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Carrie McCray Writing Contest

  • 01 Mar 2016
  • 8:00 AM
  • 27 May 2016
  • 11:30 PM
  • Online


Note: For several submissions on a single payment, select "Invoice Me" until you're ready to pay for all.
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SCWW Contests

 2016 Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Awards

Winning entries will receive $200 for first place, $100 for second place and $50 for third place and will be published in The Petigru Review. One contributor copy will be given to each author for winning entries.

History of the Award

The Carrie McCray Award seeks to honor the life of one of the founders and the first board member of the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop: Carrie Allen McCray. Her published works include Ajös Means Goodbye (1966), The Black Woman and Family Rules (1980), and a memoir she wrote about her mother that remains largely her story as well, Freedom’s Child: The life of a Confederate General’s Black Daughter (1998). Her poetry has appeared in such magazines as Ms. and The River Styx. She died on July 25, 2008, at the age of 94, but continues to live in our memory through this award.

Submission Guidelines

The contest is open to anyone, from any country, anywhere in the world. However, entries must be written in English. (See Manuscript Formatting for more specifics)

Submissions open March 1 and close May 1 each year.

The Carrie McCray Awards will feature four genres: First Chapter of a Novel, Short Story, Creative Nonfiction, and Poetry.

  • First Chapter of a Novel – 3,500 word limit
    Fiction – word count limit 3,000 word limit
    Creative Nonfiction – word count limit 3,000 word limit
    Poetry – submit up to three (3) poems, not to exceed 80 lines in total

Winning entries will receive $200 for first place, $100 for second place and $50 for third place and be published in The Petigru Review. One contributor copy will be given to each author for winning entries.

Members of the SCWW Contest Committee or SCWW Board of Directors are not eligible for the contest.

There will be $25.00 (USD) non-refundable reading fee for nonmembers, and $20.00 non-refundable reading fee for members of the SCWW. If interested in becoming a member of SCWW, go to our “Join Us” page. New members are always welcome.

SCWW retains first-time print publication rights until the anthology is published, after which the rights revert back to the author. The Petigru Review also reserves e-book rights for the anthology only. SCWW solicits authors’ non-exclusive first Internet archival rights for online archiving.

All submissions must be previously un-published. If you work has appeared in any capacity in print or online (such as self-publishing to blogs, message boards, or Facebook or any other place where it can be viewed publically) we will not be able to accept it.

For SCWW members: entries must be submitted to either the Carrie McCray Awards or The Petigru Review. Authors cannot submit the same work to both. If so, the piece becomes automatically disqualified.

Simultaneous submissions are encouraged. If the work is accepted elsewhere, simply email us to let us know. And congratulations!

Only one submission per category allowed.

Submissions that exceed length limit in any category will be disqualified.

While we reserve the right to edit a submission, any revisions will be communicated to the author and the author can choose to either accept or reject them. Be aware that refusal to accept edits may result in being denied publication.

Anyone winning or placing in a category cannot enter that same category the following year; anyone winning or placing in the Carrie McCray Memorial Awards for two consecutive years is not eligible for one year in any category.

Any entry that fails to comply with any of the guidelines mentioned above or adhere to our manuscript formatting guidelines will be disqualified. If any submission is disqualified then the author forfeits their entry fee to SCWW.


Each entry will be scored in the areas listed below:

CONTENT = creativity, originality
STRUCTURE = grammar, mechanics
STYLE = story arc, aesthetics success, cohesion

Entries will be judged on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the best, for a possible perfect score of 30.

Winning pieces must have a score of 24 or above.

Manuscript Formatting

  1. No paper copies will be accepted. Only electronic submissions are allowed.
  2.  All submissions must follow standard manuscript formatting: 12 point font, Times New Roman Font, auto-indents to paragraphs, and be double spaced (except in the case of poetry).
  3. The title and page number must appear on every page of the submission.
  4.  The author’s name, address, email, or any identifying features must not appear anywhere on the manuscript(s), including in the body of the work.
  5. Send a copy of each manuscript as a Microsoft Word attachment in a separate email to
  6. In the subject line of your email: Type Carrie McCray, the category you are submitting to and your last name (Ex: Carrie McCray, Poetry, Johnson)
  7. In the body of the email, please include an author biography of up to 100 words. Please also attach a high resolution color or black and white photograph of yourself, preferably a head shot.
  8. All emails with attachments must be sent between March 1 and May 2016.

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