SAWG Annual Contest 2012


The San Antonio Writers' Guild annual contest features five categories in the fiction, non-fiction and poetry fields and is open to all writers, both SAWG members and non-members. The deadline for entry is the first Thursday of October. Cash prizes are given in each category.


  • Fiction categories:
    • Novel, first chapter or up to the first 5,000 words
    • Short story, 4,000-word limit
    • Flash fiction, 1,000-word limit
  • Non-fiction categories:
    • Memoir/personal essay, 2,500-word limit
  • Poetry category:
    • One to three poems equal one entry for fee purposes. Each poem will be judged individually. There is a 40-line limit per poem (including blank lines between verses), any style.


The first place winner will receive $150, second place $75 and third place $50 for acceptable entries in each category. Acceptable entries are those that meet contest format guidelines.

The dollar amounts of cash prizes in a category are not based on the number of entries in a category. However, all advertised prize money may not be awarded. If the number of entries in a category falls below the minimum number (10), not all prizes may be awarded in that category.

             (Includes submission guidelines, judging procedures, info about the Lorraine Berenson Memorial Award and more)


  1. First Chapter of a Novel: Scott A. Cupp
    Scott A. Cupp, local SF writer, editor and cultural critic has graciously agreed to judge First Chapter of a Novel. Scott has been a professional writer for more than 20 years, working in the mystery, science fiction, fantasy, horror, western, comics and other fields. He has been a nominee for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Writer and the World Fantasy Award as the editor of CROSS PLAINS UNIVERSE. He is an auditor and former owner of Adventures in Crime and Space Bookstore. He works with the Missions Unknown blog in San Antonio reviewing Forgotten Films and Forgotten Books as well as being a regular on SF Signal's Podcasts on book-related matters.
  2. Short Story: Nan Cuba
    San Antonio's Nan Cuba received her MFA in fiction from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers, is the founder and executive director emeritus of Gemini Ink, a nonprofit literary center (, was twice the runner-up for the Dobie Paisano Fellowship, and received a Fundación Valparaiso Residency Grant in Mojácar, Spain. She is currently an assistant professor of English at Our Lady of the Lake University. As an investigative journalist, she reported on the causes of extraordinary violence in publications such as LIFE and D Magazine. Her stories, poems, and reviews have appeared in Quarterly West,Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry & Prose (runner-up for the journal’s fiction award), the Bloomsbury Review, and the Harvard Review, among others. She is coeditor of Art at Our Doorstep: San Antonio Writers & Artists (Trinity University Press, 2008). Her novel Body and Bread (Engine Books) is due out in May 2013.
  3. Flash Fiction: Nathan Rosen
    Baltimore native Nathan Rosen is the founder and editor of, the world's largest free online archive of horror flash fiction. In addition to editing MicroHorror, he is an author, an actor, a singing pirate (Black Dog Nate of Pirates For Sail) and a notary public. Combining his love for horror and voice acting, Nathan has released two spoken-word horror albums, one of his own stories and the other of classic short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce and H.P. Lovecraft. His stories also have appeared in a variety of flash-fiction venues.
  4. Memoir: John Phillip Santos
    John Phillip Santos is a past SAWG speaker, the author of Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation and as an instuctor in the honors program at UTSA.
  5. Poetry: Sheila Tingly Moore
    Sheila Tingley Moore is the author of six books of poetry. Her poems have appeared in the Poetry Society Of Texas's Book of the Year on a regular basis, in the National Federation of Poetry Societies' Encore, in Borderlands No. 28, in The San Antonio Express-News and in numerous other anthologies. She has been poet laureate three times for the San Antonio Poets Association and has twice been Texas Senior Poet Laureate for the Kitchener Foundation. Currently she is president of the Alamo Area Poets Association and vice-president of the San Antonio Poetry Fair which publishes the anthology Voices Along the River.



1st: "Winter Rescue" Sylvia Forbes

2nd: "The Bedroom" Frank Carden

3rd: "Chicks" Elizabeth Bryant

Honorable Mention: "Moonlight Sounds" Janet Alyn



1st: "Victory Dance, 1945" Nick Sweet

2nd: "Curling Up With a Good Mystery" Sylvia Forbes

3rd: "To Be Verbs" Jean Jackson

Honorable Mention: "Sonoran Spring" Sylvia Forbes


1st: New York and the Playtex Girdle" Janet Alyn

2nd and 3rd: not awarded because of the low number of entries.

Honorable Mention: "A Mary Heart" Mary Ann McNulty


Novel, First Chapter:

1st: "Storming Epsilon" Stewart Smith

2nd: "Mexico, 1911" Susan Chandler

3rd: "Capture the Sun" Victor Smilgin

Honorable Mention: "Between the Years" Hilary Davies Shelby


Short Story:

1st: "Skating on Thin Ice" Hilary Davies Shelby

2nd: "In the Dog House" Marjorie Brody

3rd: "Memento" Stewart Smith

Honorable Mention: "Mexico, 1911" Susan Chandler


The Judy Award


The Judy Award was given to Hilary Davies Shelby for the most (30) rejections.

This award was set up by our own Judy Wofford to encourage members to send out their works.
If we don’t send out our manuscripts, we can’t be published.
Most of the winners of the award have since been published.

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First Chapter of a Novel (Judge: Pamela Morsi)

1. Jerry Winkler, "Are You Listening, Titan?"
2. Elizabeth Bryant, "Getting Huffy"
3. Brian D Allen, "Last"
Honorable Mention: Brian D Allen, "Around the Vampire"
Honorable Mention: Marjorie Brody, "Between the Covers"

Poetry (Judge: Valerie Martin Bailey)

1. Charlene Plover, “Ballinger Revisited”
2. Jean Jackson, “The Scissor Man”
3. Sally Clark, “Room 232”
Honorable Mention: Jean Jackson, "Alphine Phoenix"
Honorable Mention: Dee Carter, “Adieu”
Honorable Mention: Marjorie Brody, “The Toppled Tower”

Memoir (Judge: Dr. Catherine Kasper)

1. Linda Gill, "Emergency Rations"
2. Sheri Anderson, "Etta Mae the Great"
3. David H Plylar, "Not Your Usual Friday"
Honorable Mention: Kristin Wilson, "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"
Honorable Mention: Charlene Plover, "Sibling Agony"
Gill was awarded a perfect score from the professional judge.

Short Story (Judge: Scott A Cupp)

1. Steward Smith, "Rocket Girl"
2. Hilary Davies Shelby, "The Only Thing We Have to Fear"
3. Bill Taylor, "The Night My Father Tried to Kill Me"
Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Bryant, "Bueno Bye"
Honorable Mention: Janet Alyn, "Metamorphosis"

Flash Ficition (Judge: Claudia Smith)

1. Murray Edwards, "Perspective"
2. James Taylor, "Just Shut Up and Eat Your Apple"
3. Debra Giese, "Windows"
Honorable Mention: Sylvia Forbes, "Revenge by Retriever"
Honorable Mention: Sanford Nowlin, "Whatsoever a Man Soweth"

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The San Antonio Writers' Guild will not publish the manuscripts since doing so might remove the amateur status of the work.


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