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Pearl S. Buck Writing Contest

All students enrolled in a West Virginia college or high school (or home schooled and high school aged) are invited to apply for the Pearl S. Buck Writing Competition.

Awards of $1,000 each will be given to an undergraduate and graduate student winner, and a high school winner will receive $250 and a scholarship to the WVU English Department’s annual West Virginia Writers' Workshop for summer 2019 ($600 value).


Winning pieces will be those that best reflect the life and values of Pearl Buck; the Selection Committee will base its decision on the extent to which the writing reflects one or all of the following topics that were of vital importance to Ms. Buck:

  1. Expression of appreciation for difference and different cultures, including but not limited to Appalachia and China;
  2. Rights of women;
  3. Rights of members of underrepresented groups.

Applicants must submit an original writing in any literary genre (e.g., fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, essay, children's literature, play writing, blog, etc.) no later than  March 22, 2019. Word maximum is 5,000 with poetry entries being 1-3 poems. All applicants will be notified by May 15, 2019 of status.

Winners and runners-up will be published in online format and housed, for historical purposes, with the Pearl S. Buck collection at WVU. Winners and runners-up retain copyrights to their works, while granting a nonexclusive license to WVU to publish.

Questions should be addressed to Dr. Melanie Page at or  (304) 290-3250

Submit a Contest Entry

2018 Contest


Press Release (DOCX)

2017 Contest


Press Release (DOCX)

2016 Contest


Press Release (DOCX)