in a group workshop or receive a one-on-one coaching session. These placements will be made on a space available basis and at the contest coordinator's discretion.

You may enter more than one category. For example, you may submit to our book manuscript contest, our reported narrative contest and our personal essay contest. However, you can only participate in one workshop and win one prize. Winners are recognized at the Literary Lights Dinner at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. Cash prizes are mailed to winners after the conference.

Our 2022 entry forms are updated and available below. Please note that contest entries are only accepted from conference attendees.

$1,500 awarded to the winner in each category

Our three categories are:

Reported Narrative - $30 entry fee per submission

Download application

Personal Essay - $30 entry fee per submission

Download application

Book Manuscript - $60 entry fee per submission

Download application


The top three personal essays, the top three reported narratives, along with an additional four runners-up (from one or both categories) as selected by our judges will be published in Ten Spurs, a literary nonfiction journal published by the Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism.

The winner of the book manuscript competition earns a cash prize, and an option to sign a provisional book contract with UNT Press.

Our winning writers are invited to participate in the Friday night book signings at next year's Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference.

NOTE: Any person who is employed full-time or part-time in any capacity with the Mayborn School of Journalism or Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism is not eligible to participate in any of the three contests.

For any questions, please contact:

Jo Ann Livingston
Writing Contest Coordinator